Buddhist Studies deities and bodhisattvas
Elephant-Riding Lohan: Kalika


Riding an elephant with a dignified air,
Chanting aloud the sutras.
With a heart for the humanity,
Eyes scanning the four corners of the universe.

Kali in Sanskrit means elephant and kalika, an elephant rider, or a follower of kali. The elephant, for its immense strength and power, endurance and perseverance, symbolizes the Buddhist might. Kalika the lohan was an elephant trainer-turned-Buddhist monk who had earned sufficient merits to attain enlightenment. In memory of his former profession, he is often portrayed with an elephant.

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