Legend of the Buddha and Shih Tzu

     The magnificent Fu Dogs, (Foo) the Yin and Yang (male and female) guardians of Buddhist Temples have been caste out of bronze, fired in ceramics, carved out of stone, jade, cinnabar, ivory, and teak. The male holds a ball with his left paw, symbolic of dual powers over nature, precious stones, energy, valor, and wisdom.  The female holds her puppy with her paw--a symbol of playing, protecting, and disciplining her baby. "Fu" in Manchurian means "happiness."  Many legends say Fu Dogs, are the happy Shih Tzu, 
forever guarding the temple of Buddha. 
For many years, Siddhartha traveled throughout India with a joyful 
little dog at his side. One day, several robbers surrounded the Buddha intending to rob and murder him.  Suddenly the affectionate little companion shape-shifted into a roaring lion, so large and ferocious 
that the frightened men fled in all directions. Instantly the great lion became the fun loving traveling companion. Buddha picked up his 
small friend, kissed, petted, praised, and blessed him for his loyalty
and courage. 
     It is believed to-this-day that Shih Tzu are blessed by Buddha. A different color spot on the forehead is the place where Buddha bent 
down and placed a kiss. A flash of white on the forehead is the place where he laid his 
finger in blessing, as the noble puppies and ancestors of the Buddha's own Little Lion, parade past him, proudly preparing for birth. Symbolism and the Shih Tzu explains the various parts of the Shih Tzu as they relate to Buddhism.  
     For centuries, the ruling classes and aristocrats in most areas of the world have 
honored toy  breeds. The toys represented a means of expressing social status and 
wealth because they were not bred for utilitarian purposes. Siddhartha was a Prince, a Brahmin, a member of the highest caste in India before he abandoned all worldly possessions, reached  Nirvana and was named the Buddha. Considering his high social position, he probably owned and loved a toy and could have taken the dog with him on 
his many journeys. There is always truth behind legends.--editorial comment.

     Legend reveals that when the young and beautiful Kwan Yin refused to marry a man 
she did not love, her cruel father became so enraged, he put her to death. She was sent
to the underworld but the god of death put her back on Earth, because by reading words from the holy books, she had stopped all souls from suffering. 

     Buddha found the lovely young woman roaming the Earth. He knew her compassion 
for the lost souls and was taken by her great beauty. Without hesitation, he made her 
his consort, gave her immortality and named her the Goddess of Compassion and Mercy. Then he gave her a puppy from his beloved Shih Tzu, who would be her eternal friend 
and protector. There are many objets d'art, illustrating the great Goddess Kwan Yin with 
a happy little dog-- paws in the air--a pose similar to the "boxing" style of the cat world. 

     The Chinese Zodiac is organized according to the 12 animals signs, and is attributed 
to Buddha. Before he departed from Earth, the Lord Buddha summoned all the animals to come to him. Twelve animals from the four quarters of the Earth assembled to bid him farewell. As a reward for their journey and loyalty, Buddha named a year after each one
of them in the order of their arrival. First came the Rat-April, then the Ox-May, Tiger-
June, Rabbit-July, Dragon-August, Snake-September, Horse-October, Sheep-November, Monkey-December, Rooster-January, Dog-February, and Boar-March.