Our Name and Logo
In our Society's name, "Gaden" means Tushita or Pure Land, "Samten" means single-pointed mind stability, and "Ling" means centre.
Our logo was designed by our current teacher Kushok Lobsang Dhamchöe in 2004, in recognition of our Society’s connection to the Kalachakra lineage. The Kalachakra is a specific teaching of the Vajrayana level that is a particular specialty of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. He has given this teaching 34 times during his lifetime and several of our Society members have attended multiple Kalachakra teachings around the world.
The scarf at the bottom of the image is a symbol of purity and peace. The ends of the scarf pointing inwards to meet each other represent the growing harmony among our Society members. The left three loops of the scarf symbolize the three higher trainings of ethics, meditative concentration, and wisdom. The right three loops of the scarf symbolize the three moralities – morality of abstaining from misbehaviour, morality of integrating virtues, and morality for the welfare of sentient beings. When the three trainings are combined with the three moralities, the long-term result is the achievement of the two bodies of a buddha – the form (rupakaya) body and the truth (dharmakaya) body. The Tibetan script on the scarf states the first three words of our Society's name, Gaden Samten Ling, as written in the Tibetan language.
Above the scarf, the three lotus petals are a representation of the Three Precious Gems – Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. The lotus is a metaphor for the transformation of human consciousness through spiritual practice. A lotus plant grows from mud deep in the water but its beautiful flower carries no hint of this defiled origin. Likewise, we who are Buddhist practitioners are born in samsara, but have the pure intention to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of others. The three letters on the petals represent the first three words of our Society's name, Gaden Samten Ling.
The inner circle of the logo is yellow in colour symbolizing Buddhism in general. It is a reflection of the colour of Buddha’s body, which is said to be as pure and stainless as 24-karat gold.
The outer ring of the logo is red and this identifies our Society as a dharma centre specifically dedicated to Tibetan Buddhism. Only in Tibetan Buddhism are the robes of an ordained person red or burgundy in colour.
The sun and moon within the inner circle represent the two aspects of enlightened beings – emptiness and compassion. These are also known as wisdom and method.
The “Ham ksha” syllable at the heart of the logo is the seed syllable of Kalachakra. A seed syllable is the basis for the arising of a Buddha’s form body. Our human form on a gross level comes from the joining of the white and red drops of our father and mother. Through following the spiritual path we can eventually attain the result of the two bodies of a Buddha – form and truth. However, a Buddha’s form body does not arise from any physical basis. A Buddha’s body arises from the union of compassion and emptiness; however, these are invisible qualities. So in order to benefit sentient beings a Buddha manifests a form body displaying the 32 major and 80 minor marks. These marks are a visible manifestation of the true enlightened nature that is the basis for a Buddha’s form body.
Specifically in Kalachakra, the syllables hum and hi, which represent wind and mind, combine to form the syllable ham, which transforms into Kalachakra. The bindu or sacred drop at the top of the syllable symbolizes the union of emptiness and compassion – the union of wisdom and method – which is the basis for the arising of fully realized beings.
Especially for our Society, the Kalachakra seed syllable has deep significance. In the year 2004, 20 members from our Society were very fortunate to attend the Toronto Kalachakra teachings and initiation offered by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. Out of an audience of 7,000 people, Gaden Samten Ling was the only dharma centre to have the blessing to attend as a united dharma group. We did so due to Kushok’s great kindness and guidance. Not only did our Society members receive this highest yoga tantra initiation, but all those who went to Toronto continue their dedicated daily practice of six-session guru yoga. It is in memory of this auspicious occasion that Kushok designed the Society’s logo.