Sacred India Tarot Archive – Creation of the Buddha Suit of Pentacles

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Continuing our Sacred India Tarot Archive series, now through the Minor Arcana – Creation of the Suit of Pentacles/Disks:

Buddha and Nasturtium Salad (these peppery leaves & flowers are good to eat!)

Jane’s Notes

Gautama Buddha, born under Taurus, sustained throughout his life and enlightenment, the strong sensuous contact with Earth.  He experimented with the traditional spiritual path of physical starvation, but found it as unwise as the dry “heady” practices to which Hindu spirituality had succombed.   He taught the Great Middle Way;  but also to enjoy, by example, the fruits of life:  mens sane in corpore sano.  The key to alleviate suffering – about which he felt passionately – is balance and moderation.  This he firmly held. Compassion is impossible, when driven by partisan beliefs and malnourishment. Compassion is equal with Mother Earth, who births and feeds us.


SITA CARD ONE, Ace of Disks – the Birth of Buddha)

Rohit’s Notes to Jane – March 2003:

I am using the Buddha story, because I realized it is primarily an earth myth.  He is born feet first, and as his mother births him in a standing position, his feet touch the ground first, and he instantly walks three steps.  All identifying with earth.  He calls on the earth to testify in his favour when Mara accuses him.  He dies lying on the earth like a lion.

The pictorial references given should in most cases prove adequate to compose the drawings for each card.  We need not range too far from the norm here, as the story of Buddha as explained in the accompanying article (see “Rohit Arya’s Essay on the Buddha”, posted earlier) is now part of the mind frame of all Asia.  This used to include countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, which were Buddhist for almost a millennium before converting to Islam.  Before beginning the cards, please read the article.

One of the compositional issues we are likely to face is, how do we fit in the appropriate number of pentacles or coins, as the choice may be into each card.  I give a picture of coins actually depicting the Buddha, so that we have an idea as to the India style of coins, if we choose that option.  The sort of edge to the coins gives an authentic touch.  Perhaps we can compromise – have a coin ‘feel’ with pentacles inscribed within their boundaries.

The sketches of buildings are solely for the purpose of filling in background.  If need be, they can be used in all the suits.

Even though I started my article by saying that the Buddha was not a prince, that is how mythology remembers him, and that is how we will therefore depict him.


Ace – Birth of Buddha

The choice was to go with the famous white elephant dream his mother had, or the actual depiction of the birth itself, which I felt was better, as it immediately establishes the link with the earth energies.

So we will use the actual birth of the Buddha.  He was born feet first, and as soon as he touched the ground he walked, a phenomenon of great and complex doctrinal significance.  The illustrations given should prove adequate for the composition, but we might include a little walking baby, suitably halo’d.  In the illustrations the Buddha is shown emerging from his mother’s side, a somewhat improbable event!  The mother is holding on to the branches of the tree to help herself deliver, it being common enough in India for women to give birth standing, as almost all other mammals do.

There is no need to veer away from the traditional depictions of costumes of either men or women.  The bare breasted women picture is for reference only, and comes from Sri Lankan murals, though they show the unmistakable Ajanta influence.

This pictorial reference from Rohit – the only one I can find now – has a more Greek style.

Jane’s Notes

Traditionally, the Buddha’s mother gave birth bearing down as she held the branches of a tree;  surrounded by helping women.  To the bodhi tree he returned, for the Great Enlightenment;  and as the tree lay on its side to die, he attained Nirvana.  My first draft for the Ace of Pentacles card contained a female figure to each side, but these were later removed.

I do not have our correspondence about this card.  Probably it didn’t get printed out. Here is the completed work:

The question of how to depict the coins, was resolved with this first card:  the traditional Buddhist symbol is the Great Wheel of the Law.  We agreed to use this – (with twelve outer spokes and eight inner ones) – for the  Pentacles or “Disks”, by which the teaching reaches the ground, and … walks!

In some scriptures, Buddha is called “the wheel rolling King”.

Wheel rolling King – 1988.  The orbital eye in the wheel is a cosmic atom

The Buddha nature vastly transcends any personal or individual focus.  It is of the order of those great wheels, the galaxies;  the time it takes for a feather’s touch on the Himalayas once every billion years, to reduce the entire range to dust.  The Tathagatha is the in and out breath of Kalpas:  the aeons of innumerable universes and lifetimes of the Buddha.  And yet, when this great being walked our paths, he was tender, shrewd and intensely practical.   Nature on earth is in this way, exquisitely practical:  to the smallest detail – the tides, the cycles and the seasons;  the way our body is made.

But we have to learn to become practical likewise. When we live arrogantly and out to lunch in our heads, and have no conscience with our toxic litter, Nature is our faithful mirror.


From the Buddha’s teaching …

“THE TOWER is as wide and spacious as the sky itself.

 The ground is paved with (innumerable) precious stones of all kinds, and there are within the Tower (innumerable) palaces, porches, windows, staircases, railings and passages, all of which are made of the seven kinds of precious gems …

 “And within this Tower, spacious and exquisitely ornamented, there are also hundreds of thousands … (innumerable) of Towers, each one of which is as exquisitely ornamented as the Tower itself, and as spacious as the sky.

 “And all these Towers, beyond calculation in number, stand not at all in one another’s way;  each preserves its individual existence in perfect harmony with all the rest;  there is nothing here which bars one Tower from being fused with all the others, individually and collectively;  there is a state of perfect intermingling, and yet of perfect orderliness.

 “Sudhana, the young pilgrim, sees himself in all the Towers, as well as in each single Tower, where all is contained in One and each contains all.

Paraphrase by Suzuki from the Buddha’s AVAMTAMSAKA SUTRA


The child was born from his mother (who died soon after) and walked at once.

How many others have dreamed about this, perhaps during pregnancy?  I did, many times when I was expecting, and I would like to hear if others did.  Briefly, in those dreams, the baby was born awake, and to my astonishment, spoke to me, and walked sturdily.  I might tell this story in my next post.

In my view, such a child is the delivery of a creative consciousness, and may happen at any time.  Such a child is a way of thought, foretelling a way of seeing.  The gods and devas and Great Messengers download through our psyche – (the atmosphere around the planet) – sometimes as infants fully formed, with their term of growth and realisation.  And they walk!

The more ancient the wise ones are, the younger they apear.  In every newborn’s face flow and flicker the centuries of our Self:  and thus the maternal bond.

A movie was made of the Buddha’s life, starring Keanu Reeves.  The footsteps of the walking newborn sprout lotus flowers, deliciously.  This babe accelerates the inner nature, rather like photo-technology learns to, on the surface.  The Christian tradition of the Virgin birth contains the same mystery, striking any moment, in the most ordinary manner.  Fruit of the womb! Only a fragment of the divine ordination – the Buddha land wherein we live:  the galactic Christ consciousness – gets captured into “what we think”; and then is dogmatized.


The Law



Rohit Arya

Rohit Arya is an Author, Yogi and Polymath. He has written the first book on Vaastu to be published in the West, {translated into five languages} the first book on tarot to be published in India, co-authored a book on fire sacrifice, and is the creator of The Sacred India Tarot {82 card deck and book}. He has also written A Gathering of Gods. He is  a corporate trainer, a mythologist and vibrant speaker as well as an arts critic and cultural commentator. Rohit is also a Lineage Master in the Eight Spiritual Breaths system of Yoga. 

Earlier posts about the deck, including the Major Arcana archive are in   The deck is copyrighted (c) 2011 to the publishers, Yogi Impressions Books pvt, and available also on Amazon and internationally.




My adventure invites fellow travellers.  I am a poet, an artist and a seer.  I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is  a vehicle to promote also my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books). Watch this space.

All art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012. May not be used for commercial purposes. May be used and shared for non-commercial means with credit to Jane Adams and a link to the web address


2 thoughts on “Sacred India Tarot Archive – Creation of the Buddha Suit of Pentacles

  1. Therein lies a wealth of information and research , in an easy and accessable style . Words of wisdom pervade the entire work e.g” Nature is our faithful mirror” , “He taught the Great Middle way” etc
    . It is a definitive guide , beautifully illustrated by Jane`s original and beautiful drawings Both authors deserve huge praise for this wonderful work .

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