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Garuda – (Tib. khyung) one of the four dignities, which can represent aspects of the bodhisattva attitude or qualities of the windhorse.

Garuda symbolizes the fire element. It abides in the north.

Once source said:

Garuda symbolizes freedom from hopes and fears, the vast mind without reference point. With great strength and power it soars beyond without holding back. It is a powerful antidote to the negative influences of Nagas (spirits) which can cause disease and all kinds of harm.

Deity of protection

The Garuda is considered a protector of images and is often found above the head on certain statues. In some prayers, it is also considered one of the three deities of protection.

Historical context

According to Indian myth the Garuda is the mortal enemy of serpents; Garuda images often depict the Garuda holding a serpent in its arms and beak. The Tibetan khyung is somewhat different to the India Garuda inasmuch as it has an origin going back to Tibet's earliest days.