The Buddhism of Tibet, or Lamaism With Its Mystic Cults

That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.

Re: The Buddhism of Tibet, or Lamaism With Its Mystic Cults

Postby admin » Tue Jan 21, 2020 9:29 am

Part 2 of 2

As most of these specific charms are of the nature of sympathetic magic, and evidently derived from very ancient Indian sources, probably dating back to Vedic times when the ritual consisted largely of sympathetic magic,49 I give here a few examples:50 —

Thus to make the

Charm against Bullets and Weapons. — The directions are as these: With the blood of a wounded man draw the annexed monogram (D (upside-down D) and insert in the vacant space in the centre of the aforesaid print of "The Assembly of the Hearts of the Lamas." The sheet should then be folded and wrapped in a piece of red silk, and tie up with a piece of string and wear around the neck or an unexposed part of your breast immediately next the skin, and never remove it.

Charm for Clawing Animals (i.e., tigers, cats, bears, etc.). — On a miniature knife write with a mixture of myrobalans and musk-water the monogram (? ZAH) and tie up, etc. (Here the knife seems to represent the animal's claw.)

For Domestic Broils. — Write the monogram (? RE) and insert in print and fold up and bind with a thread made of the mixed hairs of a dog, goat, sheep, and enclose in a mouse-skin, and tie, etc. (This seems to represent union of domestic elements.)

For Kitchen Cooking Smells offensive to the House-Gods. — With the blood of a hybrid bull-calf write the monogram GAU ( = cow), and insert it in the print, and fold up in a piece of hedge- hog-skin. (Compare with the western Aryan myth of the Greek hearth-god Vulcan, whose mother Hera as Io is represented as a cow.)

For Cholera (or "the vomiting, purging, and cramps" ). — With the dung of a black horse and black sulphur and musk-water write the monogram (? ZA), and insert in the print, and fold up in a piece of snake-skin, and wear, etc. (Here the dung seems to represent the purging, the horse the galloping course, the black colour the deadly character, and the snake the virulence of the disease.)

Charm against Plagues.

This charm, figured at the head of this chapter, consists of a monster figure of the Garuda, the king of birds, with a snake in its mouth, and each of its outstretched plumes bears a text, and it also contains the "Buddhist creed." The inscription runs:—

Om! Bhrum satrirbad namkhamjamram.

Om! bisakhrilimili hala svaha!

Om! bisakhrilimilihalaya skachig!

Guard the holder (i.e., the wearer) of this from all the host of diseases of evil spirits and injuries, including contagious diseases, sore-throat, cough, rheumatism, the black "rgyu-ghgyel," brum-bu, and all kinds' of plague of the body, speech, and mind! [Here follows the Buddhist creed.] Habatse habatse hum sod. Suru suru hum sod. Sukarjuka My sod. Sati karur hum sod. Kularakhyi hum sod. Merumthuntse hum sod. Maltakuruna guru triga gurunam nagashara ramram duldul nagatsita pho naga chunglinga shag thumamnyogs sos.

Guard the holder.

Om! thamitharati sadunte dswaramghaye svaha!

Another charm for disease is given at page 62, where the fierce demon Tam-din, clad in human and animal skins, bears on his front a disc with concentric circles of spells.

Scorpion-Charm against Injury by Demons.

This charm, figured at page 474, is in the form of a scorpion, whose mouth, tipped by flames, forms the apex of the picture. On its shoulder are seated the especial demons to be protected against. The inscription runs: —

Ayama durur cashana zhamaya.

Hum! Om! A! Hum! Artsignirtsig!

Namo Bhagavati Hum! Hum! Phat!

A guard against all the injuries of "rgyalpo," "drimo" (a malignant demon specially injuring women), "btsan" (or red demons), "sa-dag" (or earth-demons), klu (or naga), including "gnan" (a plague-causing subordinate of the naga).

Against injury by these preserve!

And the figures are hemmed in by the mystic syllables: Jsa! Hum! Hum! Bam! Ho!

Charm Against Dogbite

The huge Tibetan mastiffs are let loose at night as watch-dogs, and roaming about in a ferocious state are a constant source of alarm to travellers, most of whom therefore carry the following charm against dog-bite. It consists of a picture of a dog fettered and muzzled by a chain, terminated by the mystic and all-powerful thunderbolt-sceptre; and it contains the following inscribed Sanskrit mantras and statements: "The mouth of the blue dog is bound beforehand! Omriti-sri-ti swaha! Omriti-sri-ti swaha!" And this is repeated along the body of the dog, followed by: —

Om Vajra ghana kara kukuratsa sal sal nan marya smugs smugs kukuratsa khathamtsa le tsa le min mun sar sar rgyug kha tha ma chhu chhinghchhang maraya rakkhya rakkhya! (It is) fixed! fixed!

Charm against Eagles and Birds of Prey.

Eagles play havoc with the young herds of the pastoral Bhotiyas of the Sikhim uplands and Tibet. For this the people use the annexed charm, which they tie up near their huts. The central figure is a manacled bird, representing the offending eagle or other bird of prey; and around it is the following text: —

"A guard against all injuries of the covetous, sky soaring monarch bird. (It is) fixed! fixed! Om smege smege bhum bhummu!"

Charm for KILLING One's Enemy.


The necromantic charms for killing one's enemy are resorted to mostly in inter-tribal feuds and warring with foreigners. I have given details of these rites elsewhere.51 They require the following objects: — 1. An axe with three heads, the right of which is bull-headed, the left snake-headed, and the middle one pig-headed.

2. On the middle head a lamp is to be kept.

3. In the pig's mouth an image of a human being made of wheaten flour (a linga). The upper part of the body is black and the lower part red. On the side of the upper part of the body draw the figure of the eight great planets, and on the lower part of the body the twenty-eight constellations of stars. Write also the eight parkha (trigrams), the nine mewa, the claws of the Garuda in the hands, the wing of the eagles and the snake tail.

4. Hang a bow and an arrow on the left and load him with provisions on the back. Hang an owl's feather on the right and a rook's on the left; plant a piece of the poison-tree on the upper part of the body, and surround him with red swords on all sides. Then a red Rgyangbu wood on the right, a yellow one on the left, a black one in the middle, and many blue ones on divers places.

5. Then, sitting in quiet meditation, recite the following:—

"Hum! This axe with a bull's head on the right will repel all the injuries of the Nag-pas and Bon-pos— sorcerers; the snake on the left will repel all the classes of plagues; the pig's head in the middle will repel the sa-dag and other earth-demons; the linga image in the mouth will repel all the evil spirits without remainder, and the lamp on the head will repel the evil spirits of the upper regions. O! the axe will cleave the heart of the angry enemy and also of the hosts of evil spirits!!! etc., etc., etc., etc.

During the Sikhim expedition of 1888, near Mt. Paul on the Tukola ridge, where the final attack of the Tibetans was made, there was found one of the mystic contrivances for the destruction of the enemy. It consisted of an obliquely carved piece of wood, about fourteen inches long, like a miniature screw-propeller of a steamer, and acted like the fan of a windmill. It was admittedly a charm for the destruction of the enemy by cleaving them to pieces, a device for which there are western parallels. And on it was written a long, unintelligible Bon spell of the kind called z'an-z'un, followed by a call for the assistance of the tierce deities Tam-din, Vajrapani, and the Gaaruda, and concluding with "phat, phat " — Break! Destroy! It may also be mentioned here that the bodies of all the Tibetans slain in these encounters were found to bear one or more charms against wounds, most of them being quite new; and some of the more elaborate ones, which contained in their centre figures of the other weapons charmed against, swords, muskets, etc., had cost their wearers as much as twenty-five rupees a-piece.

And for torturing one's enemy short of death, there is the same popular practice which is found amongst occidentals,52 namely, of making a little clay image of the enemy and thrusting pins into it.

The directions for this procedure are: —

Take some of the earth from his footprints; or better from the house of some wrecked person, and mixing with dough prepare a small figure of a man. On its head put thorns. Through the heart's region thrust a copper needle. Then say following spell: Om Ghate Jam-mo hamo hadsam; during the recital of which move the needle briskly over the region of the heart. If this process is long continued then the bewitched person will surely die within the day; but if done only for a time, and the needle and thorns are again withdrawn, and the image- body and needles are washed, the enemy who is thus bewitched will only suffer temporary anguish, and will recover (for it is against Buddhist principles to take life).


The tall flags inscribed with pious sentences, charms, and prayers, which flutter picturesquely around every Lamaist settlement, curiously combine Indian with Chinese and Tibetan symbolism.

It seems a far cry from Asoka pillars to prayer-flags, but it is not improbable that they are related, and that ''the Trees of the Law," so conspicuous in Lamaism, are perverted emblems of Indian Buddhism, like so much of the Lamaist symbolism.

Everyone who has been in Burma is familiar with the tall masts (tagun-daing),53 with their streaming banners, as accessories of every Buddhist temple in that country. Each mast in Burma is surmounted by an image of one or more Brahmani geese, and the streamers are either flat or long cylinders of bamboo framework pasted over with paper, which is often inscribed with pious sentences. The monks whom I asked regarding the nature of this symbol believed that it was borrowed from Indian Buddhism.

Now, the resemblance which these posts bear to the Asoka pillars is certainly remarkable. Both are erected by Buddhists for the purposes of gaining merit and displaying aloft pious wishes or extracts from the law; and the surmounting geese form an essential feature of the abacus of several Asoka pillars. The change from pillar to post could be easily explained, as great monoliths were only possible to such a mighty emperor as Asoka; but everyone could copy in wood the pious practice of that great and model Buddhist who had sent his missionaries to convert them.

Such wooden standards may have been common in Indian Buddhism, as some Burmese believe, and yet, from their perishable nature, have left no trace behind. At most of the old rocky Buddhist sites in Magadha I have seen sockets in the rock, some of which may have been used for such standards, although many of the smaller sockets were doubtless used for planting umbrellas to shelter the booth-keepers in their sale of flower and other offerings for the shrines. Most also of the clay models of Caityas in relief, dug out of the earlier Indian Stupas, show streamers tied to the top of the Caityas; and in Ceylon the old Stupas are surrounded by what seems to be similar posts.54

Lamaism, which, more than any other section of Buddhism, has, as we have seen, substituted good words for the good works of the primitive Buddhists, eagerly seized upon all such symbolism, as for instance, Asoka's historic gifts in their daily rice-offerings. The decided resemblance of its "prayer-flags" to the tagun-daing of the Burmese is55 not more striking, perhaps, than the apparent homology which they present to the Asoka pillars. They are called by the Lamas Da-cha,56 evidently a corruption of the Indian Dhvaja, the name given by the earlier Indian Buddhists to the votive pillars offered by them as railings to Stupas.57

The planting of a Lamaist prayer-flag, while in itself a highly pious act, which everyone practises at some time or other, does not merely confer merit on the planter, but benefits the whole countryside. And the concluding sentence of the legend inscribed on the flag is usually "Let Buddha's doctrine prosper" — which is practically the gist of the Asoka inscriptions.58

Chinese Long-Horse. Or Horse-Dragon, "Long-ma."

But the Lamas have degraded much of their Indian symbolism, and perverted it to sordid and selfish objects.

The prayer-flags are used by the Lamas as luck-commanding talismans; and the commonest of them, the so-called "Airy horse," seems to me to be clearly based upon and also bearing the same name as "The Horse-dragon" of the Chinese.

This Horse-dragon or "Long-horse" is one of the four great mythic animals of China, and it is the symbol for grandeur. It is represented, as in the figure on the opposite page, as a dragon-headed horse, carrying on its back the civilizing Book of the Law.

The Tibetan Lung-Horse.

Now this is practically the same figure as "The Lung-horse" (literally "Wind-horse") of the Lamaist flag, which also is used for the expressed purpose of increasing the grandeur of the votary; indeed, this is the sole purpose for which the flag is used by the Tibetan laity, with whom these flags are extremely popular.

And the conversion of "The Horse-dragon" of the Chinese into the Wind-horse of the Tibetans is easily accounted for by a confusion of homonyms. The Chinese word for "Horse-dragon" is Long-ma,59 of which Long = Dragon, and ma = Horse. In Tibet, where Chinese is practically unknown, Long, being the radical word, would tend to be retained for a time, while the qualifying word, ma, translated into Tibetan, becomes "rta." Hence we get the form "Long-rta." But as the foreign word Long was unintelligible in Tibet, and the symbolic animal is used almost solely for fluttering in the wind, the "Long" would naturally become changed after a time into Lung or "wind," in order to give it some meaning, hence, so it seems to me, arose the word Lung- rta,60 or "Wind-horse."

In appearance the Tibetan "Lung-horse" so closely resembles its evident prototype the "Horse-dragon," that it could easily be mistaken for it. On the animal's back, in place of the Chinese civilizing Book of the Law, the Lamas have substituted the Buddhist emblem of the civilizing Three Gems, which include the Buddhist Law. But the Tibetans, in their usual sordid way, view these objects as the material gems and wealth of good luck which this horse will bring to its votaries. The symbol is avowedly a luck-commanding talisman for enhancing the grandeur61 of the votary.

Indian myth also lends itself to the association of the horse with luck; for the Jewel-horse of the universal monarch, such as Buddha was to have been had he cared for worldly grandeur, carries its rider, Pegasus-like, through the air in whatever direction wished for, and thus it would become associated with the idea of realization of material wishes, and especially wealth and jewels. This horse also forms the throne-support of the mythical celestial Buddha named Ratna-sambhava, or "the Jewel-born One," who is often represented symbolically by a jewel. And we find in many of these luck-flags that the picture of a jewel takes the place of the horse. It is also notable that the mythical people of the northern continent, subject to the god of wealth, Kuvera, or Vaisravana, are "horse-faced."

The flags are printed on the unglazed tough country paper, and are obtainable on purchase from the Lamas, but no Lama is necessarily needed for the actual planting of the flag and its attendant rites.

War of the Tiger and Dragon

These luck-commanding or "prayer-flags" are of four kinds: —

I. The Lung-ta proper, as above figured. It is almost square in form, about four to six inches long, and contains in the centre the figure of a horse with the mystic jewel Norbu on its back. It is hung upon the ridges of the houses, and in the vicinity of dwellings. The printed text of this sort of flag varies somewhat in the order in which the deified Lamas are addressed, some giving the first place to St. Padma, while others give it to the celestial Bodhisat, Manjursi; but all have the same general form, with the horse bearing the jewel in the centre, and in the four corners the figures or the names of the tiger, lion, the monstrous garuda-bird, and the dragon — the tiger being opposed to the dragon, in accordance with Chinese mythology, as figured over the page. A translation of one of the prayer-flags is here given: —

Hail! Vagishwari mum! (i.e., yellow Manjusri's spell.) Hail! to the jewel in the Lotus! Hum! (i.e., Avalokita's spell).
Hail! to the holder of the Dorje! Hum! (i.e., Vajrapani's spell).
Hail! to Vajrasattva (The Diamond-souled one!)
Hail! Amarahnihdsiwantiye swaha.

[The above is in Sanskrit. Now follows in Tibetan: — ]

Here! May all of the above (deities whose spells have been given) prosper ... [here is inserted the year of birth of the individual], and also prosper —
the Body (i.e., to save from sickness),
the Speech (i.e., to give victory in disputations),
and the Mind (i.e., to obtain all desires); of this year-holder [above specified]
and may Buddha's doctrine prosper!

Here it will be noted that the three great celestial defensores fidei of Lamaism are invoked through their spells, namely: —

1. Manjusri, who conveys wisdom; 2. Avalokita, who saves from fear and hell; and 3. Vajrapani, who saves from accident and bodily injury. And in addition to the above are also given the spells of: 4. Vajrasattva, who purifies the soul from sin; and 5. Amitayus, who confers long life.

It is interesting to compare with these Tibetan luck-flags the somewhat similar prayer-flags62 which the Burmese Buddhists offer at their shrines. "These," says Mr. Scott, 63 "are fancifully cut into figures of dragons and the like, and in the centre contain, in Pali or the vernacular, sentences like these: —

"By means of this paper the offerer will become very strong.

"By the merit of this paper Wednesday's children will be blessed by spirits and men.

"May the man born on Friday gain reward for his pious offering.

"May the man born on Monday be freed from Sickness and the Three Calamities."

The Large Luck-Flag "The Victorious Banner." (Reduced 1/3)

The second form of the Tibetan luck-flag is called cho-pen.64 It is of a long, narrow, oblong shape, about eight to ten inches in length. This sort of flag is for tying to twigs of trees or to bridges, or to sticks for planting on the tops of hills. Its text has generally the same arrangement as form No. 1, but it wants the horse-picture in the centre. Its Tibetan portion usually closes with "May the entire collection (of the foregoing deities) prosper the power, airy horse, age and life of this year-holder and make them increase like the waxing new moon."

Very poor people, who cannot afford the expense of the printed charms, merely write on a short slip of paper the name of the birth-year of the individual, and add "May his lung-horse prosper."

One lung-horse for each member of a household must be planted on the third day of every month (lunar) on the top of any hill near at hand, or on the branch of a tree near a spring, or tied to the sides of a bridge; and on affixing the flag a stick of incense is burned. And a small quantity of flour, grain, flesh, and beer are offered to the genius loci of the hill-top by sprinkling them around, saying, So! So! Take! Take!

A more expanded form of the luck-flag is the Gyal-tsan dse- mo, or "Victorious banner,"65 which is generally of the same form as that first mentioned, but containing a much larger amount of holy texts, and also usually the eight glorious symbols, of which the lotus forms the base of the print. It prospers not only luck in wealth, but also the life, body, and power of the individual, and seems to contain also spells addressed to the goddess Durga, Siva's spouse.

The Vast Luck-flag. This fourth form of Lung-ta is named "gLan-po stob ryyas" or "That which makes vast like the Elephant." It is pasted to the walls of the houses, or folded up and worn around the neck as a charm for good luck. It consists of crossed vajras in the centre with a Garuda and a peacock, the jewelled elephant and the jewelled horse, each hearing an eight-leaved lotus-disc on which are inscribed the following Sanskrit and Tibetan texts. The other symbols are "the eight glorious symbols" already described.

And around the margin is the familiar legend "the Buddhist creed," repeated several times, also the letters of the alphabet, together with the words "May the life, body, power, and the 'airy horse' of the holder of this charm prosper his body, speech, and wishes, and cause them to increase like the growing new moon; may he be possessed of all wealth and riches, and be guarded against all kinds of injury."

In the upper left hand disc: "May the life of this charm-holder be raised sublimely (like the flight of the garuda here represented). Om! sal sal hobana sal sal ye swaha! Om! Om! sarba kata kata sata kata sala ya nata sah wa ye swaha! Om! kili kili mili mili kuru kuru hum, hum ye swaha! O! May the life of this charm-holder be raised on high!

In the upper right-hand disc: "May the body of this charm-holder be raised sublimely (like the flight of the peacock here represented). Om! yer yer hobana yer yer ye svaha! Om! sarba Tathagata bhiri bhiri bata baia miri miri mili mili ae bata sarba gata-gata shramana sarba gata-gata shramana sarba!! May the body of this charm-holder be raised on high."

In lower left-hand disc: "May the power of this charm-holder be raised sublimely (like the precious elephant here represented). Om! Mer mer hobana mer mer ye swaha! Om sarva dhara dhara bara dhara ghi kha ye swaha! Sarva kili kili na hah kang li sarba bhara bhara sambhara sambhara! O! May the power and wealth of this charm- holder be increased and all the injuries be guarded against.

In lower right-hand circle: "May the 'Airy horse' of this charm- holder be raised sublimely (with the celerity of 'the precious horse' here represented). Om! lam lam hobana lam lam lam swaha! Om! Sarva kara kara phat! Sarbha dhuru dhuru na phat I Sarba kata kata kata na phat! Sarba kili kili na phat! Sarbha mala mala swaha! O! May the 'Lung-horse' of the charm-holder be raised on high and guarded against all injury."

In the central disc over the junction of the cross Dor-je is written: "Om! neh ya rani jiwenti ye swaha! O! May this charm-holder be given the undying gift of soul everlasting (as the adamantine cross Dor-je herein pictured)."

In planting these luck-flags a special form of worship is observed. And the planting of these flags with the due worship is advised to be done when ever anyone feels unhappy and down in luck, or injured by the earth-demons, etc.
It is called " The great statue of the Lung-horse," and is as follows: —

First of all is made a rice-offering of the universe, under a yellow canopy, but screened on the four sides by curtains of different colours, blue on the east, red on the south, white on the west, and black on the north. The canopies are to be fixed in the ends of a perfect square set in the four directions, around which are the twelve-year cycle, the nine cakes (bs'os) representing the nine Mewas, eight lamps representing the eight parkha, eight planets, twenty-eight constellations of stars, five Tormas, five glud (small balls of wheaten flour offered to demons as ransom), five arrows with silk streamers (mda-dar) of the five different colours, and many more mda rgyan-bu and 'p'an. The above must be arranged by a practical man, and then the ceremony begins with the fingers in the proper attitude of the twelve cycle of years, and recitation of the following in a raised and melodious voice: —

"Kye! Kye! In the eastern horizon from where the sun rises, is a region of tigers, hares, and trees. The enemy of the trees is the Iron, which is to be found in the western horizon, and where the enemy, the life-cutting bdud-devil, is also to be found. In that place are the demons who injure the life, body, power, and the 'Lung-horse.' The devil who commands them also lives in the occidental region: he is a white man with the heads of a bird and a monkey, and holds a white hawk on the right and a black demon-rod on the left. Oh! Bird and monkey-headed demon! Accept this ransom and call back all the injuring demons.

"Kye! Kye! In the southern horizon is a region of horses, snakes, and fire. The enemy of the fire is the water, etc., etc. O! Rat and pig-headed demon! Accept this ransom and call back all the injuring demons." ....

"Kye! Kye! In the boundary of the south-eastern horizon is a yellow dragon-headed demon. O! Dragon-headed devil! Accept this ransom and call back all the injuring devils.

"Kye! Kye! In the boundary of the south-western horizon is a yellow sheep-headed woman. O! Sheep-headed she-devil! Accept this ransom and call back all the injuring demons.

"Kye! Kye! In the boundary of the north-western horizon there is a yellow dog-headed demon. O! Dog-headed devil! Accept this ransom and call back all the injuring demons.

"Kye! Kye! In the boundary of the north-eastern horizon there is a yellow bull-headed demoness. O! Bull-headed she-devil! Accept this ransom and call back all the injuring demons!

"O! Upset all the injuring evil spirits, the ill-natured devils, the demons who injure the life, body, power, and the Lung-horse, the wandering demons, the ill-luck of bad 'Lung-horses,' the fearful goblins, the bad omens, the doors of the sky, and the earth, and the injuries of all malignant devils.

"May we be freed from all kinds of injuries and be 'favoured with the real gift, which we earnestly seek!'"

"May virtue increase!'


The "Vast" Luck-flag (Reduced 1/2)



1 Tib., dKon-mch'og-gsum, or "The rarest ones."
2 Yun-drun. Chinese, Chu'-Vang, or "The ten thousand character"; cf. also Indian Antiquary, ix., 65, etc., 135, etc., and numerous references in Dumoutier, op. cit., 22-23.

3 Su, meaning "good" or "excellent" (in Greek, eu), and Asti is the third person singular present indicative of the verb As, "to be," and Ka is an abstract suffix.

4 Skt., Arani.

5 But see Jacobi's works.

6 Namely, the Jina Su-parsva.

7 Skt., Sapta-ratna. T., Rin-ch'en sna-bdun; cf. Hardy's Man, p. 130, and Alabaster's Wheel of the Law, p. 81.

8 Cakra-rartin Raja.

9 Skt,, Cakra; T., 'K'or-lo.

10 Fergusson, Tree and Serp. Worsh. pl. xxix., Fig. 2.

11 Skt., Ratna; T., Norbu.
12 Skt., Stri; T., Tsun-mo.

13 Skt., (?) Girti or Mahajana; T., bLon-po.

14 Skt., Hasti; T., glan-po.

15 This elephant is frequently represented as a miniature bronze ornament or flower-stand on the Lamaist altar. Mr. Baber records (R. G. Soc. Suppl., paper, p. 33) a colossal elephant with six tusks, cast in silvery-bronze, in western Ssu-ch'uan. It is of artistic merit, and carries on its back, in place of a howdah, a lotus-flower, in which is enthroned an admirable image of Buddha.

16 Skt., Asva; T., rTa-mch'og.

17 Aswin or Uchchaihsravas.

18 Compare with the divine horse named "Might of a Cloud," from the thirty-three heavens, which delivered the merchants from the island of Rakshasis. — See Hiuen Tsiang's Si-Yu-Ki.  

19 Skt., Kshatri or Sena-pati; T., d.Mag-dpon.
20 Bum-pa-ter; Skt., Kalasa.

21 Gyal-ts'an sna bdun.

22 'Jigs-yons-gyi rin-po-ch'e, namely, bSeru, conch-shell curd, king's earring, queen's earring, jewelled tiara, three-eyed gem, and the eight-limbed coral. Another enumeration gives Padmaraga, indranila, baidurya, margad, vajra, pearl, and coral.

23 Ne-wai rin-poch'e sna bdun.
24 Cf CSOMA'S An., p. 76; Jaeschke's Dict., p. 454.

25 Skt., Ashta-mangala; T., bkra-s'i rtags-brgyad.

26 Said to be symbols of the Vita-raga. Hodgson's L.L., p. 136, also J.A.S.B., art. "Naipalya Kalyana."
27 The credulous Lamas of north-eastern Tibet credited Mr. Rockhill with having captured the golden fish in the Tosu lake. "When I came back from Tosu-nor to Shang, the Khanpo (abbot), a Tibetan, asked me where I proposed going; 'To Lob-nor,' I replied, not wishing to discuss my plans. 'I supposed that was your intention,' he rejoined; 'you have caught our horse and fish of gold in the Tosu-nor, and now you want to get the frog of gold of the Lob-nor. But it will be useless to try; there is in the whole world but the Panchen Rinpoche, of Tashi-lhunpo, who is able to catch it" ("A Journey in Mongolia and Tibet," The Geog. Journ., May, 1894, p. 376). The Japanese use a wooden fish as a gong.

28 In Sanchi Tope. Fergus., Tree and Serp. Worship, pl. xxxv., Fig. 2.

29 Also the symbol of the tenth Jina (Sitala) of the Jains. Compare with "Buddha's entrails," see number 2 of next list, also on this page.

30 bkras's-rdsas brgyad. These, together with the foregoing, may be compared with the Navakosa or Navanidhi, or nine treasures of Kuvera, the god of riches, namely, Padma, Mahapadma, Makara, Kacchapa, Mukunda, Nanda, Nila, Kharwa. And these are related to the so-called Naga kings, "the nine Nandas" of Magadha.
31 Skt., Kamaguna, T., 'dod-yons.

32 Dumoutier, Les Symboles, etc., Annamites.
33 Called rGyan-'k'yil, probably a corruption of the Chinese name.

34 Cf. Dumoutier, Op. cit., p. 21.

35 Tib., 'drug; Chinese Long.

36 Tib., nam-K'ah-ldin. The Chinese call it Con-phu'ong (Dumoutier, p. 48).
37 Cf. also Dumoutier, p. 48.

38 Ngu Ho, see figure, p. 413.

39 Dumoutier, p. 55.

40 Chinese Ngu Phu'o'c; cf. Dumoutier, p. 51.

41 See also their form on page 4.
42 Taken mostly from Csoma's Grammar, pp. 150, et seq.
43 For details of the rest of this service, see my Lamaism in Sikhim, p. 105.

44 z'uns.
45 Monier Williams's Hinduism, 127.

46 "In Gambia," writes the colonial surgeon in his report for 1890 (quoted in Nature) "the treatment relied upon for cure, and much practised in the country, is to call in a man who is supposed to be a 'doctor,' who, after looking at the patient, sits down at his bedside and writes in Arabic characters on a wooden slate a long rigmarole, generally consisting of extracts from the Koran. The slate is then washed, and the dirty infusion is drunk by the patient."
47 Figured on page 571. The kidney-shaped ones are called Ga-u ke-ri-ma.

48 Cf. also Csoma and W. E. Carte, J.A.S.B., ix., 904. See figures of some of these charms at pages 568, 571, and 572.
49 Cf. Bergaigne's La religion vedique; also Frazer.

50 For a fuller account, with illustrations, sec my article in Jour. Anthrop, Institute, 1894.
51 My Lamaism in Sikhim.
52 Cf. Virgil. Bucol. viii.: Theocritus, Pharmaceutria.
53 Mr. St. A. St. John kindly informs me that the etymology is ta, something long and straight + gun, bark or husk + daing, a post.

54 See figures in Ferguson's History of India and Eastern Architecture.

55 These instances seem something more than the simple cloths and banners as propitiatory offerings, which, of course, are found in most animistic religions — from the "rag-bushes of India to the shavings of the Upper Burmese and the Ainos. And the hypothetical relationship between the Burmese and the Tibetans, based on the affinity of their languages, does not count for much, as no real racial relation has yet been  proved. Probably related to these prayer-flags are the stone pillars called masts or  poles (wei-kan), found in western Su-Ch'uan in China, and figured by Mr. Baber ("A  Journey," etc., Roy. Geog. Soc. Suppl. Papers, i., p. 19).  
56 dar-lch'og.

57 Cunningham's Stupa of Barhut.

58 As the legend usually bears a lion and a tiger in its upper corners, while below are a Garuda-bird and dragon (Naga), it seems not impossible that these may be related to the surmounting lion and the so-called geese of Asoka'a pillars. The rites related to the erection of the Lamaist standard are somewhat suggestive of the Vedic rite of "raising Indra'a banner," which in its turn is probably the original of our Maypole, and Asoka's pillars seem to have been somewhat of the nature of the Jayatambha.
59 Dumoutier, op. cit., p. 30

60 rLun-rta; another form of spelling sometimes, though rarely, met with, is kLun rta, where kLun is said to mean "year of birth."

61 T., rgyas.
62 Kyet sha-taing.

63 The Burman, i., p. 225.
64 sbyod-pan.

65 Sometimes rendered into Sanskrit as Arya dhvaja agra-keyur rana maharani.

66 gLan-po stob-rgyas.
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Re: The Buddhism of Tibet, or Lamaism With Its Mystic Cults

Postby admin » Thu Jan 23, 2020 6:51 am

Part 1 of 2

XVI. Worship and Ritual

Dough Sacrificial Effigies of the Tibetan Bon Religion. (Reduced 1/4)

WORSHIP and priestcraft had no place in primitive Buddhism. Pious regard for admirable persons, such as Buddha and the elders, and for ancient cities and sacred sites, was limited to mere veneration, and usually took the form of respectful circumambulation (usually three times), with the right hand towards the admired object, as in western ceremonial,1 and this veneration was extended to the other two members of the Buddhist trinity, namely, Buddha's Word or Dharma, and the Assembly of the Faithful.

After Buddha's death such ceremonial, to satisfy the religious sense, seems soon to have crystallized into concrete worship and sacrifice as an act of affection and gratitude towards the Three Holy Ones; and it was soon extended so as to include the worship of three other classes of objects, namely (1), Bodily relics (Saririka); (2), Images of Buddha's person, etc. (Uddesika; and (3), Vestments, utensils, etc. (Paribhogika). And in justification of such worship the southern Buddhists quote the sanction of Buddha himself,2 though of course without any proof for it.

And we have seen how, in the objective phase of Buddhism, and especially in its Tantrik development, ritual is elevated to the front rank in importance, and binds the votaries in the bonds of sacerdotalism and idolatry. Even in southern Buddhism there is a good deal of priestcraft. The monks draw out horoscopes, fix auspicious days for weddings, etc. and are sent for in cases of sickness to recite the scriptures, and the pirit as a charm against snakes, and evil spirits, and devil dances.3

A Lama Priest.4

But in Lamaism the ritualistic cults are seen in their most developed form, and many of these certainly bear a close resemblance outwardly to those found within the church of Rome, in the pompous services with celibate and tonsured monks and nuns, candles, bells, censers, rosaries, mitres, copes, pastoral crooks, worship of relics, confession, intercession of "the Mother of God," litanies and chants, holy water, triad divinity organized hierarchy, etc.5

It is still uncertain, however, how much of the Lamaist symbolism may have been borrowed from Roman Catholicism, or vice versa. Large Christian communities certainly existed in western China, near the borders of Tibet, as early as the seventh century A.D.6

Thus has it happened, in a system which acknowledged no Creator, that the monks are in the anomalous position of priests to a host of exacting deities and demons, and hold the keys of hell and heaven, for they have invented the common saying, "'without a Lama in front (of the votary), there is (no approach to) God." And so instilled is such belief in the minds of the laity that no important business is undertaken without first offering worship or sacrifice.

The necessity for offerings at the shrines of the images, etc., is now insisted on in all the forms of Buddhism.

The regular offerings will be detailed presently. But there is no limit to the variety of things that are offered. Wealthy votaries offer art objects, rich tapestries, gold and silver vessels, jewels, and the plunders of war, including weapons. In Burma, some of the earliest knitting and embroidery efforts of young girls are devoted to Buddha's shrine, along with American clocks and chandeliers, tins of jam and English biscuits, sardines, and Birmingham umbrellas. And most of these, and still more incongruous objects, are offered on Lamaist altars; even eggs are sometimes given.

We have already seen the general form of daily service as practised at Potala and lesser cathedrals and temples, and by isolated monks in hermitage. Here we shall look at some details of particular acts of worship and celebrations.

Personal ablution is enjoined, as a sacerdotal rite preparatory to worship, on the principle of purity of body being emblematic of purity of heart. But this ceremonial purification seldom extends to more than dipping the tips of the fingers in water, and often even not that, for the Tibetans, like most mountaineers, are not remarkable for their love of water or soap.

Before commencing any devotional exercise, the higher Lamas perform or go through a manoeuvre bearing a close resemblance to "crossing oneself," as practised by Christians. The Lama gently touches his forehead either with the finger or with the bell, uttering the mystic Om, then he touches the top of his chest, uttering Ah, then the epigastrium (pit of stomach), uttering Hum. And some Lamas add Sva-ha, while others complete the cross by touching the left shoulder, uttering Dam and then Yam. It is alleged that the object of these manipulations is to concentrate the parts of the Sattva, namely, the body, speech and mind, upon the image or divinity which he is about to commune with.7

In the worship of every Buddhist divinity there are seven recognized stages,8 evidently framed on a Hindu model.'9 The stages are10: —

1. The Invocation — Calling to the feast or sacrifice.

2. Inviting the deity to be seated.

3. Presentation of offerings, sacred cake, rice, water, flowers, incense, lamps, music, and occasionally a mandala or magic-circle offering, for which there is a special manual.

4. Hymns in praise.

5. Repetition of the special spell or mantra.

6. Prayers for benefits present and to come.

7. Benediction.

Many of the Lamaist offerings are of the nature of real sacrifice. Some of the objects are destroyed at the time of offering. Ceremonies to propitiate demons are usually done after dark, and the objects are then commonly thrown down "delibare." Frequently the sacrifice is given the form of a banquet, and accompanied by games and sacred plays and dances.

What are called "the Essential Offerings or Sacrifice"11 seem to represent the earlier and purer offerings of Indian Buddhism, and are little more than the fresh-cut flowers and incense which were customary offerings even in the seventh century, at the time of Hiuen Tsiang. These offerings are set upon the altar already described, before the image worshipped, accompanied by the rhythmic recital of incantations and music.

Dough Sacrificial Effigies of the Lamas.

These "essential" or necessary offerings, which are needed12 in every service of worship, are seven in number, and each bears a special Sanskritic name descriptive of its nature,13 and must be placed in the bowls already described,14 and in line in the above order. In the third and fourth bowls on the top of the rice heaps should be placed respectively a flower 15 and a stick of incense; and in the sixth bowl should be placed perfumed water; and lastly a cake, into which have been incorporated a few filings of the precious metals16; but these details are only observed on special occasions. Ordinarily all of the bowls are filled with plain water. On placing the above offerings in position in the order noted, the benefit of a full service of worship is obtained by merely chanting the following hymn: —

A-va-ta-ya, A-va-td-ya. Om vajra! Argham, Pa-dyam, Pukh-pe, Dhu-pe, A-loke, Gan-dhe, Nai-vi-dya, Shab-ta, Prati- dsa-yi Swaha! Which being interpreted is: "Come! Come! Om! The Thunderbolt! Partake of these offerings: Excellent river water for drinking, cool water for washing your feet, flowers for decking your hair, pleasing incense fumes, lamps for lighting the darkness, perfumed water for anointing your body, sacred food, the music of cymbals! (here the cymbals are sounded). Eat fully! Swaha!"

But the high-church Lama, or Ge-lug-pa monk, must chant a longer service, which is noted below.17

Filing the Five Precious Metals for the sacrifice.

It is customary for every votary on special occasions to offer one hundred and eight lamps, together with an equal number of vessels of rice and of cake. These are placed in four rows, the order of which from before backwards is rice, water, lamps, and cakes. And for the great demoniacal tutelary's service extra cakes used on a separate altar with five ledges (see also figure on page 299), on each of which are set a series of one hundred and eight of the offerings noted, and on special feasts great bas reliefs of coloured butter are offered, many of them of artistic designs.17

Offerings to Tutelary-fiend.
1. Great cake.
2. Wine or blood in a skull.
3- Rice.
4. Cake.
5. Butter.
6. Lamps.

Arrangement of The Banquet to the Whole Assembly of the Gods and demons

A still more elaborate arrangement of food-offerings is seen in the banquet to the whole assembly of the gods and the demons, entitled Kon-ch'og-chi-du, or "sacrifice to the whole assembly of Rare Ones," which is frequently held in the temples. This feast is observed by Lamas of all sects, and is an interesting sample of devil-worship. The old fashion is here detailed, but it differs from that of the reformed or high church only in providing for a slightly larger party of demoniacal guests; the Ge-lug-pa inviting only the following, to wit, their chief Lama, St. Tson-K'a-pa, their tutelary deity Vajra-bhairava, Vajrasattva Buddha, the deified heroes, the fairies, the guardian demons of the Ge-lug-pa creed, the god of wealth, the guardian demons of the caves where the undiscovered revelations are deposited, the five sister sprites of mount Everest, the twelve aerial fiendesses (Tan-ma), who sow disease, and the more important local gods.

This sacrifice should be done in the temples for the benefit of the Lamas on the 10th and 15th of every month. On behalf of laymen it must be done once annually at the expense of every individual layman who can afford it; and on extra occasions, as a thanksgiving for a successful undertaking, and as a propitiation in sickness, death, and disaster.

The arrangement of the banquet is shown in the foregoing diagram: —

In the inmost row are placed the large coloured and ornamented Baling cakes for (a) the chief Lama-saint, who in the case of the old school is St. Padma, (b) the tutelary deity, in this case Guru tak-po, a fierce demoniacal form of the saint, and (c) the she-devil with the lion-face. For the saint there is also placed on either side of his cake a skull-cap, the one to his right containing country wine, here called "Ambrosia" (amrita), in Tibetan literally "devils' juice"; and the contents of the other are called blood (rakta), though tea-infusion is usually offered instead. In the second row are the cakes for the guardians and protector of Lamaism, usually with Buddha's cake (No. 4) in centre. The order of the cakes for these guardian demons is as follows — the attached figures relate to the foregoing diagram: —

No. 5. The Lion-faced demoness.

No. 6. The four-armed "Lord," a form of Mahakala.

No. 7. The god of wealth.

No. 8. The "Ruler of Tibet's guardian" (and in Sikhim the special guardian of the Na-dukpa monasteries).

No. 9. The demon blacksmith (red and black colour, rides a goat and carries an anvil and a bellows, was made a protector of Lamaism by St. Pad-ma).

No. 10. The Lord of the Rakshas devils.

No. 11. The Locality protector.

No. 12. The Naga demi-gods, white and black.  

No. 13. The Nun-fiendess of Di-kung monastery.

No. 14. The five everlasting sisters of mount Everest.

No. 15. The spirits of the tank-drowned persons.

No. 16. The homestead demon-owner.

No. 17. The country-god Kang-chen-dsonga (mountain).

No. 18. The black devil, red devil and Naga of Darjiling or special locality of temple.

No. 19. The demons who cause disease.

No. 20. The twelve aerial fiendesses of disease (Tan-ma).

No. 21. The demon owners of the "Ter" caves where the hidden revelations are deposited.

No. 22. The black and red devils and Naga of parent monastery of the priests of this temple.

In the third row are placed the "essential offerings" already described, which are especially intended for the superior gods.

In the fourth and outmost row are an indefinite number of T'sog-cakes, which are especial dainties as an extra course for all. These cakes contain ordinary torma cake of cooked rice or barley, with the addition of some wine, and a mixture of cooked flesh and all sorts of eatables available.

The stages of the worship in this feast are as follows: —

1st. Invitation to the deities and demons to come to the feast (Skt., avahan). This is accompanied by great clamour of drums, cymbals, horns and fifes, so as to attract the attention of the gods and demons.

2nd. Requesting the guests to be seated (Skt., asan).

3rd. Begging them to partake of the food offered.

4th. Praises the goodness and admirable qualities of the guests. This is done while the guests are partaking of the essence of the food.

5th. Prayers for favours immediate and to come.

6th. The especial delicacy, the T'sog-cake, is then offered to all, on four plates, a plate for each row of guests, and one plateful is reserved for the Lamas themselves.

Then is done the ceremony of "Expiation for religious duties left undone,"18 which wipes off all arrears of religious duty. Here the sacristan throws skywards, amid great clamour of wind and brass instruments, several of the Tsog-cakes to all the demi-gods and demons not specially included in the feast. One Tsog-cake is then given to each Lama in the order of his rank, from the highest to the lowest, as the food has been consecrated by the gods having partaken of it.

Each Lama must, however, leave a portion, which is collected carefully, in a plate, in order, from the lowest to the head Lama. And on the top of these collected fragments is placed a whole cake. Then a celebration called Lhak-dor is done, and the whole of these crumbs — the leavings of the Lamas — are contemptuously thrown down on to the ground, outside the temple-door to the starveling ghosts and those evil-spirits who have not jet been subjected by St. Padma or subsequent Lamas.

The efficacy of these cake-offerings is urged at length in the manual of the established church.19

The special rites and celebrations are usually detailed in separate manuals; but each Ge-lug-pa monk has a general manual of worship, etc., entitled "the monk's timely Memoranda,"20 and seems to correspond in some measure to the Dina Chariyawa of the Ceylonese,21 in which are given directions for personal and general devotions as well as for monastic conduct, from which I have already made extracts in the chapter on the order.

The service is mostly in Tibetan, which is like the Latin of the papal mass-books used throughout Mongolia and Lamaist temples in China, the only exception being the privileged temple at Pekin.22 Music is much used, though it is in the main an ear- piercing din of drums, loud trumpets, horns, and clashing cymbals.

The leaders of the choir also have a psalter or score in which the swelling, rising, and falling notes are curiously represented by curves, as shown in the annexed photograph; and the points at which the several instruments join in the choir are also duly noted therein. The pauses are marked by bells and cymbals, and the effect at times of the noisy din and clamour suddenly lapsing into silence is most solemn, and even impressive in the larger cathedrals with their pious and sombre surroundings.23

Lama's Musical Score

The daily celebrations of the high church monk, or the Ge-lug- pa Lama, comprise the following services: —

1. The "Refuge-formula" (mT'un-mon).
2. mT'un-mon ma-yin-pa.
3. The four-fold prayer for the Animals (Sems-bskyed).
4. Another prayer for Animals (K'yad-par gyi smes-bskyed).
5. Prayer for the Earth (Sa-gz'i byin brlabs).
6. Sacrificial offerings (mCh'od-pa byin brlabs).
7. Invocation to the Jinas (Spyan-'dren).
8. Offering of bathing water to the Gods and Jinas (K'rus-gsol. " Tui-Sol)."
9. Salutation to Buddhas, Saints and Lamas (P'yag-'t'sal).
10. Offerings of "the necessary things" (mCh'od-pa).
11. Offerings of "five sensuous things" ('Dod-yon-lna).
12. Offerings of "seven precious things" (rgyal-sri sna bdun).
13. Confession of Sins (bS'ags-pa).
14. In praise of the Jinas and Buddha-putras (rJes-su yi-rans).
15. Turning the Wheel of the Law (Ch'os-'k'or bskor-wa).
16. Prayer for attaining Nirvana (Mya-nan las-mi 'das was gsol-wa 'debs-pa).
17. Prayer for Blessing (bsno-wa).
18 Magic-circle — Offering of the Universe.
19. Prayer to Lama-tutor.24
20. The Tutelary's invocation — Yamantaka, etc. (for Ge-lug-pa) and Guru Tak-po Kah-gye, etc., for Nin-ma.
21. Sacrificial worship (ch'oga) to the demons, after dark with cake (torma), incense and wine with the libations (gSer-skyems) the Kang-so banquet.25

We will illustrate a few of these services by some abstracts and extracts: —

A good sample of the worship of a Lamaist divinity is seen in that of Tara, the Virgin of northern Buddhism, and the "Goddess of Mercy."

The manual of Tara's worship26 is one of the commonest booklets in Tibet, and is in the hands of nearly all laymen, most of whom can repeat her hymn and chief service by heart.27

Tara's Worship.

Tara's worship, like that of most of the Mahayana and Tantrik deities, is divided into the seven stages already mentioned.

The service is chanted in chorus, and the measure used in chanting the hymn, namely trochaic in eight-syllabled lines, I have indicated in a footnote to the hymn.

A portion of the manual is here translated —

"If we worship this sublime and pure-souled goddess when we retire in the dusk and arise in the morning, then all our fears and worldly anxieties will disappear and our sins be forgiven. She— the conqueror of myriad hosts— will strengthen us. She will do more than this! She will convey us directly to the end of our transmigration — to Buddha and Nirvana!

"She will expel the direst poisons, and relieve us from all anxieties as to food and drink, and all our wants will be satisfied; and all devils and plagues and poisons will be annihilated utterly; and the burden of all animals will be lightened! If you chant her hymn two or three or six or seven times, your desire for a son will be realized! Or should you wish wealth, you will obtain it, and all other wishes will be gratified, and every sort of demon will be wholly overcome."


"Hail! O! verdant Tara!
The Saviour of all beings!
Descend, we pray Thee, from Thy heavenly mansion, at Potala,
Together with all Thy retinue of gods, titans, and deliverers!
We humbly prostrate ourselves at Thy lotus-feet!
Deliver us from all distress! O holy Mother!"

Presentation of Offerings (Sacrificial).

"We hail Thee! rever'd and sublime Tara!
Who art adored by all the kings and princes
Of the ten directions and of the present, past and future.
We pray Thee to accept these offerings
Of flowers, incense, perfumed lamps,
Precious food, the music of cymbals,
And the other offerings!
We sincerely beg Thee in all Thy divine Forms28
To partake of the food now offered!
On confessing to Thee penitently their sins
The most sinful hearts, yea! even the committers of the
Ten vices and the five boundless sins,
Will obtain forgiveness and reach
Perfection of soul — through Thee!

If we (human beings) have amassed any merit
In the three states,29
We rejoice in this good fortune, when we consider
The unfortunate lot of the poor (lower) animals
Piteously engulphed in the ocean of misery.
On their behalf, we now turn the wheel of religion!
We implore Thee by whatever merit we have accumulated
To kindly regard all the animals.
And for ourselves!
When our merit has reached perfection
Let us not, we pray Thee,
Linger longer in this world!"

Hymns in Tara's Praise.30

(The translation I have made almost literal. Each separate stanza is addressed to a special one of Tara's twenty-one forms — the name of which is given in the margin for reference.)

(Tara, the Mother.)

Arya Tara! Hail to Thee!
Our Deliverers sublime!
Avalok'ta's messenger
Rich in power and pity's store.

1. Tara, the Supremely Courageous.)

Hail O Tara! quick to Save!
Lotus-born of pitying tear
Shed down by The Three-World-Lord,
(Grieving sad for sunken souls.)

2. Tara, of White-moon Brightness.)

Hail! to Thee with fulgent face,
Brilliant as a hundred moons
Of harvest gleaming in the light
Of myriad dazzling stars.

(3. Tara, the Golden-Coloured.)

Hail! to Thee whose hand is decked
By the lotus, golden blue.
Eager Soother of our woe,
Ever tireless worker, Thou!

(4. Tara, the Grand Hair-piled.)  

Hail! to Thee with pil'd-up hair,
Where Tathagata sits shrin'd,
Victor31 of the universe.
Thou a saintly victor too!

(5. Tara, the "Hun" Shouter.)

Hail to thy "tut-tara-hun,"32
Piercing realms of earth and sky,
Treading down the seven worlds,
Bending prostrate everyone!

(6. Tara, the best Three- World Worker.)

Hail! adored by mighty gods,
Indra, Brahma, Fire and Wind,
Ghostly hordes and Gandharvas
All unite in praising Thee!

(7. Tara, the Suppressor of Strife.)

Hail! with Thy dread "tre" and "phat"33
Thou destroyest all Thy foes:
Striding out with Thy left foot
Belching forth devouring fire!

(8. Tara, the Bestower of Supreme Power.)

Hail! with fearful spell "tu-re"
Banishing the bravest fiends,
By the mere frown of Thy brows,
Vanquishing whole hordes of foes!
etc., etc., etc., etc.

Telling the Rosary.

[Here is repeated on the rosary 108 times, or as often as possible, the spell or mantra of Tara, namely: Om! Ta-re-tu-ta-re tu-re Sva ha!

The mantra of Sita Tara is Om! Ta-re tu-ta-re ma-ma a-yur-pun-ye jna- na-push-tin ku-ru Sva-ha!

The rosary used in Sita Tara's worship is a Bodhitse, while Tara requires either a Bodhitse or turquoise one.34]

Prayers for Blessings.

We implore thee, O! Revered Victorious Bhagavati35 and Merciful One! to purify us and all other beings of the universe thoroughly from the two evil thoughts; and make us quickly attain the perfection of Buddhahood. If we cannot attain this perfection within a few life cycles, then grant us the highest earthly and heavenly happiness and all knowledge. And preserve us, we beseech Thee, from evil spirits, plague, disease, untimely death, bad dreams, bad omens, and all the eight fears and accidents. And in our passage through this world grant unto us the most perfect bliss, beyond possibility of increase, and may all our desires be realized without exertion on our part.

Let the holy religion prosper. And in whatever place we dwell, we beg thee to soothe there disease and poverty, fighting and disputes, and increase the Holy Religion.

And may Thy benign36 face always beam on us and appear large like the waxing moon in forwarding our heart's desire of admission to the heavenly circle and Nirvana.

Let us obtain the favourite gods37 of our former lives and entry into the prophesied paradise of the Buddhas of the past, present and future!


Now! O! Thou! The Great Worker!
Thou Quick Soother and Gracious Mother,
Holding the uptal flower!
Let Thy glory come. Mangalam!38

The offering of the universe as a so-called "magic-circle" is an essential part of the daily service of the Lamas, and has been described in the previous chapter.

The following hymn in praise of the Three Holy Ones is recited at noon with the presentation of the offering of rice.

Hymn to the Three Holy Ones.

OM! Salutation to the Omniscient Ones! Buddha, The Law and The Church!

Salutation to Buddha Bhagavan, the Victorious and All-wise Tatha-gata Arhat, who has gone to happiness!

He is the guide of gods and men!
He is the root of virtue.
He is the fountain of all treasure.
He is adorned with perfect endurance.
He is adorned with all-beauty.
He is the greatest flower of all the race.
He is admirable in all his actions.
He is admirable in the eyes of all.
He delights in the faithful ones.
He is The Almighty Power.
He is The Universal Guide.
He is The Father of all the Bodhisats.
He is The King of all the revered Ones.
He is The Leader of all the dead.
He owns infinite knowledge.
He owns immeasurable fortitude.
His commands are all-perfect.
His melodious voice is all-pleasing.
He is without equal.
He is without desires.
He is without evil.
He delivers all from sorrow.
He delivers all from sin.
He is free from worldliness.
His senses are the sharpest.
He bravely cuts all knots.
He delivers all from deepest misery.
He delivers all from this woeful world.
He has crossed the ocean of misery.
He is perfect in fore-knowledge.
He knows the past, present and future.
He lives far from death.
He lives in the pure blissful land where, enthroned, he sees all beings!

Salutation to the Holy Law! — (Dharma)

It was the virtue of the ancient times.
It was the virtue of the middle ages.
It is the virtue of the present hour.
It has excellent sense.
It has excellent words.
It is unalloyed Law.
It is all-perfect and illuminating.
It is the all-pure Law.
It is perfectly clear.
It is free from disorder.
It is everlasting.
It points the direct path.
It realizes the desires of all.
It benefits the wisest men.
The Law has been well ordered and taught in the Vinaya by Bha-gavan. It brings all to perfection! It fulfils all desires! It is an all-sufficient support, and it stops re-birth.

Salutation to The Assembly or Clergy (Sangha) of the Mahayana!
They live in peace.
They live in wisdom.
They live in truth.
They live in unison.
They merit respect.
They merit glory.
They merit the grandest gifts.
The goodness of Buddha is immeasurable!
The goodness of The Law is immeasurable!
And the goodness of The Clergy is immeasurable!
By planting our faith on The Immeasurable Ones we shall reap immeasurable fruit in the land of bliss.
Salutation to the Tathagata! The Merciful Patron, the omniscient Guide, the ocean of knowledge and glory.
Salutation to the softening Dharma! the pure gift of the heart, the deliverer from evil, and the best of Truth.
Salutation to the Assembly! the deliverer, and guide to the true faith, the teacher of pure wisdom, and the possessor of the holy knowledge for cultivating the (human) soil.
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Re: The Buddhism of Tibet, or Lamaism With Its Mystic Cults

Postby admin » Thu Jan 23, 2020 6:52 am

Part 2 of 2

The "Refuge-Formula" of the Lamas.

The "Refuge-formula" of the Lamas, which I here translate, well illustrates the very depraved form of Buddhism professed by the majority of Lamas; for here we find that the original triple Refuge-formula (Skt., Trisarana; Pali, Saranagamana) in the Three Holies, the Triratna— Buddha, The Word, and The Assembly — has been extended so as to comprise the vast host of deities, demons and deified saints of Tibet, as well as many of the Indian Mahayana and Yogacarya saints.  

The version here translated is that used by the Kar-ma-pa and Nin-ma sects of Lamas, but it is practically the same as that in general use in Tibet, except among the reformed Lamas of the established church — who address a less extensive circle of saints and demons, and who substitute St. Tson-K'a-pa for St. Padma- sambhava. It is extracted from the manual of worship entitled the sKyabs-'gro, commonly pronounced "Kyamdo,"39 which literally means "the going for protection or refuge"; and its text is as follows: —

"We — all beings — through the intercession of the Lama,40 go for refuge to Buddha!

"We go for refuge to Buddha's Doctrine (Dharma)!

"We go for refuge to the Assembly of the Lamas (Sangha)!41

"We go for refuge to the Host of the Gods and their retinue of tutelaries and she-devils, the defenders of the Religion, who people the sky!

"We go for refuge to the victorious Lamas, who have descended from heaven, the holders of Wisdom and the Tantras!

"We go for refuge to the Buddhas of the Ten Directions, and to the primordial Samantabhadra. Buddha with his spouse!"

Then the following deities and saints are addressed as refuges: The Incarnate Sambhoga-kaya, the Mild and Angry Loving One the Nirmana-kaya Maha Vajradhara; the Diamond-souled Guide — Vajrasatva; the Jina — the Victorious Sakya Muni; the most pleasing Vajra Incarnate; the Fierce Holder of the Thunderbolt — Vajra-pani; the Goddess-Mother, Marici Devi; the Learned Teacher, Acarya-Manjusri; the Great Pantdita Sri Sinha; the Jina Suda; the Great Pandita Bimala Mitra; the Incarnate Lotus-born Dharmakaya Padma-sambhava; (his wife) the Fairy of the Ocean of Fore-knowledge; the Religious King, Thi-Sron-deu-Tsan; the Noble Apocalypse-Finder, Myan-ban; the Teacher's disciple, the Victorious Sthavira Dang ma: the Reverend Sister, the Lady Sinheswara; the Incarnate Jina "Zhang- ton"; the Guru, clever above thousands; the Religious Lord (Dharma- natha) Guru Jo-Ber; the Illusive Lion Gyaba; the Great Siddhi, the Clearer of the Misty moon — grub-ch'en zla-wa-mun-sel; the Sage Kumaraja; the Prince, Bimala Bhaskara; the renowned Gandrakirti; the Three Incarnate Kind Brothers; the Bodhisat, The noble Ocean; the Incarnate Sage, the Holder of the religious vajra; the Entirely accomplished and renowned Speaker; the Great Teacher Mahaguru Dharmaraja; the Revelation-Finder T'ig-po-lin; the Religious King of Accomplished Knowledge42; the Banner of Obtained Wisdom; the Peerless active Vajra; the Radical (Skt.. Mula) Lama Asoka;43 the Lama of the Mula Tantra of the Three Times; the Sage, the Accomplished Soul; the Religious Loving King, the Holder of the Doctrines44; the Reverend Abbot, the Sky Vajra; the Noble Jewelled Soul — "Pal- zan"; the Assembly of Mild and Angry tutelary Deities; the Holy Doctrine of the Great End — Mahotpanna!

"We go for refuge to the Male and Female Saints of the Country!

"O! Lama! Bless us as You have been blessed. Bless us with the blessings of the Tantras! —

"We beg You to bless us with OM, which is the (secret) Body. We beg You to purify our sins and pollutions of the body. We beg You to increase our happiness without any sickness of the body. We beg You to give us the real undying gift of bodily life!

"We beg You to bless us with AH, which is the (secret of the) Speech. We beg You to purify the sins and pollution of our Speech. We beg You to give us the power of Speech. We beg You to confer on us the gift of perfect and victorious Speech!

"We beg You to bless us with HUM (pronounced "hum") which is the (secret) Thought. We beg You to purify the pollution and sins of our Mind. We beg You to give us good understanding. We beg you to give us the real gift of a pure heart. We beg You to empower us with The Four Powers (of the heart)!

"We pray You to give us the gifts of the True Body, Speech, and Mind.45 Om! Ah! Hum!

"O! Give us such blessing as will clear away the sins and defilement of bad deeds!

"We beg You to soften the evils of bad causes!

"We beg You to bless us with the prosperity of our body (i.e., health)!

"Bless us with mental guidance!

"Bless us with Buddhahood soon!

"Bless us by cutting us off from (worldly) illusions!

"Bless us by putting us in the right path!

"Bless us by causing us to understand all things (religious)!

"Bless us to be useful to each other with kindliness!

"Bless us with the ability of doing good and delivering the animal beings (from misery)!

"Bless us to know ourselves thoroughly!

"Bless us to be mild from the depths of our heart!

"Bless us to be brave as Yourself!

"Bless us with the Tantras as You Yourself are blessed!"

"Now! we — the innumerable animal beings — conceiving that (through the efficacy of the above dharanis and prayers, we have become pure in thought like Buddha himself; and that we are working for the welfare of the other animal beings; we, therefore, having now acquired the qualities of the host of the Gods, and the roots of the Tantras, the Z'i-wa, rGyas-pa, dBan and P'rin-las, we desire that all the other animal beings be possessed of happiness, and be freed from misery! Let us — all animals! — be freed from lust, anger, and attachment to worldly affairs, and let us perfectly understand the true nature of The Religion!

"Now! O! Father-Mother — Yab-yum — the Dharmakaya Samanta- bhadra! The Sambhogakaya Santi Khrodaprasaraka, mild and angry Loving Ones! The Nirmana-kaya, Sages of the skull-rosary! And the Mula-tantra Lama! I now beg You all to depart!

"O! Ghosts of Heroes! Witches! Demoniacal Defenders of The Faith! The holy Guardians of the Commandments! And all those that we invited to this place! I beg You all now to depart!!

"O! most powerful King of the Angry Deities! The powerful Isvara, and the host of the Country Guardian Gods! And all those others that we invited to this place, with all their retinue! I beg You all now to depart!!! May glory come! Tashi-shok! and Virtue! Ge-o! Sarva-mangalam!"

The Magic-Circle Tabernacle
1. Chart or Mosaic.
2. Cakes.
3. Umbrella.
4. Banners

Confession of Sins.

The Confession of Sins46 is done twice a month in public assembly, in presence of the abbot and senior monks. It is no proper confession, only a stereotyped form chanted in chorus. The full form is practically the same as in southern Buddhism.47 The shortest form is here given: —

"I here confess the sins which I may have committed by the body, speech and mind, and through lust, anger and stupidity.

"Listen to me, O! great Vajra-holdmg Lamas48 and all the Buddhas and Bodhisats of the ten directions! I repent of all the sinful acts which I have committed from the time of my birth up to the present, such as: committing the ten unvirtuous deeds and the five waverings, transgressing the vows of deliverance, the teachings of the Bodhisats, the vows of the secret mantras, irreverence, and want of faith in The Three Rarest Ones, irreverence and want of faith in the abbots and teachers; separation from the holy religion and the best commands; want of reverence to the revered clergy; want of reverence to parents, and want of reverence to one's faithful fellow-mortals. In short, I here confess to all the Vajra-holding Lamas, the Buddhas and Bodh-isats of the ten directions, all the sins which hinder my reaching the heaven of deliverance; and I promise never again to commit these sins."

There are also numerous rites on the same lines or by magic-circles, posturing and mummery, for obtaining supernatural powers and for purposes of sorcery. Some of these latter I have abstracted in the chapter on necromancy.

Of special celebrations it will suffice to refer only to one of the most interesting, which some Europeans who witnessed its pompous and solemn service, have compared to the Christian Eucharist.

The "Eucharist" OF Lamaism.49

This Lamaist liturgy, the celebration of which is pictured as the frontispiece, on account of its dispensation of consecrated wine and bread, has been compared by Huc and others to the Christian Eucharist, although it is in reality, as here shown, a ceremony for gratifying the rather un-Buddhistic craving after long earthly life. Still, it nevertheless presents many parallels to the Christian rite for conferring on the worthy recipient "the life everlasting."

It is entitled "The Obtaining of (long) Life,"50 and is a very good sample of the Lamaist blending of Buddhists' ideas with demon-worship. It seems to incorporate a good deal of the pre-Lamaist ritual, and its benedictions and sprinkling of holy water are suggestive of Nestorian or still later Christian influences.

The Eucharist of Lamaism

This sacrament is celebrated with much pomp at stated periods, on a lucky day, about once a week in the larger temples, and attracts numerous votaries. Crowds throng to the temple to receive the coveted blessing. Its benefits are more particularly sought in cases of actual illness, and when death seems imminent; but every village must have it performed at least once a year for the life of the general community, and after its performance any prolongation of life is credited to this service: while a fatal result is attributed to the excessive misdeeds of the individual in his last life or in previous births.

The chief god addressed is Buddha Amitayus or Aparamita,51 "The (god of) infinite Life," or "The Eternal." Unlike the Chinese Buddhists the Lamas never confuse Amitabha the Buddha of infinite Light) with his reflex Amitayus; they represent these differently, and credit them with different functions. The other gods specially identified with life-giving powers are "The five long-Life Sisters,52 mountain nymphs presiding over the everlasting snows, and to a less degree the white Tara, and Ushnisharani; and even Varna, the Lord of Death himself, may occasionally be propitiated into delaying the day of death.

The priest who conducts this ceremony for propitiation of Amitayus and the other gods of longevity must be of the purest morals, and usually a total abstainer from meat and wine. He must have fasted during the greater part of the twenty four hours preceding the rite, have repeated the mantras of the life-giving gods many times, 100,000 times if possible, and he must have secured ceremonial purity by bathing. The rite also entails a lot of other tasks tor the preparation of the consecrated pills and the arrangement of utensils, etc., and extends over two or three days.

The arrangements are as follows: —

Upon an altar, under the brocaded dragon-canopy, within the temple or in a tent outside, are placed the following articles: —

1. Las-bum, the ordinary altar water-vase.
2. Ti-bum, the vase with pendant mirror and containing water tinged with saffron.
3. dBan-bum. the "empowering vase" with the chaplet of the Five Jinas.
4. Ts'e-bum, the "vase of Life," special to Amitayus, with a banner of peacock's feathers and sacred Kusa-grass.
5. Ts'e-chan, or "the wine of Life," consisting of beer in a skull-bowl.
6. Ts'e-ril, or the "pills of Life," made of flour, sugar and butter.
7. Chi-mar, or wafers of flour and butter and rice.
8. mDah-dar, or sacred divining-dagger with silk tassels.
9. rdor-jehi gzun t'ag, or the divining-bolt, a vajra or thunderbolt-sceptre with eight ridges to which a string is attached.

In the preliminary worship the pills are made from buttered dough, and the ambrosia or amrita (Tib., dud-tsi or "devil's juice") is brewed from spirit or beer, and offered in a skull-bowl to the great image of Buddha Amitayus. Everything being ready and the congregation assembled, the priest, ceremonially pure by the ascetic rites above noted,53 and dressed as in the frontispiece, abstracts from the great image of Buddha Amitayus part of the divine essence of that deity, by placing the vajra of his rdor-jehi gzun-t'ag upon the nectar-vase which the image of Amitayus holds in his lap, and applying the other end to his own bosom, over his heart. Thus, through the string, as by a telegraph wire, passes the divine spirit, and the Lama must mentally conceive that his heart is in actual union with that of the god Amitayus, and that, for the time being, he is himself that god.54 Then he invokes his tutelary-fiend, and through him the fearful horse- necked Hayayriva (Tamdin), the king of the demons. The Lama, with this divine triad (namely, the Buddha and the two demon kings) incorporate in him, and exhibiting the forms of all three to spiritual eyes, now dispenses his divine favours. He takes up the Las-bum-vase and consecrates its contents, saying,

"Om! namo Tathagata Ablii-kkita samayasriri hum! Nama candra vajra krodha Amrita hum phat!"

Then he sprinkles some of the water on the rice-offerings (gtor-ma) to the evil spirits, saying, "I have purified it with svabhava, and converted it into an ocean of nectar within a precious Bhum-bowl. Om akaromu-kham! Sarva dharma nantyanutpanna tatto! Om! A! Hum! phat! Svaha! I now desire to bestow the deepest life-power on these people before me; therefore, I beg you demons to accept this cake-offering, and depart without doing further injury."

Here the Lama, assuming the threatening aspect of the demon-kings, who are, for the time being, in his body, adds, "Should you refuse to go, then I, who am the most powerful Hayagriva and the king of the angry demons, will crush you — body, speech and mind — to dust! Obey my mandate and begone, each to his abode, otherwise you shall suffer. Om sumbhani," etc. Now, the Lamas and the people, believing that all the evil spirits have been driven away by the demon-king himself, shout, "The gods have won! the devils are defeated!"

The Lama then proceeds to secure for himself the benedictory power of life-conferring. He first meditates on "the guardian-deities," murmuring thus: "The upper part (of the divine abode) is of thunderbolt tents and hangings; the lower part of earth-foundation and adamantine-seat; and the walls are of thunderbolts. The entire building is a great tent, protected by precious charms, so that the evil spirits can neither destroy it, nor can they gain entry. Om! vajra rakhya rakhya sutra tikhtha vajraye svaha!"

Then the magic-circle (mandala) is offered up, saying: —

"If I fail to refer to the successive Lama-saints, my words and deeds will count for nothing. Therefore must I praise the holy Lamas to secure their blessing towards the realization of my plans, O holy Padmasambhava55 in you are concentrated all the blessings of the present, past and future! You are the Buddha of the great final Perfection (Maha-utpanna) who beheld the Face of Lord Amitayus. O Saint possessed of the gift of undying life, of life lasting till the worlds of re-births are emptied! You hid away from us, in the snowy regions, the revelation upon the true essence of the five hundred 'Obtainings of Life.' The one which we now perform is 'the iron palace of the attainment of life' (Tse-grub lc'ags-kyi-pho-bran), and is extracted from dKon- mch'og-spyi-'dus. It was discovered by the saint 'Dsah-Ts'on-snin-po in the cave where you hid it; and this mode of endowering a person with life has come down to me through many generations of saints. Now, O Lord Amitayus and the host of radiant gods! I beg you to sustain the animal beings, vast as the starry host, who now, with great reverence and praise, approach you. Om a hum! O holy shrine of our refuge! Hri."56 Hosts of the Bright World of Light! Pad-ma t'od-phren-rtsal-vajrasamayaja siddhi phala hum!"

Then here is repeated "Ts'e-'gug" or "The Invoking of Life," thus:

"O Lord Amitayus, residing in the five shrines whence glittering rays shoot forth! O! Gandharva in the west! Yama in the south! Naga raja in the west! Yaksha in the north! Brahma and Indra in the upper regions! and Nanda and Taksha in the lower regions! And especially all the Buddhas and Bodhisatwas! I beg you all to bless me and to gratify my wishes by giving me the gift of undying life and by softening all the injuries of the harmful spirits. I entreat you to grant life and implore you to cause it to come to me. Hri! I beg your blessing, O Buddhas of the three times. (Dipankara, Sakya Muni and Maitreya).

At this stage the celestial Buddhas, Bodhisats, and other gods are now supposed to have consecrated the fluid in the vase and transformed it into immortal ambrosia. Therefore the priest intones the following chant to the music of cymbals: "This Vase is filled with the immortal ambrosia which the Five celestial Classes have blessed with the best Life. May life be permanent as adamant, victorious as the king's banner. May it be strong like the eagle (Gyun-drun) and last for ever. May I be favoured with the gift of undying life, and all my wishes be realized.

"Buddha! Vajra! Ratna! Padma! Karma, Kapalamala. Hri maharinisaayu siddhi phala hum! Om A Hum vajra Guru Padma siddhi ayukke Hum nija!"

The priest now bestows his blessing as the incarnate Amitayus as well as the other gods of longevity, by laying-on of hands, and he distributes the consecrated water and food to the assembled multitude. When the crowd is great, the votaries file past the holy Lama. In smaller congregations the Lama, with the Ti-bum vase in hand, walks along the rows of kneeling worshippers near the temple door, and pours a few drops of the holy fluid into the hands of each votary. With the first few drops the worshipper rinses his mouth, and with the next few drops he anoints the crown of his head, and the third few drops are reverently swallowed.

Then the Lama brings the vase of Life and places it for an instant on the bowed head of each of the kneeling votaries, reciting the spell of Amitayus (Om Amarani jivantiyi svaha), which all repeat. Then the Lama touches the head of each one with the power-conferring vase; and afterwards, in similar manner, with the divining-dagger, saying: "The life which you now have obtained is unfailing like the vajra-armour. Receive it with reverence! As the vajra is unchangeable, so now is your life. Vajra rakhya rakhya svaha! Worship Amitayus, the god of boundless Life, the chief of all world-rulers! May his glory come, with virtue and all happiness." And all the people shout, "Glory and all-happiness!"

Each worshipper now receives from the skull-bowl a drop of the sacred wine, which he piously swallows; and each also receives three of the holy pills, the plateful of which had been consecrated by the touch of the Lama. These pills must be swallowed on the spot. They are represented as beads upon the vase which the image of the god of Infinite Life holds in his lap.

The Lama then takes a seat on a low throne, and the votaries file past him offering him a scarf and any money presents they may have to make: the majority pay in grain, which is piled up outside the door of the temple. Each then receives a benediction from the Lama, who places his hand on their heads and repeats the spell of Amitayus, and on its conclusion he throws over their shoulder a knotted white scarf (Tsim-tu from a heap of consecrated scarves lying at his side. The colours of the scarves are white for the laity and red for the priests.

Other ceremonies for prolonging life, especially resorted to in severe sickness, are "The Saving from Death" ('ch'i-bslu); the "Ransoming of another's Life'' (srog-bslu); Substitution-offering to the devils of an effigy of the patient, or as a sacrifice for sin (Ku-rim57) as in the illustration given on the opposite page; Libation of wine to the demons (gSer-skyems); gyal-gsol, etc. All of these services are more or less mixed up with demonolatry.

Numerous other ceremonies have already been referred to in other chapters, such as the "Water Baptism" ("Tui-Sol"),58 "The Calling for Luck" (Yan-gug),59 etc.. "The Continued Fast" (Nun-gnas).60

A Guilt-Offering at Tankar.61

The rites for the attainment of supernatural powers, and for downright demonolatry, are detailed in the chapter on sorcery and necromancy. And it is evident that the Lamas or professing Buddhists are conscious of the unorthodoxy of these practices, for the so-called reformed Lamas, the Ge-lug-pa, do their demoniacal worship mostly after dark.



1 For instance, as in the Scotch highlands, "to make the deazil" or walk thrice in  the direction of the sun's course around those whom they wish well (Gobdon-Cuming,  From the Hebrides to the Himalayas, ii., 164); We also follow the same rule in passing  decanters round our dinner-tables; and it is the direction in which cattle tread out  the corn. — Cf. Pradakshina, p. 287.
2 Hardy's East. Mon., 216.

3 "After the conclusion of the perahera in the month of Ehala [July] in the god's temples) the officers, etc., engaged in it, including the elephants, have ceremonies for the conciliation of lesser divinities and evil spirits performed, called Balibat-netima, Garayakun-netima, and Waliyakun-netima. The Balibat-netima is a devil dance performed for five days after the perahera by a class of persons, named Balibat Gammehela, superior to the Yakdesso or devil-dancers." -- Report of Service Tenure Commissioners, Ceylon, 1872, p. 60-82.

4 After Giorgi.

5 Cf. Huc, ii., 50.
6 At Si-ngan-fu, near the eastern border of Tibet, is an edict stone, erected by the Chinese emperor Tetsung, 780-783 A.D., which contains an account of the arrival of the missionary Olopan (probably a, Chinese form of Rabban-monk) from Tat'sin (Roman empire), in the year equivalent to A.D. 635, bringing sacred books and images; of the translation of the said books; of the imperial approval of the doctrine, and permission to teach it publicly. There follows a decree of the emperor Taitsung, a very famous prince, issued in 638 in favour of the new doctrine, and ordering a church to be built in the square of Peace and Justice at the capital. The emperor's portrait was to be placed in the church (in the royal garden of Inifan). Kaotsung (650-683, the devout patron also of the Buddhist traveller Hiuen Tsiang) continued to favour it. — See Yule in Marco Polo, ii., 23, where a photograph of the inscription is given. The edict also states (Kircher's China Illustrata) that in the years 699 and 713, the Bonzes, or Buddhist idolatrous priests, raised a tumult against the Christians, which was quelled by order of the emperor Yven-Sun-ci-tao.

The Muhammadan traveller, Abu Zeid al Hassan, writing in the ninth century (Renaudot's transl., Lond., 1733, p. 42), states that "thousands of Christians" were massacred in S. W. China.

In the twelfth century Jenghiz Khan and his successors were well inclined to Christianity; his principal wife was the daughter of king Ung Khan, who was a Christian.

In the thirteenth century Marco Polo found in the north of Yunnan a few Nestorian Christians.— Yule, M.P., ii., 52.

"In 1246," writes Huc (Chinese Empire, i., p. 141), "Plan-Carpin was sent to the great Khan of the Tartars by pope Innocent the Fourth. At Khara Khoroum, the capital of the Mongols, he saw, not far from the palace of the sovereign, an edifice on which was a little cross; 'then,' says he, 'I was at the height of joy, and supposing that there must be some Christians there, I entered, and found an altar magnificently adorned; there were representations of the Saviour, the Holy Virgin, and John the Baptist, and a large silver cross, with pearls and other ornaments in the centre: and a lamp with eight jets of light burned before the altar. In the sanctuary was seated an Armenian monk of swarthy complexion, very thin, wearing nothing but a coarse tunic reaching only down to the middle of his leg, and a black mantle fastened with iron clasps.'"

And in 1386 letters reached pope benedict XII. from several Christian Alans holding high office at the court of Cambaluc, in which they conveyed their urgent request tor the nomination of an archbishop in succession to the deceased John of Monte Corvino. John Marignalli says of these Alans that in his day there were 30,000 of them at the great Khan's service, and all at least nominally Christians. — Yule, M.P., ii , 164

And in the fourteenth century, still before Tsong Khopa's era, not only were missionaries of the Roman church established in the chief cities of China, but a regular trade was carried on overland between Italy and China by way of Tana, Astracan, Otrar, and Kamul. — Yule's Marco Polo, i., 135; Conf. also The Nestoriars and their Rituals, by Dr. Badger.[/b][/size]
7 The Svaha, etc., are held to mean knowledge (Yon-ton) and a kind of Karma  ('p'rin-las), and the five syllables are mystically given the following colours from  above downwards: white, red, blue, yellow and green.
8 Tib., Yan-lag-bdun.

9 In the Hindu worship of a deity there are sixteen stages of ceremonial adoration following on the Invocation to come (avahan), and the Invitation to be seated (asan), and in each stage mantras are chanted. I have italicized those stages which are found in the above Lamaist ritual:—

1. Padya, washing the idol's feet.
2. Azgha, washing the idol's hands.
3. Achmana, offering water to rinse mouth.

The Lamas dress and bathe their idols only once or twice a year

4. Snana, bathing the the idol.
5. Vastra, dressing the idol.
6. Chandan, offering sandal wood, saffron, or holi powder. 
7. Akshat, offering rice.
8. Pushpa, offering flowers.
9. Dhupa, offering incense.
10. Dipa, offering lamp.
11. Naividya, offering food.
12. Achmana, second offering of water to rinse mouth.
13. Tambula, offering betel.
14. Supari or puga, offering Areca nuts.
15. Dakshana, offering money.
16. Nizajan, waving lights or camphor.

It may also be compared with the Jaina ritual by Dr. J. Burgess, Indian Antiquary, i., 357, etc.

10 Another enumeration gives: 1, Salutation; 2, Offering; 3, Confession of sins (sdig-'s'ags); 4, Rejoicing (yid-rangs); 5, Exhortation ('skul-wa); 6, Prayers for temporal and other blessings (gsol-gdeb); 7, Prayers for spiritual blessing (bsno-ba).

11 Ner-spyod mch'od-pa.

1. Ar-gham (in Tibetan co-yon), or excellent drinking river water.
2. Pa dyam (Tib., zab-sel [a]), or the cool water for washing feet.
3. Pukh-pe (Tib., me-tok [ b]), flower.
4. Dhu-pe (Tib., du-po), incense fumes.
5. A-loke (Tib., snan-gsal [c]), lamp.
6. Gan-dhe (Tib., ti-chab), perfumed water for anointing body.
7. Nai-vi-dya (Tib., zal-ze [d]), sacred food.
8. Shabta (Tib., rol-mo [e]), cymbals.

This order is reversed in established church and Kar-gyu-pa temples when doing a certain kind of tutelary deity's worship. The Lamaist account of the history of these offerings, is that each was offered to Buddha by some celestial or other person, namely:—

Ar-gham.— Indra, the king of gods, offered this, the water of eight-fold virtues, to the Buddha for general use.

Pa dyam.— gTsug-na-rin-ch'en, the king of the Nagas, offered z'abs-gsil, the purifying water, to the Buddha for washing his feet.

Pukh-pe — Ganga Devi, the fiendess, offered a flower-rosary to the Buddha for decorating his head.

Dhu-pe. — "The glorious Kheu," the incense-seller, offered sweet-smelling incense to the Buddha.

A-loke.— The gold-handed king offered the darkness-clearing light for invigorating his eyes.
Gan-dhe. — Zur-phud-lnga-pa, the King of Gandarvas, offered Dri-ch'al, the soothing scent, to the Buddha for refreshing his body.

Nai-wi-dya. — Mgon-Anatha-med-danu athara data zas-sbyin (the lordless+food+ give) the house-owner, offered the food of hundred tastes to the Buddha for supporting his health.

Shapta. — The divine and Naga-smiths offered Gsil-snyan, the pleasant music, to the Buddha for cheering his ears. The Buddha blessed each of the offerings, and since then they are considered sacred.

a. mch'od yon.
b. z'abs g-sil.
c. dug-spos.
d. dri-ch'ab. e. zal-zas.
13 See p. 297.

14 The flowers most commonly used for this purpose at Lhasa and sold in booths near the temples, are the common marigold (Calendula — Tib., gur-Kum me-tog), and white and blue asters (skal-bzan), and hollyhocks.

15 See annexed figure for the block containing these metals (named Rin-ch'en brdar-ru, [or p'yema]); the metals are usually gold, silver, copper, brass and iron.

16 Na-mo ratnatrayaya! Sumo Bhagawate vajra sara foramardu Tathagataya arhate samayagasa budhhaya! Tadyatha! Om Vajra Vajra! Mahabodhisattva Vajre! Mahabodhimandop asam Kramana Vajra! Sarbo karma awarana bigodhana vajraswaha!

This mantra invites all the Jinas and their (celestial) sons). Om! Namo bhagawate puhpe ketu rajaya! Tathagataya! Arhate samayaka san Budhaya! Tadyatha! Om! puhpe puhpe swaha! puhpesu puhpesu puhpesudbhawe! puhpe awakarane swaha! This should be repeated seven times, after which the magic-circle and food grains should be offered. When the lamp is offered, the following should be repeated: --

"I arrange this lamp with great reverence, and offer it to the Buddha, the Law, and the Order. Through the power of this virtuous deed, let me be possessed of illuminating knowledge, and let the animal beings be cleared of the misty impurities which surrounds them."

Then he must rise up, and joining his hands in devotional attitude, chant "The Invitation": —

"I beg you O Patrons of the animal beings! Demon-vanquishing gods! Jinas and your retinues! to approach this humble dwelling. I beg you, merciful owners of miracles, to approach this humble dwelling and receive these offerings."

[Then holding hands horizontally, bow down and say.—] "I bow down before the Lamas of the three times and of the ten directions, and before the precious Three Holy Ones with greatest reverence and oceans of praise." Om! Namo Manjusriye! Namassee Shriye! Namo uttamshriyesloaha! [bow down at once at each recitation of this mantra].

The Presentation of offerings: "I here offer up all the most excellent offerings of holy drinking water, foot-washing water, flowers, incense, lamp, scented toilet water, food and music, which I have here arranged in full, to you with all my heart.

"I confess all my past sins and repent of all my sinful deeds. I beg you to bless me with mahabodhi, so that I may turn the wheel of the Law and be useful to all the animal beings.

"I have here arranged the flowers on the pure soil of incense, and the Mt. Meru, decked with sun, moon, and the four continents, all of which I offer up to the Buddhas with my whole heart.

"May all the animal beings be blessed with perfection and purity, and be born in brighter regions. Idam Guru ratna mandala kam niryata yami! [Then offer up the magic-circle in suitable manner, for description of which see previous chapter, and continue.]

"May my Lama, tutelary deity and the Holy Ones, and the potent Maha-Vajradhara remain inseparably with the Kumuda flower.

"May all the animal beings be freed from re-births by being born into the pure regions.

"May I be endowed with firm resolve and ability to rescue animal beings from the worlds of woe.

"May I be endowed with an unfailing ocean of knowledge to enable me to advance the holy religion among both orthodox and heterodox.

"May my misty ignorance be cleared by the bright rays of Manjusri from on high.

"May my desires lie all realized through the grace of the Jinas and their celestial sons, and the auspicious breath of the Supreme Ones.
17 Cf. Huc, ii.. 12; Rockhill, L., 70.
18 bsKan-gso.
19 The Ge-lug-pa manual says:—

The advantages to the chanter of the above service are that: His wishes will be all realized; wealth and luck will increase according to his wishes; he will obtain power, and all his sins will be blotted out; he will subject the evil spirits and will duly perform charity, and the preta will obtain deliverance by being re-born in the heavens, and he himself will also obtain heaven, and it has been said that he will ultimately obtain Buddhahood.

The burnt-offering of incense, analogous to the Vedic Homa, but specially intended for demons, includes by name the Tan-ma and other Tibetan fiends. It is a mixture of incense and butter heated to ignition on coals. The celebration is detailed above. Cf. also Schlag., p. 249; Jaesch., p. 210, for kinds of cakes.

20 dGe-slon-gi dus dran.

21 East Mon., 24, and also "the Daily Manual of the Shaman" of the Chinese. Beal's Catena, 239.

22 Cf. Koppen, ii., 228.

23 Although the instruments are wielded with great clamour, each is manipulated strictly according to rule. Thus with the cymbals, at the word Argham the cymbals are held horizontally and struck with mid-finger erect. On Pargham, held below waist and the upper cymbal is made to revolve along the rim of the lowest, etc., etc.
24 La-mai-gsol-'debs.

25 See p. 429.

26 Abstracted by me in considerable detail in J.R.A.S., 1894, p. 68, etc.

27 The book is entitled "sGrol-ma dkar snon-gyi bstod-pa gzuns," or " The praise and spells (Dharani) of The Pure Original Tara." And in some editions she is termed "Mother of the Jinas" (rgyal-yum), also "Mother of the Tathagathas." The manual extends to thirty-eight or forty pages of five lines each. The greater portion, including "The Exhortation" and "The Hymn," is alleged internally to have been composed by "The great Vairocana-Buddha of the Ultimate Perfection" [dsog,-pai sans-rgyas rnam  par snan-mdsad ch'en-po] and usually interpreted by the Lamas as referring to  Vairochana, the first of the mythical Jina-Buddhas; but it may probably be the Kashmir Monk Vairocana, of the "Great Ultimate Perfection (Maha-utpanna)" form of the  Buddhist doctrine, who lived in the eighth century A.D., and a noted translator of  Sanskrit Scriptures into the Tibetan. An appendix is signed by Gedun Dub The  Grand Lama, who built Tashi-lhunpo monastery circa 1445 A.D.
28 The polymorphism already referred to.

29 Kama, Rupa, and Arupa.

30 As this hymn is so popular amongst Lamaist people in Tibet, Sikhim, etc., I give here in the Lhasa dialect its second stanza, which is the proper commencement of the hymn, in order to show its metre.

Ch'ag ts'al | Do-ma | nur-ma | pamo | Ch'en-ni | ke-c'ig | log-tan | ta-ma | Jig-ten | sum gon | c'u kye | z'al-gyi | Ke-sar'| c'e-wa | le-ni | jun-ma |.
31 rgyal-wa = Sanskrit Jina.

32 This is a portion of Tara's spell, for which see over page.

33 Mystic spells used by wizards — phat means break or smash!
34 But see page 206 for details on "Lamaist Rosaries."

35 bc'om-ldan-'das-ma, pronounced "chom-den-de-ma."

36 In contradistinction to "fury-face" (khro-bo; Skt. krodha).

37 sGrub-bahi-lha.  

38 bgra-shis shok, pronounced "Ta-shi-sho."
39 Contributed to Ind. Antiq. 1893.

40 It is a Lamaist axiom, as already noted, that no layman can address the Buddhas except through the medium of a Lama.

41 The Ge-lug-pa formula begins thus: bdag sogs nam-mkah dan mnams-pai sems- c'an t'ams-c'ad bLa-ma la skyabs su mch'io, Sans-rgyas-kyi skyabs-su mch'io Ch'os- kyi skyabs su mch'io, dGe-'dun-gyi skyabs su-mch'io.
42 The first Bhotiya king of Sikhim, circ. 1650 A.D.

43 This may be a reference to the great emperor Asoka, or his confessor Upagupta, the fourth patriarch of the early Buddhist church in India, or it may be only the title of a Lama. Several also of the foregoing titles which I have translated are proper names.

44 The sixth Bhotiya king of Sikhim, circ. 1770-90 A.D.
45 This triad refers to the mystic Yoga or union of "The three secrets," which the  Japanese call, San-mitsu-so-o.
46 gso-byon. See pages 323 and 501; and cf. Schlagintweit, p. 123.

47 Cf . Pratimoksha sutra, "The Book of Deliverance" and its Tibetan version, trans, by Rockhill.

48 Probably mythical Buddha, Vajradhara.
49 In the Asiatic Quarterly, 1894, part of this article was published by me.

50 Tib. Ts'e-grub.
51 Tib., Ts'e-pag-med.

52 Ts'e-rin-che-na.
53 He usually wears a mantle (stod-gyog), on which are embroidered mystic Chinese emblems of luck, including the Bat, etc. See pp. 394, 396.

54 In southern Buddhism is found a very similar instance of ceremonial union with a Buddhist fetish. At the pirit (paritta) celebration "a sacred thread, called the pirit nula, is fastened round the interior of the building, the end of which, after being fastened to the reading platform, is placed near the relic (of Buddha). At such times as the whole of the priests who are present engage in chanting in chorus, the cord is untwined, and each priest takes hold of it, thus making the communication complete between each of the officiating priests, the relic, and the interior walls of the building." -- Hardy's E. Monachism, p. 241.
55 A Lama of the established church would usually invoke St. Tson-K'a-pa, and the subsequent prayer would be slightly different.

56 The Vija-mantra of Avalkcita and Amitabha.
57 sKu-rim; cf. Jaesch., D., 22; Giorgi's Alphab. Tib., p. 442; Rockhill's L., p. 114.

58 bKrus-gsol = ablution + to pray or entreat; see Schlagintweit, Budd., p. 239.

59 See p. 447: also Schlag., p. 264.

60 Schlag., p. 240.
61  After Rockhill.  
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Re: The Buddhism of Tibet, or Lamaism With Its Mystic Cults

Postby admin » Sat Jan 25, 2020 8:35 am


Geomantic Trigrams

"The mendicant does right to whom omens, planetary influences, dreams, and signs are things abolished; he is free from all their evils." Samma Paribbajaniya Sutta, 2.

LIKE most primitive people, the Tibetans believe that the planets and spiritual powers, good and bad, directly exercise a potent influence upon man's welfare and destiny, and that the portending machinations of these powers are only to be foreseen, discerned, and counteracted by the priests.

Such beliefs have been zealously fostered by the Lamas, who have led the laity to understand that it is necessary for each individual to have recourse to the astrologer-Lama or Tsi-pa on each of the three great epochs of life, to wit, birth, marriage, and death: and also at the beginning of each year to have a forecast of the year's ill-fortune and its remedies drawn out for them.

These remedies are all of the nature of rampant demonolatry for the appeasing or coercion of the demons of the air, the earth, the locality, house, the death-demon, etc.

Indeed, the Lamas are themselves the real supporters of the demonolatry. They prescribe it wholesale, and derive from it their chief means of livelihood at the expense of the laity.

Every large monastery has a Tsi-pa,1 or astrologer-Lama, recruited from the cleverest of the monks.

And the largest monasteries may have as astrologer a pupil of the great government oracle-Lama, the Ch'o-c'on.

The astrologer-Lamas have always a constant stream of persons coming to them for prescriptions as to what deities and demons require appeasing and the remedies necessary to neutralize these portending evils.

The nature of these prescriptions of worship will best be illustrated by a concrete example. But to render this intelligible it is necessary to refer, first of all, to the chronological nomenclature current in Tibet, as it is used for indicating the lucky and unlucky times, as well as much of the worship. And it will be seen to be more Chinese than Indian in nature. The Chinese calendar is said to have been introduced by king Sron Tsan's Chinese wife, but the first sixty-year cycle does not begin until 1026 A.D.2

The Tibetan system of reckoning time, derived from China and India, is based upon the twelve-year and sixty-year cycles of Jupiter.3 The twelve-year cycle is used for short periods, and the particular year, as in the Chinese style, bears the name of one or other of the twelve cyclic animals: —

1. Mouse.
2. Ox.
3. Tiger.
4. Hare.
5. Dragon.
6. Serpent.
7. Horse.
8. Sheep.
9. Monkey
10. Bird.  
11. Dog
12. Hog.

And in the case of the sixty-year cycle these animals are combined with the five elements (namely: Wood, Fire, Earth, Iron, and Water), and each element is given a pair of animals, the first being considered male and the second female. I append a detailed list of the years of the current cycle as an illustration, and for reference in regard to the horoscopes which I shall translate presently.

The Tibetan Chronological Table.

The table here given differs from that of Schlagintweit (op. cit., p. 282) in making the initial year of the current sixty-year cycle, namely, the fifteenth cycle (Rab-jun), coincide with the year 1867 A.D., as this is alleged by the learned astrologer Lama of Darjiling to be the true epoch, and not the year 1866.


It is by giving a realistic meaning to these several animals and elements, after which the years are named, that the Lama-astrologers arrive at their endless variety of combinations of attraction and repulsion in regard to their casting of horoscopes and their prescriptions of the requisite worship and offerings necessary to counteract the evils thus brought to light. The animals are more or less antagonistic to each other, and their most unlucky combinations are as follows: —

Mouse and Horse.
Ox and Sheep.
Tiger and Monkey.
Hare and Bird.
Dragon and Dog.
Serpent and Hog.

Astrological Figures.4 (On the Tortoise.)

But it is with the five elements that the degrees of affinity and antagonism are most fully defined, according to certain more or less obvious inter-relations of the elements. The recognized degrees of relationship are: (1) mother, or greatest affection; (2) son, or neutrality; (3) friend, or mediocre affection, and (4) enemy or antagonism. The relationships of the elements are thus stated to be the following: —


Wood's mother is Water (for wood cannot grow without water).

Water's mother is Iron (for water-channels for irrigation cannot be made, and therefore water cannot come, without iron).

Iron's mother is Earth (for earth is the matrix in which iron is found).

Earth's mother is Fire (for earth is the ash-product of fire).

Fire's mother is Wood [for without wood (carbon) fire is not].


This is merely a reverse way of presenting the above details.

Wood's son is Fire Fire's son is Earth Earth's son is Iron Iron's son is Water Water's son is Wood


Wood's enemy is Iron (as Iron instruments cut down wood).

Iron's enemy is Fire (as fire melts iron and alters its shape).

Fire's enemy is Water (as water extinguishes fire).

Water's enemy is Earth (as earth hems in water).

Earth's enemy is Wood (as wood grows at the expense of and impoverishes earth).


Wood's friend is Earth (as wood can't grow without earth).

Water's friend is Fire (as it warms water).

Fire's friend is Iron (as it absorbs heat, and thus assists the continuance of the fire).

Iron's friend is Wood (as it supplies the handles to iron-weapons and is non-conducting).

The Tibetan year is lunar, and numbers nominally three hundred and sixty days; so that in order to bring it into keeping with the moon's phases one day is occasionally omitted, and as it is the unlucky days which are omitted, and these occur irregularly, the Tibetan year and months do not always correspond exactly with the Chinese months and years. And the solar difference is compensated by inserting seven intercalary months (Da-s'ol) every nineteen5 years.

The year begins in February with the rise of the new moon. The months (Da-wa)6 are named first, second, etc., and the word Da-wa prefixed thus. Da-wa-tang-po, "first month." The week is divided into seven days (Za), bearing, as with as (for the Lamas adopted the Aryan system) the names of the sun, moon, and the five planets, two being allotted to each day, and is represented by a symbol (see figure) which is a concrete picture of the name.


Name. / Celestial Body. / Its Symbol.

Sunday (Tib., Nima) / Sun / A sun.
Monday (Da wa) / Moon / Crescent moon
Tuesday (Mig mar) / Mars / A red eye.
Wednesday (L'ag-pa) / Mercury / A hand
Thursday (P'ur-bu) / Jupiter / A thunderbolt
Friday (Pa san) / Venus / A garter
Saturday (Pen-ba) / Saturn / A bundle

The different days of the week are associated with the elements; thus Sunday and Tuesday with Fire, Monday and Wednesday with Water, Thursday with Air, and Friday and Saturday with Earth.7

Each hour and day of the week possesses a lucky or unlucky character, and the days of the month according to their order introduce other sets of unlucky combinations. Thus the individual days of the week are divided: Monday and Thursday are best. Sunday and Tuesday are rather "angry." Saturday and Wednesday are only good for receiving things (Yang-sa) and not for giving away. Saturday is not quite so gloomy and malignant as in Western mythology.

Symbols of Days of the Week

The days of the month in their numerical order are unlucky per se in this order. The first is unlucky for starting any undertaking, journey, etc. The second is very bad to travel. Third is good provided no bad combination otherwise. Fourth is bad for sickness and accident (Ch'u-'jag). Eighth bad. The dates counted on fingers, beginning from thumb and counting second in the hollow between thumb and index finger, the hollow always comes out bad, thus second, eighth, fourteenth, etc. Ninth is good for long journeys but not for short (Kut-da). Fourteenth and twenty-fourth are like fourth. The others are fairly good coeteris paribus. In accounts, etc., unlucky days are often omitted altogether and the dates counted by duplicating the preceding day.8

Chinese geomantic figures, the Pu-Kwa (Par-k'a) and the Me- wa, enter largely into the calculations of the Lama astrologer, and these are usually figured on the belly of a spread tortoise, as in the above figure, whose paws sometimes grasp a pole surmounted by or transfixing a frog.9

The Pu-Kwa or Par-k'a symbolize the great productive and antagonistic powers of nature, as summarized in a most interesting manner by Dr. Legge.

The first character, pu, is the Chinese symbol for divining by the lines produced through a certain process on the back of a tortoise-shell. It consists of two lines,10 which may possibly, says Dr. Legge, have been intended to represent the lines appearing on the shell. The second character, Kwa, was the symbol for divining by means of the eight famous trigrams of Fu-hsi, themselves called "the eight Kwa." They are not characters, but lineal figures composed of whole and divided lines, on which was built up the mysterious book called the Yi-Kin, or "Book of Changes," with its sixty-four hexagrams. The eight trigrams are here shown: —


The whole lines in the figures are styled "the strong," and the divided lines "the weak." The two represent the two forms of the subtle matter, whether eternal or created is not said, of which all things are composed. Under one form the matter is active and is called Yang; under the other it is passive, and is called Yin. Whatever is strong and active is of the Yang nature; whatever is weak and passive is of the Yin. Heaven and earth, sun and moon, light and darkness, male and female, ruler and minister, are examples of these antinomies.

The aggregate of them makes up the totality of being, and the Yi is supposed to give in its diagram a complete picture of the phenomena of that totality. It does not give us a sexual system of nature, though of course the antinomy of sex is in it; but the lines on which it is constructed embrace other antinomies as well. Authority and power on one side; inferiority and docility on the other.

Further, the hidden operation in and through which the change takes place in nature is said to be that of the Kwei shan,11 usually meaning "spirits," but here held to be technical. "Shan is Yang, and indicates the process of expanding; Kwei is yin, and indicates the process of contracting." The fashion of the world is continually being altered. We have action and reaction, flux and reflux, and these changes are indicated in the diagrams, which are worked in divination by manipulating a fixed number of stalks of a plant called shih (Ptarmica Sibirica), and, indeed, the form of the trigrams themselves is suggestive of divination by twigs.

The usual geomantic arrangement of the Par-k'a is given in figure. Individually they are named Heaven, Earth, Fire, Thunder, Mountains, Celestial Water, Terrestrial Water, though the fourth and eighth are sometimes called Iron and Tree. And Mountain, Iron, and Water are said to be sons of the Earth and Heaven, while Wind, Fire, and Tree are their daughters.

It is remarkable, however, that while the Chinese use only the hexagrams for divination purposes, the Tibetans use only the trigrams in this way.11

The Nine Mewa12 are arranged in the form of a quadratic square or circle, and the figures usually, as in a magic square, so disposed as to give the same total in all directions.


The spirits of the seasons also powerfully influence the luckiness or unluckiness of the days. It is necessary to know which spirit has arrived at the particular place and time when an event has happened or an undertaking is entertained. And the very frequent and complicated migrations of these aerial spirits, good and bad, can only be ascertained by the Lamas. The most malignant of these evil spirits are a black dog a monster with a dragon-tail, a man on horseback, and the fabulous Phoenix; and the seasons are specially assigned to these in the order of spring, summer, autumn, and winter respectively.14

The almanac which the Lamaist astrologer uses, gives for each day the six presiding influences. Thus the page of the almanack for the first day of the third month of 1891 (Iron-horse) gives: —


And the general record for the particular month is: This month's star is moderate and the celestial Mansion is the sheep. Nidana, Avidya. Element is mid-summer, and named Great Fire-Horse. It is time for plants budding and marshes, thunder and birds. The empty vase is in the east (... do not go E.). On the 15th day the Teacher taught the Kalacakra; it is a holiday. Thursday, Sunday, and Tuesday are good. Friday, Saturday, Monday, and Wednesday are bad. The "Yas" road (i.e., the road on which cake and the devil's image are to be thrown) is N.W. The "Zin-p'un" (a kind of genius loci) in the Ox and Sheep days at dawn passes from W. to E. (... at that time be careful).

Lamaist Horoscopes.

The Lamaist horoscopes or Tsis are of several kinds. Those most commonly sought are for: (a) Birth15 (b) Whole-Life Forecast16 (c) Marriage17 (d) Death18 and the (e) Annual.19

They are written in cursive characters on a long sheet of paper. and attested by the stamp of the astrologer. Such manuscript divinations usually called Sun-ta, are in the case of the more wealthy clients mounted on silk. A preliminary fee or present is usually given to the astrologer at the time of applying for the horoscope, in order to secure as favourable a presage as possible.

Each of the various horoscopes takes into account the conflict or otherwise of the elementary and astral influences dominant at the time of the person's birth, as compared with the existing influences at the time consulted. The ordinary horoscope is usually arranged under the following six heads, namely: —

1. The year of birth of the individual in its auspicious or inauspicious bearings.

2. His Park'a, influences.

3. His "Reversed calculation" of age (Log-men). This is evidently introduced in order to afford a further variety of conflicts.

4. "The Seizing-Rope of the Sky." — This seems to refer to a popular idea of ultimate ascent to the celestial regions by means of an invisible rope.

5. "The Earth-dagger." — This is an invisible dagger, and is for the individual the emblem of stability and safety so long as it is reported to be fixed firmly in the earth.

6. The Mewa.

And each of these several heads is separately considered in detail with reference to its conflicts in regard to — (a) the Life (or srog); (b) the Body (or lus); (c) the Power or capability (ban-t'an); (d) the Luck- horse (or rlun-rta); and (e) the Intelligence (bla).

The particular Parkha and Mewa for the several times are found by reference to the Lama's almanac as above noted; but the other details are elicited by divers calculations made upon the astrologer's board,20 and in consultation with the various manuals on the subject. These manuals have their signs inscribed on the belly of a tortoise (see page 453), and the Mewa occupies the centre.

With this explanation I now give here a sample of a horoscope for one family for one year's ill-luck, in which the prescribed worship is italicized. I have added in footnotes some further explanations which may be consulted by those interested in knowing in more detail the methods by which the Lamaist-astrologer makes his calculations.

"The Misfortune Account of the Family of __________ For the Earth-Mouse Year (i.e., 1888 A.D.)."

Salutation to Manjusri!21

A. For the Father of the Family.

I.— According to the Birth-conflict.

This male, aged 26 years, being born in the Water-Hog year, that year conflicts with the Earth-Mouse year (the present year) as follows: —

Life = O, or good.22
Body = OO, or better.23
Power = XX, or worse.
Luck-horse = OOO, or best.
Intelligence = X, or bad.

1. As modified by "Parkha." — His Park'a for the year is Khon, which gives the Earth-Sheep year and the following conflict:

Life = worse. Body = better. Power = worse than bad.
Luck-horse = bad.
Intelligence = worse.

2. As modified by "Reversed Age Calculation." — This gives a "good" result,24 ... = O.

3. As modified by "The Seizing-Rope of the Sky." — This gives "good,"25 ... = O. [If it were bad, then prescribed "The closure of the door to the sky" (spirits)].26

4. As modified by "The Earth dagger" — This gives a medium average, [If it were bad would have to do "The closure of the door to the earth" (spirits)].27

Thus the summary of the year's conflict as to birth, together with its prescribed remedies is: —

"Life" has black in excess; ... to procure long life have read very much The Sutra and Dharanis for Long Life.

"Body" has white in excess; ... the Body will be free from sickness (i.e., only as regards this one aspect of the calculation).

"Power" has black in excess; ... Food shall be scanty, and crops suffer, and cattle die or be lost. To neutralize it (a) have read very much "Yan-gug" or the Luck-Bestowing and "Nor- zan" (the Best Wealth); (b) offer holy cakes; (c) also give food and sweets to monks and children.

"Luck" has black in excess; ... be careful not to provoke a law-suit or go on a long journey. To neutralize this (a) do "Du-kar" 100 times: (b) plant as many "Lun-ta'-flags" as years of your age; (c) offer in the temple 13 lamps with incense, etc.; (d) have read the "mDo-man" very much; (e) make an image of yourself (of cooked barley or rice) and throw it towards your enemy; (f) also make an earthen Caitya.

"Intelligence" has black in excess; ... have read the "La-guk" or worship for recalling the Intelligence.

II. —According to PARK'A —

His Park'a for the year being "khon," he cannot during the year excavate earth or remove stones. The Nagas and the Earth master-demons are opposed to him. He is especially liable to the diseases of stiffened joints and skin disorders. In the second month he is especially subject to danger. The N. and E. and S. directions are bad for him; he must not go there. For removing these evils (a) have read the "Gye-tong-ba" section of the Prajna Paramita, and (b) do the worship of "Gya-zhi-tong [ = "The 400," i.e., 100 torma or holy cakes, 100 lamps and 100 rice and 100 water offerings'], and (c) offer a lamp daily in worship.

III.— According to Mewa—

His mewa is Dun-mar (= the 7 reds): therefore the Tsen and Gyalpo demons give trouble. Dreams will be bad. The gods are displeased. Head, liver, and heart will give pain, and boils will ensue. To prevent these evils (a) make a "Tsen mdos" and a "Gyal mdos" (this is somewhat like the Sa-go,28 but without the ram's head); (b) The favourite gods and guardians (srung-ma) of individual: Do their worship energetically; and (c) ransom a sheep from the butchers.

B.— For the Wife.

I.— According to Birth-Conflict—

This female born in Iron-Monkey year [i.e., 29 years ago). That year compared with the Earth-Mouse year [i.e., L888 A.D.) gives:—

Life = OX
Body = OX
Power = OOO
Luck = X
Intelligence = OX

1. As modified by her Parkha, which is Li. These come out respectively, XX, OO, XX, O, XX.
2. As modified by "Reversed Age Calculation" = X
3. As modified by "The Sky-rope" = OX
4. As modified by "The Earth-dagger" = OOO

The total of the year's conflict is ... :—

Life and Intelligence are bad, like No. 1, and must be treated accordingly, and in addition to No. 1.

Body and power are good.

Luck is neutral; therefore the good people will be kind to you; and the bad people will trouble; therefore it is necessary to do very much "Mikha ta-dot," to drive away scandal (from) men's mouth.

The Sky-seizing Rope is interrupted (i.e., cut); therefore —

(1) do very much "te-gyed," and "ser-k'yem" (or oblation of wine to the gods);

(2) prepare a "nam-go" to close breach in the sky-connection.

The conjunction of her year (Monkey with Mouse) is not good; ... she cannot journey far. And if she does any business she will suffer; ... have read "Tashi tsig-pa."

II.— According to Park'a—

The Park'a being Li, she must not try to build or repair a house or allow any marriage in her house or spill any water on the hearth. The devil-spirit of a dead person is offended with her. Headache and eyeache will occur; ... (a) do not look at fresh flesh meat or blood: (b) in the 8th month will be especially bad; (c) must not go W. or N.W.: (d) have read the "Do-mang" and "Gye-tong;" (e) be careful not to provoke quarrels.

III. -- According to Mewa --

Her Mewa is "some thing"; therefore will occur sudden domestic quarrels of great seriousness, lying reports of infidelity, also grief among relatives, and dropsy. To prevent these do --

(a) Gya zhi (i.e., 100 lamps, 100 rice, 100 water, and 100 torma); (b) Lu-tor, or offering of cake to the Nagas and Dug-kar (= white umbrella-god with 1,000 heads); (c) Also ransom a goat.

C.—For the Daughter, aged 7.

I. — According to Birth-Conflict —

This female, born in the Water-Horse year, 7 years ago. That year conflicted with the Earth-Mouse year as follows:- XX, OX, XX, OO, XX.

1. As modified by her "Parkha," which is zin. It is:— OOO, OOO, OX, XX, OOO.

2. As modified by her "Reversed Age Calculation" = O

3. As by "Sky-rope" = OX

4. As by "The Earth-dagger" = OX

The total of the year's conflict ... is, Life, Intelligence, Body, and Luck are good of 2nd degree, Power is bad; therefore do as for her father No. 1, previously noted.

"Sky-seizing Rope" and "Earth-dagger" are neutral. For evil Sky-seizing Rope, have read the Sutra "Akasgarbha."

And for Earth-dagger have read "Sa-yi snyinq po-i mdo," and repeat as frequently as years of age, i.e., 7 times.

The conjunction of her birth year, the Horse with that of the present year, the Mouse, is very bad, as these two are enemies; for this have read the Chinese "zlon-gan-man."

II. — According to Park'a —

Her Park'a is zin. Be careful not to break a twig or demolish any tree sacred to the Nagas or other deities (gnyan), and don't handle a carpenter's tool for the same reason. In 2nd month when buds come out, it is somewhat bad for you, as the Nagas are then pre-eminent. The West and N.W. directions are bad, and have to be avoided. For these evils have read the "Do-mang."

III.— According to MEWA —

Her Mewa is like her father's (No. 1), and therefore do accordingly.

D.— For the Son, aged 5.

I.— According to Birth-conflict—

The male (son) born in the Wood-Ape year, 5 years ago. That year compared with the Earth-Mouse year gives:- OX, OO, OO, X, OX.

1. As modified by his "Parkha," which is kham. It is OX, O, OOO, OOO, OOO.
2. As by "Reversed Age Calculation" = X
3. As by "Sky-rope" = OO
4. As by "Earth-dagger." — XX

The total of the year's conflict ... is: --

Body, Power, and Luck are good.

Life and Intelligence are neutral or middling.

The Sky-rope is not broken, and therefore good.

The Earth-dagger is withdrawn, and therefore bad.

For the latter —

(a) make as many clay Chaityas as possible;

(b) the torma-cake of the earth-goddess (Sa-yi-lha-mo); and

(c) give also torma-cake to the Naga demigods.

II— According to "Park'a"—

His Park'a being k'am, don't go to a large river, and to pools and other waters reputed to be the abode of water-spirits. Don't stir or disturb the water. Don't go out at night. Don't eat fish. The Tsan fiends are ill disposed towards you. These spirits are especially malevolent to you in the 6th month; ... be careful then. Don't go in a S.W. and N.E. direction. Have read (1) kLu'bum and (2) Ser-'od dampa 'don.

III.— According to Mewa --

This Mewa is ku-mar. The Mamo and Tsan fiends are ill disposed towards you. For this as (a,) make "de-gnis kyi mdos gton," which is like the Sa-go and "Sky-door" with threads and masts, and (b) have read well "gser-'od gyan skyabs."

General Note on the Grand Average of the above.

The Mewa is excessively red. It thus betokens shedding of blood by accident. Therefore make "Tsan mdos" and the bloody "Mamo mdos" masts (see page 464). And have read as much as possible- (1) stobs po-ch'e-i-gsuns, (2) gza-i yum, (3) nor-rgyun-ma-i gzuns gan-man sgrogs.

The extravagant amount of worship prescribed in the above horoscope is only a fair sample of the amount which the Lamas order one family to perform so as to neutralize the current year's demoniacal influences on account of the family inter-relations only. In addition to the worship herein prescribed there also needs to be done the special worship for each individual according to his or her own life's horoscope as taken at birth; and in the case of husband and wife, their additional burden of worship which accrues to their life horoscope on their marriage, due to the new set of conflicts introduced by the conjunction of their respective years and their noxious influences; and other rites should a death have happened either in their own family or even in the neighbourhood. And when, despite the execution of all this costly worship, sickness still happens, it necessitates the further employment of Lamas, and the recourse by the more wealthy to a devil-dancer or to a special additional horoscope by the Lama. So that one family alone is prescribed a sufficient number of sacerdotal tasks to engage a couple of Lamas fairly fully for several months of every year!

A somewhat comical result of all this wholesale reading of scriptures is that, in order to get through the prescribed reading of the several bulky scriptures within a reasonable time, it is the practice to call in a dozen or so Lamas, each of whom reads aloud, but all at the same time, a different book or chapter for the benefit of the person concerned.

So deep-rooted is the desire for divination even in ordinary affairs of every-day life, that, in addition to these elaborate horoscopes, nearly every Lama, even the most ignorant, and most of the laity, especially the poorer class who cannot afford the expense of spiritual horoscopes, seek for themselves presages by more simple methods, by cards, by rosary heads or pebbles, by dice, by sheep's shoulder blades,29 by omens, etc. And the results are allowed to determine the movements of the individual, as every traveller who has had to do with Tibetans knows to his cost. It is a sort of fortune-telling, which, however, is not resorted to for the mere idle curiosity of ascertaining fortune long beforehand, but seriously to find the issues of undertakings in hand or those immediately contemplated by the consulter.

For the purposes of divination most families possess a small divining manual called mo or "mo-pe."30 These books show the portent attached to the particular number which is elicited and also the initiatory spells.

The cards used for most divination purposes are small oblong strips of cardboard, each representing several degrees of lucky and unlucky portents suitably inscribed and pictorially illustrated, and to each of these is attached a small thread.

In consulting this oracle, an invocation is first addressed to a favourite deity, frequently the goddess Tara, and the packet is held by the left hand on a level with the face, and, with closed eyes, one of the threads is grasped, and its attached card is drawn out. The best out of three draws is held to decide the luck of the proposed undertaking, or the ultimate result of the sickness or the other question of fortune sought after.

Divination by the rosary is especially practised by the more illiterate people, and by the Bon priests. A preliminary spell is chanted: —

"gSol! ye dharma! Om Sha-kya Muneye sva-hah! Kramuneye sva- hah! Madahshumuneye svahah! " After having repeated this, breathe upon the rosary and say "Namo-Guru! I bow down before the kind, merciful and noble Lama, the three Holy Ones, the yidam (tutelary deity), and before all the collections of Dakkinis, religious protectors and guardians of the magic-circle, and I beg that you will cause the truth to descend on this lot. I also beg you, O! religious protectors and guardians, Brahma, Indra, the others of the ten directions Nanda and Takshaka, the Naga kings, including the eight great Nagas, the sun, the eight planets, the twenty-eight constellations of stars, the twelve great chiefs of the injurers, and the great locality gods, to let the true light descend on my lot, and let the truth and reality appear in it."

After repeating the above, the rosary is taken in the palm and rolled between the two revolving palms, and the hands clapped thrice. Then, closing the eyes, a portion of the rosary is seized between the thumb and finger of each hand, and opening the eyes the intervening beads are counted from each end in threes. And according as the remainder is 1, 2, or 3 depends the result. Thus:—

(1) If One as a remainder comes after One as the previous remainder, everything is favourable in life, in friendship, in trade, etc.

(2) If Two comes after Two it is bad: "The cloudless sky will be suddenly darkened, and there will be loss of wealth. So Rim-'gro must be done repeatedly, and the gods must be worshipped, which are the only preventions."

(3) If Three comes after Three it is very good: "Prosperity is at hand in trade and everything."

(4) If Three comes after One it is good: "Rice plants will grow on sandy hills, widows will obtain husbands, and poor men will obtain riches."

(5) If One comes after Two it is good: "Every wish will be fulfilled and riches will be found; if one travels to a dangerous place one will escape every danger."

(6) If One comes after Three it is good: "God's help will always be at hand, therefore worship the gods."

(7) If Two comes after Three it is not very good, it is middling: "Legal proceedings will come."

(8) If Three comes after Two it is good: "Turquoise fountains will spring out and fertilize the ground, unexpected food will be obtained, and escape is at hand from any danger."

(9) If Two comes after One it is bad: "Contagious disease will come. But if the gods be worshipped and the devils be propitiated, then it will be prevented."

The most ordinary mode of divination is by counters of seeds or pebbles in sets of ten, fifteen, or twenty-one, which may be used with or without a dice-board. If a dice-board be used, it consists of small squares drawn on paper to the number of fifteen or of twenty-one, and each square has got a number within a circle corresponding to a number in the mo-pe or divination-book. The set of ten is called "The Ten Fairy Circle,"31 and requires a board bearing the outline of an eight-petalled lotus arranged as pairs of petals which correspond to the Tantrik symbols of the five Jinas (vajra, gem, etc.), the fifth being in the centre, and its pair of petals is named the "Consort " of the Jina and the Sakti.32 The counters are white and black pebbles or seeds, only one black one to each series. And after the invocation to the special deity and shaking up and mixing all the seeds in the closed palm they are then told out between the forefinger and thumb of the still closed palm on to the squares in the numerical order of the latter, and the number on which the black seed comes out determines by means of the mo-pe book the divination result of the particular fortune sought for.

The set of fifteen squares is called "Gya-nag-sman-ch'u," or "The Chinese medicinal water." It consists of a triple series of five squares, with the numbers arranged as in the sketch. But properly, as its name implies, the seeds should be dropped into a vessel of water, and no dice-board is then needed. This kind of divination is used especially in sickness, hence it is called "medicinal." But the manual most commonly consulted for the prognosis and treatment of sickness is "The calculation of the eight goddesses." This book gives a fixed prognosis and prescriptions of remedial worship for the month in series of fours. Thus for its reference, only the day of the month is needed, and no dice or seeds are necessary.33


Image of Dolma

The set of twenty-one squares is called "The twenty-one Taras," after the twenty-one forms of that obliging goddess. Above the centre of the diagram is a figure of that goddess, who is specially invoked in this divination. The numbers run as in the diagram here given. As a sample of the oracles I give here a few of the divination-results from Tara's series. If the black seed falls on 1,2, 8, or 9, the divination is as follows: —

No. 1. The Jewel. — If you do not go to sea then you will get the jewel. For merchants' and thieves' adventures it is good.
For your own house and soul it is excellent. But if you are sick it is somewhat bad. For travelling you should first feed people and dogs. You will obtain a son and get temporal power. Your wishes will ultimately be gratified. You have a thief as an enemy.

No. 2. The Turquoise Spring. — The dried valley will yield springs, and plants will become verdant, and timely rain will fall. The absent will soon return. Do the dPah-bstod worship of the enemy god, and the worship of your own special god (mch'od lha). It is good for marriage.

No. 8. The Conch Chaitya. — In the supreme 'Og-min heavens it is good for the lower animals. In the three worlds of existence is long life and auspicious time. Your desires will be realized. Life is good. If you are ill, whitewash the Caitya and worship in the temple. The enemy is somewhat near. For merchants the time is rather late, but no serious loss will happen. For health it is good.

No. 9. The Invalid. — If an actual invalid it is due to demon of grand-parents. Agriculture will be bad. Cattle will suffer. To prevent this offer the "black" cake of the three heads (gTor nag mgo sum) and do "calling for luck." For your wishes, business, and credit it is a bad outlook. For sickness do "obtaining long life." Mend the road and repaint the "Mani" stones. Household things and life are bad. For these read the "do mang" spells, also Du-Kar and Dok. The ancestral devil is to be suppressed by Srignon. Avoid conflict with enemy and new schemes and long journeys.

The titles of the other numbers indicate somewhat the nature of their contents, namely: —

3. Golden Dorje.
4. Painted vase.
5. Turquoise parrot.
6. Verdant plants.
7. Lady carrying child.
10. White lion.
11. Golden vase.
12. Turquoise dragon.
13. Garuda.
14. Tigress.
15. Sun and moon.  
16. Enemy with bow and arrows.
17. Fiendess with red mouth.
18. 'Gong king-devil.  
19. Peacock.
20. Glorious white conch.
21. The great king.

The foregoing are the forms of dice-boards used by the laity and the lower clergy. The more respectable Lamas use a circular disc with twenty-eight divisions in the form of three concentric lotus-flowers, each of the petals of the two outer whorls bearing a number which corresponds to a number in the divining manual which is called "The one who sees all actions."34 The margin of the disc is surrounded by flames. This more artistic arrangement is shown in the accompanying figure. As a sample of this oracle I give here the detail of No. 1 and list of the presiding divinities of the other numbers.

Lotus Dice-Board

No. 1., Bhagavan (a title of Buddha). You are of the wise class, or if not you will get a wise son. Your god needs to be worshipped fully, and what you desire will be realized, and you will obtain long life and freedom from sickness. And if you are a male this blessing will last for nine years. If you are a female then nine monks must be engaged to read the Nyithi Abidharma, and four monks must do the dok-pa, clapping of hands to drive away the evil spirits; for in the south is a king demon who is angry with you and your heart is disturbed and your temper bad. On this account do the worship of the king demon and wear his charm. In your house children will be unsafe, but they will not die. Your valuable goods are likely to go, therefore do the worship of Nor-t'ub or "the obtaining of wealth."

The names of the divinities of the other numbers, which give some indication of the nature of the divination, are: —

2. Avalokita.
3. Ugyen Rinboch'e.
4. Tara.
5. Vajrapani.
6. Yes'e Norbu.
7. Candan.
8. Indra.
9. Manjusrl.
10. Dorje leg-pa.
11. Sirge Sashi.
12. Dorje Gya-t'am.
13. Yuduk Nonmo.
14. Ton-nan Lhamo.
15. Tamch'en Nagpo.
16. Lungpa Kyithik.
17. Durpag Nag.
18. Garwa Bishu.
19. Gyacha kua.
20. Nad-bdak Remati, god of sickness.
21. Tsunpa.
22. Ch'ui Lhamo.
23. Tuk-zig-pa.
24. Sipi Kukhor.
25. Damc'a Dzema.
26. Dreo Dagyak.
27. Purnan Ukpu.
28. Nag-nag.

The dice used in divination and fortune-telling are of two sorts, namely, (a) ordinary ivory or bone dice marked with black dots from one to six as in European dice, and (6) a solitary wooden cube, on each of the six sides of which is carved a letter corresponding to a similar letter in the manual. Here also may be mentioned the loaded dice used in "The scape-goat ceremony," see the chapter on festivals.

The ordinary ivory dice are used in a set of three with the Lhamo Mo or "The goddess' divination manual," which provides for results from three to eighteen. These three dice are usually thrown on the book itself from the bare hand after having been shaken up in the closed palm. More luxurious people possess a small wooden bowl from which they throw the dice, also a pad on which to throw them.

The solitary wooden dice is used for divination along with the manual of Manjusri. It contains on its six sides the six letters, compound or otherwise, of Manjusri's spell — A, R, P, TS, N, DI. The wood of this dice should be made of either Manjusri's sacred "bla" tree, or sandal, or rose-wood, or if none of these woods are available, then the dice should be made of conch-shell or glass.

In the manual of this dice the portent of each letter is divided into the following sections, namely — House, Favours, Life, Medical, Enemy, Visitors, Business, Travel, Lost property, Wealth, Sickness, etc., which cover all the ordinary objects for which the oracle is consulted. As an example I here extract the portents of A: —

"'A' is the best of all for great Lamas and for lay officers, and what you will perform will have a good result. For low people it means a little sadness; therefore worship your favourite god. "House section. — All your household will be happy and lucky, and for a time your house will be safe; but where the cattle dwell, there a thief and rogue will perhaps come. To avoid this repeat, or get repeated (by Lamas), 10,000 times the spell of Marici.

"Favours section. — The favours you wish will be got gradually. To remove the difficulty in the way of getting these repeat, or get repeated, 100,000 times the spell of gra-lna, and also of Devi lo-gyon-ma (this latter is Om! pisha-tsi par-na-sha-wa-ri sarha dso-la-ta-sha-ma-na-ye swa- ha!), and do the Dug-kar with its contained bzlog-bsgyur (clapping of hands) celebration.

"Life ( Srog).— This is good. But the gDon demon from the east and south came with a blue and black article you got. To clear away this cloud do, or get done, 100,000 grib-sel, and do the Naga worship and read, or get read, 1,000 times Sherab-Ninpo.

"Medical. — Taking the medicine prescribed for you for a long time secretly you shall recover. Also burn a lamp nightly from sunset to sunrise as an offering to the gods.

"Enemy. — You shall not suffer, as your god is strong and will protect you.

"Visitors — probable. — They are coming, or news of their visit will soon be received.

"Business. — If you quickly do business it shall be profitable — delay shall be unprofitable.

"Travel. — The actual leaving of your house shall be difficult, but if you persevere you shall travel safely.

"Lost property. — If you go to the north-west you shall get the lost property, or news of it."

A most peculiar application of the dice is for determining the successive regions and grades of one's future re-births. Fifty-six or more squares of about two inches wide are painted side by side in contrasted colours on a large sheet of cloth, thus giving a chequered area like an ordinary draught or chess-board. Each square represents a certain phase of existence in one or other of the six regions of re-birth, and on it is graphically depicted a figure or scene expressive of the particular state of existence in the world of man, or beast, or god, or in hell, etc., and it bears in its centre the name of its particular form of existence, and it also contains the names of six other possible states of re-birth which ensue from this particular existence, these names being preceded by one or other of the following six letters: A, S, R, G, D, Y, which are also borne on the six faces of the wooden cube which forms the solitary dice for this divination.

Re-birth Dice-Board

Starting from the world of human existence, the dice is thrown, and the letter which turns up determines the region of the next re-birth. Then proceeding from it the dice is again thrown and the letter turned up indicates the next state of re-birth from this new existence, and so on from square to square ad infinitum.

Thus for the Lamaist layman there appear only six states of re-birth ordinarily possible, namely: —

A. The path of the sorcerer; S. Many days' journey (Nin ts'og lam); R. The "bent goers," i.e., the beasts; G. The Unorthodox, i.e., a follower of the Bon or pre-Lamaist form of religion in Tibet; D. an Indian heretic; Y. a ghostly state in Limbo.

The dice accompanying my copy of this board seems to have been loaded so as to show up the letter Y, which gives a ghostly existence, and thus necessitates the performance of many expensive rites to counteract so undesirable a fate. But in addition to the ordinary six states of possible re-birth are the extraordinary states of re-birth to be obtained by the grand coup of turning up the letter A five times in succession or the letter S thirteen times in succession. The former event means direct re-birth in the paradise of St. Padma and his mythical primordial god, Samantabhadra, while the latter event is re-birth immediately into the grander paradise of the coming Buddha, Maitreya.

Every year has its general character for good or evil foretold in the astrological books (like Zadkiel's),35 but like most oracular utterances, these prophecies are couched in rather ambiguous terms, and as there are four or five versions of these forecasts for each year of the twelve-year cycle in addition to a separate set for each year of the sixty-year cycle, there is thus considerable latitude allowed for accounting for most phenomena.

In 1891, during that great visitation of locusts which swarmed over India and into Sikhim as well, the local Lamas were in great glee on finding that the plague of locusts36 was down in the Lamaist forecast for that year. I examined the old printed books and found that in one of the more common versions of the twelve-year cycle a plague of ch'aga was foretold for that year, and ch'aga is a short form of the word for "locust." And it seemed that it could not have come out in the forecaste oftener than about once in six years.

The more demoniacal forms of divination practised by the professional oracles and wizards are described in the following chapter.

Scorpion Charm Against Injury by Demons
1. Naga snake-spirit.
2. Tsan devil.
3. Ma-mo fiendess.
4. "King"-fiend.



1 rTsis-pa — the Chebu of Hooker's Himalayan Jours.
2 Csoma, Gr., 148. The Chinese "Description of Tibet," translated by Klaproth (Nouv. Jour., Asiat., iv., 138), states that the Chinese system was introduced by the Chinese wife of Sron Tsan Gampo, in 642 A.D.
3 There is also a cycle of 252 years seldom used. Conf . Giorgi, 464-69. Huc, ii., 368, and Schlag., 284.
4 Modified from Sarat's figure.
5 So says Schlag., op. cit., 288. The intercalary month seems to be added at less intervals. According to the Baidyur-Kar-po in 1891 the duplicated month was the tenth.

6 Zla-wa = moon.
7 According to the rhyme:

"Ni-ma mik-mar me K'am: Da-wa lhak-pa Ch'u-r K'am;
P'ur-bu da-c'en lun-i K'am: Pasan p'em-ba Sa-i K'am."

8 Klaproth, iv.. 137; Huc, ii., 370.

9 This may be the sacred three-legged frog. Cf. also my article (Ind. Antiq., 1893 on "Frog Worship among the Newars."

10 Legge's The Relig. of China, p. 14, do. 15.
11 Legge, op. cit., p. 39.

12 Cf. Prof, de La Couperies' Ancient Chinese Divination Manual— The Yi King.— Paris, 1889.

13 sMe-ba = a blot. Cf. Pallas, Mong., ii., 229: Schlag., 297.

14 Schlag., 299.
15 sKyeg-rtsis.

16 ts'-rabs las rtsis.

17 pag-rtsis.

18 gs'in -rtsis.

19 sKag-rtsis. Other horoscopes for general and extra divinations are: Gab-tsi or "Concealed," and Grub-tsi or "the perfect " Astrology; and the Chinese system is termed Nak-tsi in distinction to the Indian or Kar-tsi.
20 The astrologer's board consists of a large napkin on which are drawn squares and the other necessary geomantic figures, all in a definite and convenient relation to each other. This napkin is spread on a table, and the calculations are made with coloured buttons as counters which are kept in a bag— the several elements having each a recognized colour: thus wood is green, fire is red, earth is yellow, iron is white, and water is blue. These counters are placed on the coloured squares as in a chess-board, and are moved according to rule, either transversely from right to left or vice versa, or longitudinally over the requisite number of squares. In the top row of the board are the sixty squares of the sixty-year cycle, all named and in the proper colour of their elements. And the succeeding rows of squares are those of the Life, Body, Power, Luck, and Intelligence series, each with its appropriate series of coloured elements. The other divisions relate to the Parkhas and Mewas.

The calculations are made according to rule backwards or forwards a certain number of years in the row of the sixty-year cycle squares, and the secondary results come out of the vertical columns of the Life, Body, etc., series according to the conflict of their respective elements: the results being noted by white or black seeds or buttons, which have the following values: —

The seven recognized degrees of affinity or repulsion are expressed in the astrological accounts by the following signs of circles and crosses, and during the calculation the circles are represented by white buttons and the crosses by black buttons or seeds:—

When the conflict of the elements comes out — Mother, i.e., the best degree = OOO
When the conflict of the elements comes out — Friend, i.e., the better degree = OO
When the conflict of the elements comes out — [Water + Water; Earth+ Earth] (i.e., a harmless mixture and ... good = O 
When the conflict of the elements comes out Son, i.e., neutral = OX
When the conflict of the elements comes out [Wood + Wood/ Fire + Fire; Iron + Iron] i.e., unmiscibility, and ... opposition and bad = X
When the conflict of the elements comes out Enemy, i.e., worst = XX
When the conflict of the elements comes out Deadly hate, i.e., worst = XXX

For example, water meeting iron, i.e., its "mother" is the very best and ... = OOO and the same would be true of fire meeting wood. Bui wood meeting earth would = "friend" and therefore = OO: but should earth meet wood, then it would be "enemy" and therefore = XX; and water meeting wood = "neutrality" or OX. While fire meeting water = "deadly hate," and therefore = XXX. Then the average of the total is taken as the average result of the conflict. And the several remedies necessary to avoid each and all of the calamities thus foretold are specified categorically in the astrologers' books.
21 The metaphysical Bodhisat Manjusri is the presiding divinity of the astrologers, and he is always invoked at the head of astrologic prescriptions.

22 The year of his birth being the Water-Hog, gives, according to the astrologic table, Water as the srog for that year, and the present year being the Earth-Mouse year, its srog, according to the table, is also Water. Therefore Water meeting Water = O, i.e., "good."

23 The lus of these two years are found by the table to give the elements respectively of Water and Fire. Therefore Water meeting its friend Fire = OO or "better," i.e., good of the second degree.
24 This Log-men or "Reversed + downwards" is a more abstruse calculation according to the saying: —

"skyes-pa pu-yi stag t'og nas lo grans t'ur,
"bud-med ma-yi sprel-t'og nas lo grans gyen."

For males — the sons of elements — begin from Tiger and count age downwards.

For females — the mothers — begin from Ape and count age upwards.

Thus the birth-year of this individual being Water-Hog, and he being a male, and the son of Water being Wood, gives us for his Log-men the Water-Tiger year (which = 1854 A.D.). And as he is male, on counting downwards from the Wood-Tiger the number of years of his age (i.e., 26), we get the year Earth-Hare (i.e., 1879 A.D.). And according to the Log-men Manual, the Earth-Hare year is "'byor-pa" or Riches, which is given the value of "good," i.e., = O.

25 This is calculated on the srog of the Log-men year, minus five years. In this case we have seen Log-men year is the Earth-Hare year. Counting back to the fifth year gives the Wood-Hog, which has its srog the element water, and the srog of the present 1888 A.D. year, viz., Earth-Mouse, being also Water, therefore = O or good for the "sky-seizing Rope."

26 See next chapter.

27 See next chapter.
28 Vide p, 150.
29 See description by Pallas, quoted by Rockhill (L., p. 341).

30 I.e., short for "mo-pecha," or "'The mo book.'
31 mKal-'gro-ma.

32 Thus rDorje Kahgro, rdo-rje shugs-'gro, the former having higher rank and better prognosis.
33 Another manual named Dus-ts'od-rtsis gives similar information in regard to the  particular time of the day of the occurrence in question.
34 "Las-byed mt'on-ba kun-ldan."
35 The ordinary Lamaist forecast for 1891 ran as follows: During this year of the Iron-Hare, there is fear for the cattle. The valuable crops will be moderate. Dew and hail excessive. Birds and mice destructive. Robbery and loss of land, fleeing inhabitants. Slowly crops may recover. Black (seeded crops) good, white not good. Human sickness excessive. In early summer water scanty, with hail and heat afterwards. Slowly progress. If those who otherwise shall certainly die, do "the Life Ransom," the "Death Ransom" (e.g. releasing small fish from the fishmongers), and the Ceremony to Obtain Life," then they shall be safe, etc., etc.

36 The great oriental locust is well-known to the Nepalese and Sikhim Highlanders as an occasional visitant, and I am told that a few of the swarms occasionally pass actually into Tibet. The Nepalese during this last visitation were to be seen catching basketfuls of these insects, which they cooked and ate like shrimps with much relish.
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Re: The Buddhism of Tibet, or Lamaism With Its Mystic Cults

Postby admin » Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:21 am


A Black-Hat Sorcerer

He drew the mystic circle's bound
With skull and cross-bones fenced around;
He traced full many a sigil there;
He muttered many a backward prayer
That sounded like a curse."

With the lamas, as with the ancient Greeks and Romans, the oracle is a living and highly popular institution. Dwelling in an atmosphere of superstition, the Lamas, like the alchemists of old, do not recognize the limitation to their powers over Nature. They believe that the hermits in the mountains, and the monks in their cloisters, can readily become adepts in the black art, and can banish drought, and control the sun, and stay the storm; and many of their necromantic performances recall the scene of the "witches' cauldron" in Macbeth.

Magic, and this mostly of a sympathetic kind, seems to have crept into Indian Buddhism soon after Buddha's death. In the form of irdhi, or the acquisition of supernatural power, it is a recognized attribute of the Arhats, and even among the primitive Hinayana Buddhists. The Paritta ("pirit") rite of the Southern Buddhists is essentially of the character of exorcism,1 and portions of the text of the Saddharma Pundarika, dating to about the first century of our era, are specially framed for this purpose.

But the Indian cult does not appear ever to have descended to the gross devil-dancing2 and Shamanist charlatanism of the Lamas; though even the Lamas seldom, if ever, practise such common tricks as swallowing knives and vomiting fire, with which they have been credited. They find plenty of scope for their charlatanism in playing upon the easy credulity of the people by working themselves into the furious state of the "possessed," so as to oracularly deliver auguries, and by the profitable pursuits of necromancy and sorcery.

Every orthodox monastery in Tibet, even of the most reformed sects, keeps or patronizes a sorcerer, and consults him and follows his dictates upon most matters; and there are some cloisters near Lhasa specially devoted to instruction in this art. Such are, Moru, Ramo-ch'e, and Kar-mas'a.

The chief wizards are called "Defenders of the faith" (ch'os- skyon), and the highest of these, namely, Na-ch'un, is the government oracle, and is consulted on all important state occasions and undertakings. But every monastery of any size has its own sorcerer, who, however, in the case of the poorer sects, is not usually considered a member of the brotherhood, and he is allowed to marry. They possess no literature, and deliver their sayings orally.

Their fantastic equipment and their frantic bearing, as in figure at page 475, their cries and howls, despite their name, can scarcely be of Sivaite origin, but seem clearly to identify them with the Bon — the grossest of Shamanist devil-dancers. The belief both in ghosts and witchcraft and the practice of exorcism was so deep-rooted in the country, that Padma-sambhava gave it a prominent place in his system, and even Tson-K'a-pa could not do otherwise than take them over into his yellow sect.
And that position within the Lamaist priesthood once granted to the heathen sorcerer it naturally became dogmatic and scholastic,3 and seems to have been given its present organized shape by the fifth Grand Lama, Nag Wan, in the seventeenth century; though even now it is satisfactory to find that some of the more intelligent and respectable Lamas despise such gross exhibitions as an unholy pandering to the vulgar taste for the marvellous.

The chief sorcerers are called "The revered protectors of religion," Ch'o-kyon or Ch'o-je, and are believed to be incarnations of the malignant spirit called "kings,"4 who seem to be spirits of demonified heroes, and still the object of very active popular worship.5

These king-fiends are alleged to have been originally five brothers,6 who came from Ch'ad-dumin northern Mongolia, though now only two (or three) of them seem to be known, and these are represented by the oracles of Na-ch'un, Karma-s'ar, and Gadon.

The chief of these necromancers was first brought into the order of the Lamas by the fifth Grand Lama, who seems to have felt, like the Roman governors, the necessity for placing the divination for government service under the control of the priests, and he doubtless realized the political advantages of having so powerful an instrument entirely within the order. He admitted the augur of Na-ch'un7 to the brotherhood, and made him the state-oracle.

The Necromancer-in-Ordinary to Government. The Na-ch'un Oracle.

The Necromancer-in-Ordinary to the government is the Na-ch'un sorcerer. The following details regarding him I have obtained from a resident of his temple, and also from several of his clientele.8

This demon-king was originally a god of the Turki9 tribes, and named "The White Overcast Sky."10 and on account of his Turki descent the popular epic of the famous prince Kesar, who had conquered the Turki tribes, is not permitted to be recited at Depung, under whose aegis the Na-ch'un oracle resides for fear of offending the latter.

He was brought to Tibet by Padma-sambhava in Thi-Sron Detsan's reign, and made the Ch'o-Kyon or religious guardian of the first monastery, Sam-ya. There he became incarnate, and the man possessed by his spirit was styled "The Religious Noble" or Ch'o-je, and he married and became a recognized oracle with hereditary descent.

This demon-king is thus identified with Pe-har (usually pronounced Pe-kar)11 although other accounts make him the fourth and younger brother of Pe-har.

Many centuries later Pe-har's spirit is said to have transferred itself to Ts'al-gun-t'an, about four miles E.S.E. of Lhasa, on the way to Gah-dan, and thence in a miraculous manner to its present location.12

In the time of the Grand Lama Nag-Wan, in the seventeenth century, when he extended the Ge-lug-pa order wholesale, he made the Na-ch'un ch'o-je a Lama of the yellow sect, and gave him the monastery called De-yang ta-tsan,13 and made him the state oracle. The reason alleged for the pre-eminence thus conferred is said to be that he frustrated an attempt of the Newars or Nepalese merchants of Lhasa to poison the tea-cistern at the great festival, by driving a knife through the vessel, and thus discharging the alleged poison.

Since his promotion within the ranks of the established church he and his successors have been celibate and educated. His monastery, which is richly furnished and surrounded by gardens, including a conservatory with stuffed birds, and leopards, and other animals, now contains one hundred and one monks, many of whom are real Ge-longs, observing the two hundred and fifty-three Vinaya rules, and from amongst these his successor is chosen — the succession passing by breath and not by heredity,
and it is said that these sorcerers are very short-lived on account of their maniacal excitement; and they probably are addicted to Indian hemp. He has the title of Kung from the Chinese emperor, a title which is seldom bestowed even on the Sha-pe or governors (dukes) of Tibet.

He is dressed like a Ge-lug-pa monk, usually in red robes, but wears a lotus-shaped hat of a yellow colour relieved by red and topped by a ruby button.

This state-sorcerer proceeds in great pomp to Lhasa once a year, on the second day of the first month, attended by the magistrate14 of De-pung, and is accommodated in a special temple close to the east of the great Jo-wo temple, where he prophesies the events of the year. His rank is so high that he only visits the Dalai Lama. Government officials require to visit him when seeking information in regard to government projects, war, sickness, etc. And when he is at home his minister15 acts as the government go-between on ordinary occasions, and he and other sorcerers accompany troops to battle and interpret the portents of the omens of birds, animals, etc.

He is also consulted by private people who can afford the expense. In addition to any presents in kind, a money fee of from ten to 1,000 tankas (silver coins about sixpence) or more are needed, and these are applied to the support of his large establishment.

The applicant to the oracle must have his request presented in writing, and when a sufficient number of applications have accumulated, the augur is disclosed in a wildly ecstatic state. He throws rice at the applicants, and becoming more inflamed by fury, he falls down in convulsions and then replies to questions addressed to him. The replies are noted down by attendant scribes, and the document is afterwards sealed — it is said by the sorcerer himself on his recovery.

The utterances are often couched in poetry or allegory, with the brevity and ambiguousness of an oracular response.

One of the Na-ch'un sorcerer's responses which I have seen bears a circular red seal of crossed thunderbolts. It is interesting rather as a sample of the kind of questions addressed to the oracle than for the oracular deliverance itself, which is of the ordinary prosaic kind.

"To the exalted throne (made of the corpses of infidels) on which rest the feet of the great Religious Protector, the Incarnate Victor- God of the enemies in all the three worlds, — The Lamp of Wisdom!

"I, this child (Sras), believing in you, with my ten fingers resting on my heart, petition thus: —

"1. What is the evil accruing this year on the following persons, and what the necessary worship (to counteract the evil)?

The Governor, birth year, Iron-Monkey.
Male birth year, Earth-Hare.
Male birth year, Fire-Tiger.
Female birth year, Earth-Ox.
Male birth year, Tiger.
Female birth year, Iron-Bird.
Female birth year, Fire-Hare.
Female birth year, Fire-Dog.

"2. What is the evil, now and hereafter, accruing to the Guide (Teacher) of Sikhim and Gang-ljong ( = Cis-Tibet) from the foreign harmers? And what can be done?

"3. At the Tibetan farm of Do-ta (near Khamba-jong) the fields for several seasons have yielded no crops on account of 'dew from want of clouds.' What remedy is for this?

"Pray relieve our anxiety. You, who are the best of gods, do not ever abandon us; but ever protect us on all sides as by a thick 'tent!' Save us! We worship Thee! And we offer you this god-like silken robe; also this pair of fowls (male and female)!

"This applicant's name is _____"

The Reply.

"Hri! 1. Read Tara's ritual, and plant 'prayer-flags' (in number) according to your age.

"2. Worship Tara much, and plant as many of the largest 'prayer- flags' as possible.

"3. Read the Bum (Prajna paramita) and (St. Padma's) T'an-yig, the three roots (Lama, tutelary and Buddha); make the Ts'ogs offering, also one to Dorje Nam-ch'un, and Yul-K'rus (sprinkling holy water to purify the country); and mollify the country-gods by the Gya-nan Srun-ma."


But the Karma-s'ar16 oracle seems to have been the original one, and it still is one of those most popularly resorted to. Its sorcerer is also held to be possessed by the demon-king Pe-har. It is within Lhasa, and is specially under the aegis of the Serra monastery, and this indeed is said to have been a chief reason why the Grand Lama Nag-wan eclipsed it by attaching the state oracle to his own and rival monastery De-pung.

Yet Karma-s'ar too receives some direct countenance from government, for on the seventh month of each year its sorcerer proceeds to Serra and delivers there his fore-warnings of portending danger to the church and state for the forthcoming year. He is not celibate, but has received some education and is able to read and write, and has a large following of pupils.

He is extensively consulted about political events, and his deliverances, which are posted up at the south door of his residence at Lhasa as well as at Serra, excite much notice. I quote here a few examples of his oracular responses: —

The dog is unlikely to catch the fox though both may wear off their tails (advice to give up pursuing some small though wily party).

The prancing steed thinking only of himself falls over the cliff (compare with "pride meets a fall").

The eagle's wings bring the fishes under its power.

The fox will become greater than a mountain-like elephant (fortelling advancement of a crafty underling).

The path of the voracious wolf is barred by a serpent.

The grunting pig with upturned tusks frightens the hawk. (This is an excuse for evading reply to the question for fear of offending the authorities.)

A more inferior type of sorcerer is the Lha-Ka (probably Lha-K'a or "God's mouth-piece," also called Ku-t'em-ba. Such are found frequently in western Tibet, and may be females,17 and in which case the woman may marry without hindrance to her profession. These wizards are especially resorted to for the relief of pain.

This exorcist puts on the mirror over the heart, the masker's cope, with the five Bats of Fortune, and the five-partite chaplet of the five Jinas, topped by skulls, a silken girdle (pan-den), and placing a cake on his head, he calls upon Buddha and St. Padma, and offers a libation18 and incense to the demons, and beating a large drum (not a tambourine or hautboy) and cymbals, calls on the several country-gods by name, saying: Na-K'an, dira c'e-den su-so-so! and the advent of the deity is believed to be seen in the mirror. The first to come is the tutelary, who then brings the Nagas, dragon-demi-gods and the Dre, which are the most malignant of all demons.

The divining-arrow is then taken from the plate of flour which had been offered to these demons, and its blunted point is put on the affected part. The Lha-ka exorcist now applies his mouth half-way down the shaft, and sucks forcibly. On this a drop of blood appears over the painful part, without any abrasion of skin, and evidently dropped by sleight of hand from the parti-coloured ribbons of the arrow. It is, however, considered a miracle, and the patient is led to believe that the demon has been expelled from the part.

The commonest sorcerer is called Nag-pa or "the Expert in Incantations." These are very numerous and are more nearly allied than the Ch'o-je to the original type of the Tibetan devil-dancer. But they are not admitted into any of the monasteries of the reformed and semi-reformed sects.

They are usually illiterate, they marry and wear a peculiar dress, the most characteristic part of which is the tall conical hat like that of the orthodox western witch, and pictured at page 475. It has, however, added to it a broad rim of yak-hair and on either side a coiled serpent, and it is surmounted by a vajra-topped skull and peacock feathers with long streamers of the five-coloured silks such as are used with the divining-arrow.

Their special weapons19 for warring with the demons are: —

1. The Phurbu, a dagger of wood or metal to stab the demons. The central portion is in the form of a vajra-thunderbolt which is the part held in the wizard's hand, and the hilt-end is terminated either by a sample fiend's-head, or by the same surmounted by a horse's head, representing the horse-headed tutelary-devil Tam-din.

2. A sword with thunderbolt-hilt.

3. Sling, bows and arrows.

4. The divining-arrow (Dah-dar). This is inserted into a plate of flour offered to the demons. Other appliances are the magic triangle (hun-hun) containing talismanic sentences within which the wish of the votary is inscribed and called lin-ga.

A sash of human bones (rus-rgyan) carved with fiends and mystic symbols is also worn, and as a breast-plate a magic mirror of metal which probably is identical with that found in Taoism and Shintoism.

The commonest necromantic rites are "the closing of the doors to the demons of the earth and sky," the exorcising of the disease-demon, the death ceremonies as a whole, expelling the death-demon, the lay figure of the deceased and its rites, etc., and the exorcising of ghosts. And I here give some details of these rites.

Barring the Door against the Earth-Demons.

The Tibetan genii Loci are worshipped in a way presenting many parallels to the Roman worship of their Lares, the horse-shoe above the door of our old-fashioned houses, and the skull-trophies of the Indo-Chinese.20

The local earth-spirits are named "Master Earth'' or "Earth- Masters,"'21 and are comparable to the terrestrial Nagas of the Hindus. The most malignant are the "gnan" who infest certain trees and rocks, which are always studiously shunned and respected, and usually daubed with paint in adoration.

The earth-demons are innumerable, but they are all under the authority of "Old mother Khon-ma"22 She rides upon a ram, and is dressed in golden yellow robes, and her personal attendant is "Sa-thel-nag-po." In her hand she holds a golden noose, and her face contains eighty wrinkles.

The ceremony of "closing the door of the earth," so frequently referred to in the Lamaist prescriptions, is addressed to her.

In this rite is prepared an elaborate arrangement of masts, and amongst the mystic objects of the emblem the strings, etc.; most prominent is a ram's skull with its attached horns, and it is directed downwards to the earth.

Inside the ram's skull is put some gold leaf, silver, turquoise, and portions of every precious object available, as well as portions of dry eatables, rice, wheat, pulses, etc.

Emblems to Bar the Demons. For the earth-demons / For the sky-demons.

Park'a Khon

On the forehead is painted in ochre-colour23 the geomantic sign of the park'a Khon, on the right jaw the sun, and on the left jaw the moon, and over it are placed masks, around which are wound coloured threads in geometric patterns; also pieces of silk (tarzab) rag, and Chinese brass coins (Ang., "cash") and several wool-knobbed sticks (phan-k'ra).

Along the base are inserted on separate slips of wood the following images, etc.: 1, a man's picture; 2, a woman's picture with a spindle in her hand; 3, a house picture; 4, a tree picture (k'rams'in); 5, figures of the geomantic signs eight Parkha and the nine Mewa.

The whole erection is now fixed to the outside of the house above the door; the object of these figures of a man, wife and house is to deceive the demons should they still come in spite of this offering, and to mislead them into the belief that the foregoing pictures are the inmates of the house, so that they may wreak their wrath on these bits of wood and so save the real human occupants.

Then when all is ready and fixed, the Lama turns to the southwest and chants: —

"O! O! ke! ke! Through the nine series of earths you are known as Old Mother Khon-ma, the mother of all the Sa-dak-po. You are the guardian of the earth's doors. The dainty things which you especially desire we herewith offer, namely, a white skull of a ram, on whose right cheek the sun is shining like burnished gold, and on the left cheek the moon gleams dimly like a conch-shell. The forehead bears the sign of Khon, and the whole is adorned with every sort of silk, wool, and precious things, and it is also given the spell of Khon (here the Lama breathes upon it). All these good things are here offered to you, so please close the open doors of the earth to the family who here has offered you these things, and do not let your servant Sathel ngag-po and the rest of the earth spirits do harm to this family. By this offering let all the doors of the earth be shut. O! O! ke! ke! Let not your servants injure us when we build a house or repair this one, nor when we are engaged in marriage matters, and let everything happen to this family according to their wishes. Do not be angry with us, but do us the favours we ask." Here the priest claps his hands and shouts: —

"Om kharal dok! Om khamrhil dok!24 Benneu swaha!"

Demons of the Sky.

The local-demons of the sky are under the control of "the grandfather of the three worlds" — Old father Khen-pa — who is represented as an old man with snow-white hair, dressed in white robes and riding on the white dog of the sky, and in his hand he carries a crystal wand. He is the "master" of the sky, and the ceremony named nam-go, or "the closing of the doors of the sky," so frequently prescribed by the astrologers, is addressed to him.

Parkha Khen

In it is an arrangement of masts, threads, images, etc., exactly similar to that used for the Earth-demons, the only difference being that in this case a dog's skull is used (note that the dog was especially associated with the analogous Lares worship of the Romans,25) and it is directed upwards, pointing to the sky; and the sign of the parkha painted on the forehead is that of Khen, and is in blue colours. And the ceremony is the same except in its prelude and in the name of the chief servants: —

"O! O! we turn towards the western sun, to the celestial mansion where the sky is of turquoise, to the grandfather of the three worlds — Old Khen-pa, the master of the sky. Pray cause your servant, the white Nam-tel, to work for our benefit, and send the great planet Pemba (Saturn) as a friendly messenger," etc., etc.

Another common ceremony of a necromantic character is that entitled "Prevention from injury by the eight classes (of demons)." These eight classes of spirits have already been noted, and the detailed account of their worship has been given by me elsewhere.26

The demons who produce disease, short of actual death, are called She, and are exorcised by an elaborate ceremony in which a variety of images and offerings are made.27 The officiating Lama invokes his tutelary fiend, and thereby assuming spiritually the dread guise of this king evil, he orders out the disease-demon under threat of getting himself eaten up by the awful tutelary who now possesses the Lama. The demons are stabbed by the mystic dagger purba. Charmed seeds and pebbles, consecrated by muttering spells over them, are thrown at the demon. The charmed seeds are stored in a small horn (t'un-rva), carved with scorpions, caityas and various other symbols in relief.28

The ritual itself is a curious mixture of Indian magic circles with Chinese astrology and necromancy, and has been detailed by me elsewhere.29

Exorciser's Horn

Death Ceremonies.

As the rites in connection with a death include a considerable amount of devil worship, they may be noticed in this place.

On the occurrence of a death the body is not disturbed in any way until the Lama has extracted the soul in the orthodox manner. For it is believed that any movement of the corpse might eject the soul, which then would wander about in an irregular manner and get seized by some demon. On death, therefore, a white cloth is thrown over the face of the corpse, and the soul-extracting Lama ('p'o-bo) is sent for. On his arrival all weeping relatives are excluded from the death-chamber, so as to secure solemn silence, and the doors and windows closed, and the Lama sits down upon a mat near the head of the corpse, and commences to chant the service which contains directions for the soul to find its way to the western paradise of the mythical Buddha — Amitabha.

After advising the spirit to quit the body and its old associations and attachment to property, the Lama seizes with the fore-finger and thumb a few hairs of the crown of the corpse, and plucking these forcibly, he is supposed to give vent to the spirit of the deceased through the roots of these hairs; and it is generally believed that an actual but invisibly minute perforation of the skull is thus made, through which the liberated spirit passes.

The spirit is then directed how to avoid the dangers which beset the road to the western paradise, and it is then bid god-speed. This ceremony lasts about an hour.

In cases where, through accident or otherwise, the body of the deceased is not forthcoming, the operation for extraction of the soul is done by the Lama in spirit while he sits in deep meditation.

Meanwhile the astrologer-Lama has been requisitioned for a death-horoscope, in order to ascertain the requisite ages and birth- years of those persons who may approach and touch the corpse, and the necessary particulars as to the date and mode of burial, as well as the worship which is to be done for the welfare of the surviving relatives.

The nature of such a horoscope will best be understood by an actual example, which I here give. It is the death-horoscope of a little girl of two years of age, who died at Darjiling in 1890.


The year of birth of this female was the Bull-year, with which the Snake and the Sheep are in conflict; therefore those individuals born in the Snake and the Sheep year cannot approach the corpse. The death-demon was hiding in the house inside certain coloured articles, and he now has gone to a neighbouring house where there is a family of five with cattle and dogs (therefore that other family needs to do the necessary worship). The death-demon will return to the house of the deceased within three months; so there must be done before that time the "a-de-kha-gyur" service.

Her Park'a being Dva in relation to her death, it is found that her spirit on quitting her body entered her loin girdle and a sword. [In this case the affected girdle was cast away and the sword was handed over to the Lama.] Her life was taken to the east by Tsan and king demons, and her body died in the west; therefore, small girls, cousins, sisters and brothers in that house will be harmed. The deceased's death was due to Iron. And the death-demon came from the south and has gone to the east.

Her Mewa gives the "3rd Indigo blue." Thus it was the death- demon of the deceased's paternal grandfather and grandmother who caused her death; therefore take (1) a Sats-ts'a (a miniature earthern caitya), and (2) a sheep's head, and (3) earth from a variety of sites, and place these upon the body of the deceased, and this evil will be corrected.

The Day of her Death was Friday. Take to the north-west a leather bag or earthern pot in which have been placed four or five coloured articles, and throw it away as the death-demon goes there. The death having so happened, it is very bad for old men and women. On this account take a horse's skull,30 or a serpent's skull31 and place it upon the corpse.

Her Death Star is Gre. Her brother and sister who went near to her are harmed by the death-messenger (s'in-je). Therefore an ass's skull and a goat's skull must be placed on the corpse.

Her Death Hour was soon after sunset. And in the twelfth month her life was cut. The death-demon therefore arrived in the earthern cooking pot and bowl of a man and woman visitor dressed in red who came from the south. Thus the deceased's father and mother are harmed, and especially so if either is born in the Sheep-year.

Precautions to secure a Good Re-birth. — It is necessary to prepare an image of Vajrapani, Vajrasattva, and before these to have prayer32 done for the good re-birth of the girl's spirit. If this be done, then she will be re-born in the house of a rich man in the west.

For deceased's Spirit. — It is necessary to get the Lamas to read the service (smon-lam) praying for re-birth in the Paradise of Sukhavati.

For Survivors of family.— It is necessary to have read the prayers for long life, viz., "ts'e-mdo" and "ts'e-gzuns.''

Directions for Removal of Corpse. — Those who remove the corpse must have been born in the Dog or the Dragon year. The body must be taken outside of the house on the morning of the third day following the death, and it must be carried to the south-west, and be buried (not burned, or abandoned to birds or dogs).

On obtaining this death-horoscope the body is tied up in a sitting posture by the auspicious person indicated by the horoscope, and placed in a corner of the room which is not already occupied by the house-demon.

Notice is sent to all relatives and friends within reach, and these collect within two or three days and are entertained with food of rice, vegetables, etc., and a copious supply of murwa beer and tea. This company of visitors remain loitering in and around the house, doing great execution with hand-prayer-wheels and muttering the "Om-mani" until the expulsion of the death-demon, which follows the removal of the body, and in which ceremony they all have to join. The expense of the entertainment of so large a company is of course considerable.

During this feasting, which is suggestive of an Irish "wake," the deceased is always, at every meal, offered his share of what is going, including tobacco, etc. His own bowl is kept filled with beer and tea and set down beside the corpse, and a portion of all the other eatables is always offered to him at meal times; and after the meal is over his portion is thrown away, as his spirit is supposed to have extracted all the essence of the food, which then no longer contains nutriment, and is fit only to be thrown away. And long after the corpse has been removed, his cup is regularly filled with tea or beer even up till the forty-ninth day from death, as his spirit is free to roam about for a maximum period of forty- nine days subsequent to death.

And to feed the manes of the deceased is done a sacrifice for the dead, called Tin-s'ag, suggestive of the Indian Buddhist practice of Avalambana33 and the Hindu rite of Sradh.34 In this sacrifice a cake and a quantity of rice are thrown into the nearest stream or river, after having called the spirits by means of a small gong struck by a horn, and the chanting by six or more Lamas of the cake-offering-service,35 followed by the repetition by them of a mantra to the number if possible of 100,000 times.36

The soul is now assisted in winging its way to the western paradise by a group of Lamas who chant by relays all night and day the litany for sending the soul directly to that paradise. And a special reading of this service by the assembled monks in the neighbouring monastery is also arranged for by those who can afford the expense.

Summoning the Hungry Demons

One or more Lamas also read over the corpse the guide37 for the spirit's passage through the valley of horrors intervening between death and a new re-birth. This passage is somewhat suggestive of Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress," only the demons and dangers which beset the way are much more numerous and awful. Full directions are read out for the benefit of the deceased as to how to avoid these pitfalls and ogres, and how to find the proper white coloured path which alone leads to a good re-birth.

It is, however, rather incongruous to find that while the Lama reading this service is urging the spirit to bestir itself to the necessary exertions for a good re-birth, the other Lama by his side in the De-wa-chan service is sending the spirit direct to the western paradise — a non-Buddhist invention which is outside the regions of re-birth.

At this stage it often happens, though it is scarcely considered orthodox, that some Lamas find, as did Maudgalayana by his second-sight, consulting their lottery-books, that the spirit has been sent to hell, and the exact compartment in hell is specified. Then must be done a most costly service by a very large number of Lamas. First of all is done "virtue" on behalf of the deceased; this consists in making offerings to the Three Collections, namely: To the Gods (sacred food, lamps, etc.); to the Lamas (food and presents); to the Poor (food, clothes, beer, etc.).

The virtue resulting from these charitable acts is supposed to tell in favour of the spirit in hell. Then many more expensive services must be performed, and especially the propitiation of "The Great Pitying One," for his intercession with the king of hell (a form of himself) for the release of this particular spirit. Avalokita is behind to terminate occasionally the torment of tortured souls by casting a lotus-flower at them. Even the most learned and orthodox Lamas believe that by celebrating these services the release of a few of the spirits actually in hell may be secured.38 But in practice every spirit in hell for whom its relatives pay sufficiently may be released by the aid of the Lamas. Sometimes a full course of the necessary service is declared insufficient, as the spirit has only got a short way out of hell, — very suggestive of the story of the priest and his client in Lever's story, — and then additional expense must be incurred to secure its complete extraction.

Before removing the corpse from the house, an especial feast of delicacies, including pork and drink of sorts, are set before it. And a Lama presenting a "scarf of honour" to the corpse thus addresses it: —

"You! (and here the deceased's name is stated) now have received from your relatives all this good food and drink; partake freely of its essence, as you shall not have any more chances! For you must understand that you have died, and your spirit must be gone from here, and never come back again to trouble or injure your relatives. Remember the name of your Lama-teacher, which is _____, and by his aid take the right path — the white one. Come this way!"

Then the Lama with a thigh-bone trumpet in the one hand and a hand-drum in the other, and taking the end of a long white scarf,39 the other end of which has been tied to the corpse, he precedes the carrier of the corpse blowing his trumpet and beating the drum and chanting a liturgy. This scene is figured in the Wheel of Life, in the upper part of its human compartment.

He frequently looks back to invite the spirit to accompany the body, which he assures it is being led in the right direction. And the corpse-bearer is followed by the rest of the procession, some bearing refreshments, and last of all come the weeping relatives. The ceremony of guiding the deceased's spirit is only done for the laity — the spirits of deceased Lamas are credited with a knowledge of the proper path, and need no such instruction. The body is usually carried to the top of a hillock for burial or cremation.

The corpse is cremated with much ceremony, including some interesting worship of the Fire-god Agni, as well as of Avalokita, the Great-hearted Pitying Lord.40

But the cremation or interment of the corpse does not terminate the death-rites. There needs still to be made a masked lay figure of the deceased, and the formal burning of the mask and the expulsion from the house of the death-demon and other rites.

Expelling The Death-Demon.

This rite for expelling from the house and locality the demon who caused the death must be done within two days after the removal of the corpse. It is called "The turning away of the face of the Destroying Devil."41

This ceremony, of the nature of a sacrifice, as well as exorcism, has been detailed by me elsewhere.42

The Lay Figure of Deceased, and its Rites.

The day on which the corpse was removed a lay figure of the deceased is made by dressing a stool or block of wood in the clothes of the deceased, and as a face a mask is inserted of printed paper,43 here figured. Schlagintweit, in giving a specimen of one form of this print,44 has mistaken its meaning. The figure in the centre is not "the Lord of the Genii of Fire," but it is merely intended to represent the spirit of the deceased person who sits or kneels, and sometimes with the legs bound, in an attitude of adoration. And before this paper figure, occupying the position of the face, are set all sorts of food and drink as was done to the actual corpse.

This seems essentially a Bon-pa rite, and is referred to as such in the histories of St. Padma, as being practised by the Bon, and as having incurred the displeasure of St. Padmasambhava, the founder of Lamaism.

The Effigy of the Dead Person.
1. Mirror.
2. Conch.
3. Lyre.
4. Vase with flowers.
5. Holy Cake.

The Lamas then do the service of the eight highest Buddhas of Medicine, and also continue the service of the western paradise.

Next day the Lamas depart, to return once a week for the repetition of this service until the forty-nine days of the ghostly limbo have expired; but it is usual to intermit one day of the first week, and the same with the succeeding periods, so as to get the worship over within a shorter time. Thus the Lamas return after six, five, four, three, two, and one days respectively, and thus conclude this service in about three weeks instead of the full term of forty-nine days.

Meanwhile the lay figure of the deceased remains in the house in its sitting posture, and is given a share of each meal until the service is concluded by the burning of the mask.

On the conclusion of the full series of services, the paper-mask is ceremoniously burned in the flame of a butter-lamp, and the spirit is thus given its final conge. And according to the colour and quality of the flame and mode of burning is determined the fate of the spirit of deceased, and this process usually discovers the necessity for further courses of worship.45

The ashes of this burned paper are carefully collected in a plate and are then mixed with clay to form one or more miniature Caityas named Sa-tsch'a.46 One of these is retained for the household altar, and the others are carried to any hill near at hand, where they are deposited under a projecting ledge of a rock, to shelter them from the disintegrating rain.

On the burning of this paper the lay figure of the deceased is dismantled, and the clothes are presented to the Lamas, who carry them off and sell them to any purchasers available and appropriate the proceeds.

Alter the lapse of one year from death it is usual to give a feast in honour of the deceased and to have repeated the service of the medical Buddhas. On the conclusion of this service, should the deceased have left a widow or widower, the latter is then free to re-marry.

To Exorcise Ghosts.

The manes of the departed often trouble the Tibetans as well as other peoples,47 and special rites are necessary to "lay" them and bar their return. A ghost is always malicious, and it returns and gives trouble either on account of its malevolence, or its desire to see how its former property is being disposed of. In either case its presence is noxious. It makes its presence felt in dreams or by making some individual delirious or temporarily insane. Such a ghost is disposed of by being burned.48

For the foregoing necromantic services the dough images required as sacrificial effigies are made from wooden moulds, and the practice is evidently borrowed from the Bon-pa rites which entailed sacrifices of animal life. But instead of the animals themselves only their dough-images are now offered. At page 424 are given ink prints from the original dough moulds, reduced to one-fourth of their size; the moulds are carved in longitudinal series on the four faces of a block of wood. The Bon-pa moulds are called "The God's food to go to the Thousand."49

Rain Compelling.
Even the so-called reformer of Lamaism, Tson-K'a-pa, seems himself to have practised sorcery. The orthodox mode of compelling rain in use by the established church is identified with his name; and is done, according to the instructions contained in a book50 of which he is the accredited author, and which seems to be based upon the Naga worship as contained in the Sutra "on asking Rain of the Great Cloud,"51 and may be compared with the method used by the Mongols.52

The officiating Lama bathes and cleans the place of worship and sets down an image of Tson-K'a-pa and non- poisonous flowers, grains and a white cake, and a jewelled vase (or if no jewelled vase a pure white one may be used washed over with chalk and sandal wood), and inside the vase place pellets made of dough, spice and flowers, and over each ball say the mantra of Yama or Tson- K'a-pa53 one hundred and eight times (or twenty-one or seven times), and blow over it and insert all the pellets in the vase and cover it by a red cloth and thus address the Nagas: —

"O! all ye Nagas great and small I come not to harm you but to ask rain for the good of the world, and especially for this place. It is the command of Tson-K'a-pa that ye obey. And if you do not, then by my mantra spells I will break your heads to atoms. Give it therefore without delay and leave not this place till rain falls."

Then he places three stones at each of the four corners and repeats the names of the Jinas or celestial Buddhas of the four directions. And he conceals the vase and its pellets in the water of a spring in such a way that it cannot be seen; and he erects in front a small white tent, within which he places St. Tson-K'a-pa's image, and the five kinds of offerings (cake, water, flowers, lamps, fruit and grain). And he calls on the location-god for assistance and goes on repeating Tson-K'a-pa's mantra and conceives that on each lamp a glorious image of Tson-K'a-pa appears seated upon a Naga and raining down cleansing ambrosia upon them, and that they sparkle with delight and dart their lightning into the sky where clouds gather and the thunder-dragons roar, and rain falls. Then, naively adds the scripture, real rain will certainly come.

Thunder Dragons of the Sky



1  "Pirit," as practised by the southern Buddhists, is a reading of certain scriptures as an exorcism against evil spirits in sickness. It addresses itself to "all spirits here assembled," and says: "therefore hear me, O ye spirits! Be friendly to the race of men; for every day and night they bring you their offerings; therefore keep diligent watch over them. Ye spirits, etc.'' (Hardy's E. Mon.). Nagasena in Milinda (circa,150 A.D.) is made to say, "The blessed one, O king . . . sanctioned Pirit. And Rhys Davids (Milinda, p. 213), commenting on this remark, states: This is the oldest text in which the use of the service is referred to. Put the word Paritta (Pirit) is used Kullawgga, v., 6, on an asseveration of love; for snakes to be used as what is practically a charm against snake-bite, and that is attributed to the Buddha. The particular Suttas, Ratani Sutta, Khanda-paritta, Mora paritta Dhagagga-paritta, and the Atanatiya-paritta, and the Anguli-mala paritta, and passages here referred to are all in the Pitakas.
Cf. also a manual of exorcism used in Ceylon, entitled Piruwana-pota. — Hardy's East Mon., p. 20, 30.
2 It will be interesting to find whether the dancing orgies of the Ceylon Buddhists are in any way related to those of northern Buddhism. The descriptions of Callaway are insufficient for this purpose. They show, however, that Yama the Death king figures prominently in the dances.
3 Koppen, ii., 260.

4 rgyal-po.

5 The mode of worshipping these "kings" and the offerings most acceptable to them are detailed in the book Ku-na gyal-pou Kan-Sag. "Confession to the five sacred Kings" and "Confession (Kan-Sag) to the Incarnate Great Ch'o-Kyon."

6 rgyal-po-sku-nga. These are said to have been the kings of the east, mystically called "the Body" and resident at Sam-yia, the king of the west, entitled the Speech, resident at Na-ch'un, the king of the north, the Deeds, resident at Norbu-gan and  of the south, the Learning, resident at Gah-dong, eight miles west of Lhasa, and of  the centre (? Lamo). Schlagintweit (p. 157) names them, "Bihar Ch'oichon Da-lha  Luvan and Tokchoi," but this seems to include divinities of other classes.
7 About seven miles west of De pung.

8 Cf. also tin- vernacular literature: gSer-p'ren; gyu p'ren; dnul p'ren, and the deb-ther of Na-ch'un temple, and of Reting gyal po.

9 Hor-pa lha of the Bada sgom-kaw order.

10 gNam-t'b dKar-po.

11 Although he is specially associated with monasteries it is unlikely that his name is a corruption of Bihar (Vihara), as it is spelt dpe-har, and he has Tibetan attributes.
12  The legend states that the spirit of Pehar entered into a resident of Ts'al-gun- t'an, and said to a Lama named Z'an, "Let us go to Udyana (the country of Padma-sambhava)." The Lama then shut up the possessed man in a box, which he flung into the river Kyi. Now the abbot of De-pung had prophesied the previous day to his pupils, saying, "A box will float down the river, go find it and seize it." The pupils found the box and brought it to the spot where the Na-ch'un temple now stands, namely, about one mile to the S.E. of De-pung, and there they opened it, and lo! a great fire came out and disappeared into a tree, and the dead body of a man was found in the box; but by the prayers of the abbot the spirit consented to return to the body. And the resuscitated corpse, refusing to enter the pure monastery of De-pung on the plea of being uncelibate, requested to be granted "a small dwelling" where he stood — hence the name of the place Na-ch'un or "the small dwelling." And the identical tree is still to be seen there.

13 bde-yans gra-gtsan.
14 ts'ogs-ch'en z'al-'no.
15 Entitled Lon-po rdo-rje drag-ldan.
16  Or rKar-ma-K'ya.
17 They somewhat resemble the Nan-jorma and Pa-o of Sikhim, but are not devil- dancers like the latter. Compare also with the witchlike priestesses called "Day- gals'' of the Hunza tribes mentioned by Dr. Leitner as the mediums of the divine pleasure and supernatural presence being manifest by ringing of bells, etc.

18 ser-skyem.
19 They are called zor, and the edge or point directed against the demons is Zor-kha.
20 Certain Himalayan tribes (e.g. the Limbu), and the Lushais (Riebeck's Chittagong Hill Tribes, Lond., 1882), place skulls of animals outside their dwellings. These, I believe, are intended less as trophies than as charms against spirits.

21 Sa-bdag-po.

22 Apparently derived from the Chinese name of the Pa'Kwa for "earth."

23 The symbolic colour of the earth.
24 "The images of men and women made of wool were hung in the streets, and so  many balls made of wool as there were servants in the family, and so many complete  images as there were children (Festus pud Lil. Gyr). The meaning of which custom  was this: These feasts were dedicated to the Lares, who were esteemed infernal  gods; the people desiring hereby that these gods would be contented with these  woollen images and spare the persons represented by them. These Lares sometimes  were clothed in the skins of dogs (Plutarch, in Prob.) and weir sometimes fashioned in  the shape of dogs (Plautus), whence that creature was consecrated to them." — Tooke's  Pantheon, p. 280.
25 The meaning of the "dok" is "let all evils be annihilated!"

26 Lamaism in Sikhim.

27 gsed.
28 For the Tartar mode of exorcising disease-demons, cf. Huc., i. 75.

29 Lamaism in Sikhim.
30 A fragment of such a skull or its image made of dough is usually all that is used.

31 Dough also will do.

32 It has frequently been asserted that no prayer is practised in Lamaism. This is not true: real prayer is frequently done; the word used here is gsol-wa-gtab.
33 As a festival (in China on the fifteenth day of the seventh month), cf. Eitel Handb. "Ulamba"; Beal, The Oriental, Nov. 6th, 1875, showing that the Avalambana sutra of sacrifice for the dead was translated into Chinese, circa 205 A.D. Also in Ceylon, Hardy's Man., p. 59. It is still kept in Europe: "Even at the cemetery of Pere Lachaise, they still put cakes and sweetmeats on the graves; and in Brittany the peasants do not forget to make up the fire, and leave the fragments of the supper on the table for the souls of the dead of the family who will come to visit their home." Tylor's Anthrop., p. 351.

34 Theatre of the Hindus, i., 322, n.

35 Namo sarva Tathagata Avalokita om Sambhara hum.

36 On feeding the corpse, cf., Taylor's Prim. Cult., i., 482; Spencer's Sociology, i., 157, 208; Farrer's Primitive Manners, 21; Lady Wildes, Irish Legends, 118, 140.
37  t'os-grol.
38 Cf. page 98 for Maudgalayana releasing his mother.
39 The scarf used in the funeral procession may probably represent the Chinese hurin-fan, or "soul's banner," which is carried before the coffin in China.

40 As detailed in the book "the deliverance of the entire animal (world) by the revered Great Pitying One ('gro-wa-Kun-grol)."

41 Za-'dre K'a-sgyur.

42 Lamaism in Sikkim; part of its ritual is the following: —

On a small wooden platform is made the image of a tiger by means of the grass and mud plaster; it is fashioned in a walking attitude, with mouth wide open. The mouth and tusks are made of a dough, and the body is coloured with yellow and brown stripes, in imitation of a tiger's markings, and around its neck is tied a rope of threads of five colours.

Then a small image of a man is made by kneaded dough, in which are incorporated filings from the alloy of the five precious things. Into the belly of this image, which is called "the eating-demon," is inserted a piece of paper, on which is written the following banishing spell: "Go, thou devouring devil, having your face turned to the enemy!" It is then clad in pieces of silk, and is placed sitting astride the tiger's back.

Another figure is of human form, but with the head of a bird. Its face is painted red, in its belly is inserted paper on which is written, "You devouring devil, don't remain in this village, but go to the enemy's country." It is then placed in front of the tiger, and is made to hold the free end of the rope attached to the tiger's neck, as a groom.

Another figure of human shape, but with an ape's head, is placed behind as driver ...

Then around these figures strew morsels of every kind of eatables, grains, fruits, spices, including raw meat and wine; also a few small coins of silver and copper.

The following weapons are then enchanted for the conflict, viz., pieces of iron, copper, small stones, preferably of white and black colours, grains, the root of rampu for the use of the Lamas. And for the lay army of the household and neighbours, a sword, knives, reaping hook, yak's tail, a rope of yak's hair with hook at end as figured with the fierce Gon-pa-demons.

When these preparations are completed and the sun has set — for demons can only move in the darkness — then the ceremony begins. The head Lama invokes his tutelary deity to assist him in the expulsion of the death-demon. And with an imprecatory gesture blows his breath spiritualized by his tutelary deity upon the images. And the other Lamas loudly beat a large drum, cymbals and a pair of thigh-bone trumpets. And the laymen armed with the aforementioned weapons loudly shout and wildly cut the air with their weapons, crying "Begone!"

After a long incantation the Lama concludes: "O death-demon do thou now leave this house and go and oppress our enemies. We have given you food, fine clothes and money. Now be off far from here! Begone to the country of our enemies!! Begone!!!" And the Lama smites his palms together, while the other Lamas beat their drums, etc., and the laymen wield their weapons, shouting "Begone!" "Begone!" Amid all this uproar the platform containing the image and its attendants is lifted up by a layman, one of the relatives, selected according to the astrologer's indications, who holding it breast high, at arm's length, carries it outside, attended by the Lamas and laity, shouting "Begone!" and flourish their weapons. And it is carried off for about one-eighth of a mile in the direction prescribed by the astrologer of the enemy of the people, and deposited, if possible, at a site where four roads meet.

Meanwhile, to make sure that the demon is not yet lurking in some corner of the room, the sorcerer-Lama (Ngag-pa) remains behind with a dorje in his right hand and a bell in his left, and with the dorje he makes frantic passes in all directions, muttering spells, and with the forefinger and thumb of the right hand, without relinquishing the dorje, he throws in all directions hot peebles which have been toasted in the fire, muttering his charms, and concludes: —

"Dispel from this family all the sorceric injury of Pandits and Bons!! etc. Turn all these to our enemy! Begone!" Afterwards the Lama, addressing the people, says, "Now by these angry spells the demon is expelled! O! Happiness!" Then the people triumphantly shout: "God has won! The Demons are defeated!!"
43 mts'an-spyan, or "Jan-ku." Compare with the mortuary masks of ancient Greeks, North American Indians, and E. R. Emerson's Masks, Heads, and Faces, pp. 152, etc. Its inscription usually runs: —

"I, the world-departing One, .... (and here is inserted name of the deceased), adore and take refuge in my Lama-confessor, and all the deities, both mild and wrathful, and 'the Great Pitier' forgive my accumulated sins and impurities of former lives, and show me the right way to another good world!"

And in the margin or adown the middle of the figure are inscribed in symbolic form —by the initial letter of the Sanskrit title -- the sixth states of rebirth, viz., su = Sura, a god; a = asura, Na = Nara or man, Tri = Triyak or beast, Pre = preta or Ghost, Hum = hell. (This also is a mystic interpretation of Avalokita's mantra, the sixth syllable of which is made to mean hell, and is coloured black.)

Around the figure are depicted "the five excellent sensuous things," viz., (1) body (as a mirror), (2) sound (as cymbals, a conch, and sometimes a lyre), (3) smell (a vase of flowers), (4) essence or nutriment (holy cake), (5) dress (silk clothes, etc.).

44 Op. cit., p. 252.
45 The directions for noting and interpreting the signs of this burning paper are contained in a small pamphlet which I have translated, entitled: "The mode of Divining the signs of The Flames during the Burning of the 'Chang' paper," which I have translated in full in Lamaism in Sikhim. It begins: —

Salutation to "Ch'e-mch'og, Heruka, "or the "The most Supreme Heruka!" The marking of the five colours of the flames is as follows: —

If the flames be white and shining, then he has become perfect and is born in the highest region of Ok-min (i.e., The supreme paradise).

If the flames be white and burn actively with round tops, then he has become pious and is born in the eastern "mngon-dgah," or "The Paradise of Real Happiness."

If they burn in an expanded form, resembling a lotus (padma), then he has finished his highest deeds and has become religious.

If they be yellow in colour and burn in the shape of "rgyal-mtshan," or "Banner of Victory," then he has become religious nobly.

If they be red in colour and in form like a lotus, then he has become religious and is born in bde-wa-chan, or "The Paradise of Happiness."

If they be yellow in colour and burn actively with great, masses of smoke, then he is born in the region of the lower animals, for counteracting which a gtsug-lag-khang, or "An Academy," and an image of the powerful and able Dhyani Buddha (snang-par- snang-mdsad) should be made; then he will be born as a chief in the middle country (i.e., The Buddhist Holy Land in India) ....

46 Representing the dharma sarira of Indian Buddhism.
47 On barring the return of ghosts, cf. Wilson's Essays, ii., 292; Tyler's Prim. Cult, ii., 126; Spencer's Principles of Sociology, i., 147. The Chinese call the Dead or Manes of men Kwei, alleged to mean the malicious two-legged ghost (Jas Legge, The Religs. of China, p, 13), showing that they did nt think that man when he was dead had all ceased to be.

48 For this purpose a very large gathering of Lamas is necessary, not less than eight, and a "burnt offering" (sbyin-sregs) is made. On a platform of mud and stone outside the house is made, with the usual rites, a magic-circle or "kyil-'khor," and inside this is drawn a triangle named "hun-hun." Small sticks are then laid along the outline of the triangle, one piled above the other, so as to make a hollow three-sided pyramid, and around this are piled up fragments of every available kind of food, stone, tree-twigs, leaves, poison, bits of dress, money, etc., to the number of over 100 sorts. Then oil is poured over the mass, and the pile set on fire. During the combustion additional fragments of the miscellaneous ingredients reserved for the purpose are thrown in, from time to time, by the Lamas, accompanied by a muttering of spells. Ami ultimately is thrown into the flames a piece of paper on which is written the name of the deceased person -- always a relative -- whose ghost is to be suppressed. When this paper is consumed the particular ghost has received its quietus, and never can give trouble again.
49 sTton-rgyas lha-bsans.

50 dmigs brtse-mai las ts'ogs.

51 bc'ig las c'ar 'bebs skor. Compare with The Mahamegha Sutra, translated by Prof. C. Bendall, J.R.A.S., xii., pp. 288-311.

52 Among the Mongols the soothsayers throw bezoar stones on the water and these produce vapor, which it is pretended is the element of clouds — but they don't operate unless the sky looks rainy, and if they fail they excuse themselves on the plea that other magicians have counteracted them. E. Rehatsek, Bombay Br. R. A. S. Jour. xiii., p. 188.

53 The so-called Mig-tse-ma: —

dmigs med brtse pahi gter ch'en spyan-ras gzigs
Dri-med mk'yen-pahi dbang po 'jam-pai 'byans
Gans ch'an mk'as pai gtsug rgyan Ts'on-k'a-pa
bLo-bzan grags pahi z'abs la gsol-wa-'debs.
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Re: The Buddhism of Tibet, or Lamaism With Its Mystic Cults

Postby admin » Thu Jan 30, 2020 3:56 am


THE regular Buddhist festivals1 are all found in Lamaism, and many more besides of an indigenous and local origin, related to demonist cults, or the worship of Nature.

Originally, in Buddha's day, the days of the new2 and full moon were set apart for fasting, confession, and listening to the Law, and this institution is strictly observed in Lamaism.

On the first and fifteenth days of each lunar month no animal food should be taken, even by the laity, and no animal killed,3 and only on these days are many of the great cathedrals and temples in Tibet open to the public. These days, however, were afterwards increased to three or four,4 so that many monks observe a fast four days monthly, and hence has arisen the idea of some writers that there is a Tibetan Sabbath5; though the public service and confession6 (Uposatha) are only done as a rule twice a month.7 But every month is held a high mass or celebration of divine service in honour of a special deity or saint. And in addition are the great festivals in which the laity also take part.

The special feasts for the deities and saints of the established church at Lhasa are here enumerated. The Tibetan year, it should be remembered, begins about the end of January, so that the Tibetan month is thus about one month later than ours.

First month. — On the eighth day is Tagon, and from the ninth to fifteenth the liturgy of the great tutelary fiend Bhairava.

Second month. — On the eighth is Tagon, and from the ninth to fifteenth is the liturgy of "The Medical Buddhas."

Third month. — On the fifteenth is Tagon, and from the sixteenth to twenty-second is the celebration of Tu-K'or.

Fourth month. — On the eighth is Tagon, and from the ninth to fifteenth the worship of "The Great Pitier."

Fifth month. — On the third is Tagon, and from the fourth to tenth is the liturgy of the tutelary fiend Sambhara.

Sixth month. — On the first is Tagon, and from the second to fourth rab-gnas, and from ninth to fifteenth is the "white Tara's" liturgy.

Seventh month. — On the eighth is Tagon, and from the ninth to fifteenth is the liturgy of Mi-'krugs-pa.

Eighth month.— On the eighth is Tagon, and from the ninth to fifteenth the liturgy of "The nine gods of Immortality."

Ninth month.— From the first to fifteenth the Kah-gyur scriptures are read, and from the seventeenth to twenty-third is the service of "The Dead Saints," the Sthavira.

Tenth month. — On the eighth is Tagon, and from the ninth to fifteenth is the worship of the tutelary fiend Guhyakala, and on the twenty-fifth is the service of "The Five" of Gah-ldan monastery.

Eleventh month. — On the twenty-second is Tagon, and from the twenty-third to twenty-ninth is the celebration of the Tor-gyak of the fiendish lords.

Twelfth month. — On the twenty-second is Tagon, and on the twenty-ninth day of the month begins the great carnival and masquerade of "Drug-bc'u lchags-mk'ar-gyi gtor rgyags."

An interesting glimpse into the Lamaist feasts of saints and divinities as current in the thirteenth century is given by Marco Polo. The Venetian traveller says: —

When the idol festivals come round these Bacsi (Lamas) go to the prince and say, "Sire, the feast of such a god is come (naming him). My lord, you know that this god, when he gets no offerings, always sends bad weather and spoils our seasons. So we pray you to give us such and such a number of black-faced sheep, and we beg also that we may have such a quantity of incense, etc., etc., that we may perform a solemn service and great sacrifice to our idols, and that so they may be induced to protect us and all that is ours." The great kaan then orders the barons to give everything the Bacsi have asked for. And when they have got those articles they go and make a great feast in honour of their god, and hold great ceremonies of worship, with grand illuminations, and quantities of incense of a variety of aromatic odours. And they cook the meat and set it by the idols, and sprinkle the broth hither and thither, saying that in this way the idols get their bellyful. Thus it is that they keep their festivals. Each of the idols has a name of his own and a feast-day, just as our saints have their anniversaries.

It is not easy to give a categorical list of the great popular festivals of the Lamas, for the Tibetans, unlike the Chinese8 and Japanese, do not seem to possess printed lists of their feast-days, and the particular event which certain of the days devoted to Buddha is intended to commemorate is not generally known.

As much confusion has been caused by the official new year differing in its epoch from the popular styles, and further disorder is introduced by the official Tibetan style differing from the Chinese, the order of the months in the latter being about two months earlier, the following list, therefore, has been compiled by me from somewhat conflicting information supplied by different Lamas, and can only be considered approximate. Some of the feasts, such as the Water-festival, are moveable, as mentioned in the text.

List of the Chief Lamaist Festivals.

Month. / Day. / Festival.

1st. / 1st. / Carnival. 

1st / 15th / Buddha's Incarnation or Conception.9 Feast of Flowers.

2nd. / 29th. / Chase and Expulsion of the "Scape-goat," Demon of Bad Luck.

3rd. / 15th. / The Kalacakra Revelation10 and Sacred Masquerades.

4th. / 8th. / "Attainment of Buddhahood." Great Renunciation.11

4th. / 15th. / Buddha's Death, or parinirvana.12 Feast of the Dead, "All Souls Day."

5th. / 5th. / The Medical Buddhas.13

5th / 10th. / Birth of St. Padma-sambhava.14

6th / 5th. / Buddha's Birth and Preaching,15 and "The Picture Feast."

7th. / 10th. / Birth of St. Padma-sambhava (according to Sikhim style).

8th. / 8th. / The Water-festival, Rib- Chi.

9th. / 22nd. / Descent from Heaven.16

10th. / 25th. / St. Tson-K'a-pa's Ascension.17 Feast of Lanterns.

11th. / 1st. / New Year, Old Style.

12th. / 29th. / Pantomime and expulsion of Old Year.

The Tibetan new-year was formerly celebrated about the winter solstice in what is now the eleventh month, when the larders were full,18 and no field work possible in the snow-bound country, and the days first show signs of lengthening. The return of the sun, so to say, has at such a season been celebrated by every nation of any culture. This was the period for popular festivity and general joy.

Since the government adopted a later date for the new year, namely, about the beginning of February,19 most of the people have transferred their festivities to the new date, which is known as the "royal new year"20 in contradistinction to the old style, now called "The cultivators' new year."21

This altered date, February to the beginning of March, makes the "new year" a spring festival. Its gay carnival is doubtless an expression of the self-same feelings, inspired by spring upon the animate and inanimate world, which prompted the analogous Roman festivals of Lupercalia, the Festum Stultorum, the Matronalia Festa, the worship of the goddess Anna Perenna, and the festival of Bacchus, all held about the same season, during the month of February and the first fortnight of March, and represented in India by the Holi festival.

With new-year's eve commences a grand carnival, which lasts the greater part of the first month. The people decorate their doorways and houses with boughs of juniper, etc., prepare puddings, and lay in a stock of wine, and pass the time eating, drinking, dancing,22 singing, and games,23 combined with as much praying as they may feel inclined for. The people flock from the smaller villages into the larger towns, and the Lamas contribute to the general amusement by masquerades and pompous processions, in the intervals of their worship for the general welfare.

The new year is ushered in with high carousal, and first footing and health-drinking are the order of the day, and everyone is pressed to partake of sweet cakes and puddings, more or less gaily decorated, and beer and wine ad libitum [as much as is desired].24

And while this festivity lasts, that is, during the first four or six weeks of the year, the temporal government of the city of Lhasa is removed from its usual custodians, and placed in the hands of the priests of De-pung monastery, the chief of whom becomes for the time rex sacrorum [king of the sacred things], as with the Romans. It is possible that this is a political sop to the most powerful monastery of the established church in Tibet to reconcile it to its exclusion from the ordinary government of the country, which is now restricted to the four monasteries in Lhasa called Lings.

The Lama, who is chief judge25 of De-pung, proceeds to Lhasa in state on the third day of this month, and assumes the sovereignty of the city. He is received with regal honours, and incense is burned before him wherever he goes; and on his arrival at Lhasa all prisoners are set free except those convicted of the most aggravated crimes.

During his dominion he holds absolute power over property, life, and death; and assisted by thirty deputies, he inflicts severe punishments and heavy fines for trifling offences, to the financial benefit of his monastery. It is said that many of his retainers commit excesses, so that such of the richer classes as may have incurred, or have reason to believe that they have incurred, the displeasure of De-pung Lamas, leave the city and live in its suburbs during this period of priestly rule.

The poorer classes, usually so dirty, now sweep and whitewash their houses through fear of punishment by Lamas for uncleanness. So long as these Lamas govern Lhasa they are feasted at the public expense or by the richer people,26 and are entertained with sports.

One of the duties of this Rex Sacrorum is to deliver a series of lectures to the assembled monks on religious history, philosophy, and polity; and he is credited with divine powers.

Lhasa, during this festival, contains, it is said, over 30,000 monks,27 from Serra, De-pung, Gah-ldan, etc., so that the city seems red with the red cloaks of the Lamas. They are engaged the greater part of the day in worship for the general welfare of the country and people.

Public worship is done daily in the great cathedral of Lhasa during the first half of the month, from before dawn till after dark, and clouds of incense fill the air. The especially holy days are the third, eighth, tenth, thirteenth, and the fifteenth, or full moon, which latter day is the greatest gala day of the year, and seems to be considered the anniversary of Buddha's conception, and "the goddess" evidently intended for Buddha's mother, Maya Deva, is worshipped with red flowers,28 and it is believed that divine blessings if then asked for are more readily granted at this season than at any other.

People don their gayest dress and jewellery on that day, and exchange presents freely, and the carnival reaches its climax. The laity wear masks of coloured cloth, with fringes of hair, in imitation of beards. And the Dalai Lama is especially worshipped on this day, and receives many presents.

On the second day of the month the state sorcerer of Na-ch'un enters Lhasa, as already noted, and his entry is like that of the archaic god-king, for none dare look at him, and even high state officials have been fined for looking at him whilst passing.

On the twenty-sixth day are horse-racing and shooting, and on the twenty-seventh a grand review of the troops by the Chinese Amban, and the procession of the holy sceptre from the Serra monastery for solemn salutation by the Dalai Lama, the officials, and people, as already mentioned.

During the latter half of the month the demons are worshipped, and on the thirtieth day Tara's celebration concludes the feasts.

The anniversary of Buddha's death is held on the full moon (or fifteenth day) of the fourth month, and is evidently combined with the old Nature-festival in honour of the commencement of summer and the propitiation of the rain-deities.

In the first half of this month (known as Sa-da-wa) the people do more worship than in any other season of the year. They count their beads and ply their prayer-wheels with more energy than usual, and at the larger temples of Lhasa, Tashi-lhunpo, etc., the devotees go round the holy buildings by measuring their length on the ground.

From the tenth to the fifteenth even the laity abstain from flesh, and give away as much alms in charity as they can afford; and there appears also to be some idea of ancestor-worship in the ceremonial. Certainly deceased ancestors and relatives are often prayed for at this time, which is not many weeks removed from the great Japanese feast of the dead.

During this feast many of the monks encamp in tents, and colossal pictures are displayed. Thus at Tashi-lhunpo the pictures are hung from the great tower named Kiku.29

At this festival, held there on June 30th, 1882, Lama Ugyen Gyats'o informs us, a great picture of Dipamkara Buddha was displayed about a hundred feet long, in substitution for other pictures of the previous days. Next day it was replaced by one of Sakya Muni and the past Buddhas, and the following day by one for Maitreya (Jam-pa). On this day women are admitted to the monastery shrines, from which they are at other times excluded, and all the people seek the benediction of the Coming Buddha, by touching the lower border of the picture with their heads.

The rain-deities, the dragons, or Nagas of the sky, are also propitiated on the fifteenth day of the fourth month. A procession is formed by the lay governors of Lhasa,30 and the high official Lamas,31 and some other officers, who proceed from the court at Potala to the great Lhasa cathedral, where the great image of Buddha is worshipped, and the officers feed the temple-lamp by pouring into it melted butter in silver ladles.

Then one of the governors and a secretary of state, with about thirty retainers, go to the Ramo-ch'e temple, via the Gyambum K'an Caitya, where they also feed the great lamp of the chief shrine; and here they distribute largess, in the shape of bits of brick-tea to the paupers, who are here assembled in rows to receive the customary bounty.

From Ramo-ch'e the procession passes round the great circular road, dispensing tea as it goes, via the Mende bridge to the Naga or dragon-temple. The governor and party here embark in four or five small boats of hide with wooden frame work, and are rowed round the moat once in the respectful Pradakshina direction. They then disembark and ascend the hillock on which stands the dragon-temple, where, in an inner sanctuary, they deposit offerings of gold and silver among the snake-idols, and this room is then locked and sealed, only to be opened again the following year.

The laity are now permitted by payment to be rowed round the moat, and cheer lustily as they go. The avowed object of this ceremony is to conciliate the Naga demi-gods, so as to secure timely and sufficient rain for the benefit of crops and animals. And if, as sometimes happens, rain does fall, it is considered an extremely lucky omen.

The anniversary of the birth of Padma-sambhava is observed mainly by the older party of the Lamaist church. It is held in Sikhim on the tenth day of the seventh month; but in many parts of central and eastern Tibet, as at Sam-yas and mCh'og-gling, near Gyantse, and also at Ladak,32 it is held on the tenth day of the fifth month, and the tenth day of every month is sacred to him and called "Ts'e-bchu."

On the day previous to this anniversary are held masked dances of the black-hat Lamas and of the fiends and fiendesses, as fully detailed hereafter in the chapter on the mystic plays, followed on the tenth by representations of the saint in his eight forms, and the "Ging," father and mother demons. And if rain now happens, it is deemed of good augury, and due to these pious celebrations.

The Water-Festival marks the commencement of the autumn, and usually falls about September.33 It is a thanksgiving feast. Water, especially of springs, becomes holy and sacred, a veritable elixir vitae; as the water sprites now set free their sacred water. At this season the Tibetans, though not particularly fond of washing and bathing, indulge in this luxury more than usual.34

This festival depends on the appearance above the horizon, about the eighth month, at early dawn, of the star named Rikhi or Rishi-agastya, or "Rib-chi," which Colonel C. Strahan, of the Indian survey, informs me must be Canopus35 or Sirios, the Dog-star. The Tibetans consider this fixed star to be a saint who dwells in heaven in deep meditation, but who appears in the sky in the beginning of the eighth month, before dawn36 in the southern quarter, and through his influence the water at early dawn becomes ambrosia or life-giving nectar.

Before dawn, therefore, the Tibetans throng to springs and lakes, and watch eagerly for a glimpse of this star to enable them to snatch a draught of the glorified water.

And the Lamas go in procession to the lakes and rivers, and partake in this practice. They cast in offerings to the water-nymphs and dragon-spirits of the water, and draw and drink the life-giving and sin-cleansing water, attended by much popular festivity.37 Tents are erected in the neighbourhood for about two weeks, during which the multitude drink and bathe in the water, dance, sing, masquerade, and give vent to their joy, in what may be considered a cleansing or atonement feast, as well as a thanks- giving. And monastic discipline even is relaxed during this festival, and many monks are allowed to go home on leave.

"The descent of the gods" is evidently founded on the legend of Sakya Muni's descent from heaven, where he had gone to preach the saving Law to his regenerated saintly mother; and he descended thence by a ladder — a glorified sort of Jacob's ladder. It also marks the end of the rainy season (Varsha), the Buddhist Lent,38 which Buddha was wont to spend in retirement, in fasting, praying, and holy exercises.

The anniversary of Tson-K'a-pa's ascent to heaven is the special festival of the established church, of which Tson-K'a-pa was the founder. It is a Feast of Lanterns, and takes place in winter, about the beginning of our December, when the days are near their shortest, and it probably is associated with the great nature-festival found in other nations at this season, to emphasize the loss of light, and desire for the return of the sun.

It is celebrated on the twenty-fifth day39 of the tenth Tibetan month, by a general illumination40 of both lay and religious buildings, like the analogous Dewali festival of the Hindus, and the lamp (Chiragh) feast of the Muhammadans, and the festival of Buddha the Burning Lamp (Dipamkara) of the Chinese Buddhists,41 which also are celebrated about this time.

On this day, in the year 1417, Doctor Tson-K'a-pa died, or was transfigured as is now believed. The legend says that he appeared on the stone altar in front of the throne at his monastery at Gah- ldan, and having addressed the assembled multitude, and prophesied the future greatness of his church, he ascended into the Tushita heavens.

The anniversary of this event is called Gah-dan Nam-ch'od, and is celebrated with great joy and torchlight processions. Altars and stages are for this purpose erected beforehand, and decorated with hundreds of lamps and ornamental cakes. On the evening of the feast is a great procession, before which is carried the image of Tson-K'a-pa, and torches and lamps, and if they burn brilliantly, much happiness is prophesied.

Advantage also is taken of this day, at the onset of winter, to visit the Dalai and other high Lamas, and present them with bundles of new warm robes, thus corresponding to the ancient Buddhist "Robe-month" (Chivara Masa), which was the month following the end of the rains, and on which the mendicants were provided with new robes on the approach of the cold weather.

In addition to these great feasts are innumerable minor and local ones, as Lamaism is not behind the Catholic church in accommodating herself to the customs of the people. The Mongols have their Fire and other special festivals all in Buddhist dress. The worship of the mountain-god Kan-ch'en-dso-na42 has already been referred to as peculiar to the Sikhimite form of Lamaism, in addition to which are other local feasts.43

A somewhat droll and almost dramatic feast is the chase of the demon of ill-luck, evidently a relic of a former demonist cult.44 It is called "Chongju Sewang," and is held at Lhasa on the twenty- ninth and thirtieth days of the second month, though it sometimes lasts about a week. It starts after divine service. A priest represents a Grand Lama,45 and one of the multitude is masqueraded as the ghost-king. For a week previously he sits in the market-place with face painted half black and half white, and a coat of skin is put on his arm and he is called "King of the Years'" (? head).46 He helps himself to what he wants, and goes about shaking a black yak's tail over the heads of the people, who thus transfer to him their ill-luck.

This latter person then goes towards the priest in the neighbourhood of the cloister of La-brang and ridicules him, saying: "What we perceive through the five sources (the five senses) is no illusion. All you teach is untrue," etc., etc. The acting Grand Lama contradicts this; but both dispute for some time with one another; and ultimately agree to settle the contest by dice; the Lama consents to change places with the scape-goat if the dice should so decide. The Lama has a dice with six on all six sides and throws six-up three times, while the ghost-king has a dice which throws only one.

When the dice of the priest throws six six times in succession and that of the scape-goat throws only ones, this latter individual, or "Lojon" as he is called, is terrified and flees away upon a white horse, which, with a white dog, a white bird, salt, etc., he has been provided with by government. He is pursued with screams and blank shots as far as the mountains of Chetang, where he has to remain as an outcast for several months in a narrow haunt, which, however, has been previously provided for him with provisions.

We are told47 that, while en route to Chetang, he is detained for seven days in the great chamber of horrors at Sam-yas monastery filled with the monstrous images of devils and skins of huge serpents and wild animals, all calculated to excite feelings of terror. During his seven days' stay he exercises despotic authority over Sam-yas, and the same during the first seven days of his stay at Chetang. Both Lama and laity give him much alms, as he is believed to sacrifice himself for the welfare of the country. It is said that in former times the man who performed this duty died at Chetang in the course of the year from terror at the awful images he was associated with; but the present scape-goat survives and returns to re-enact his part the following year. From Chetang, where he stays for seven days, he goes to Lho-ka, where he remains for several months.

At the beginning of the third month an exhibition is held of the holy vessels and precious things in the La-brang temple, also the hanging out of pictures on Potala. There are sowing and harvest and other non-Buddhist festivals, and special rogation days of supplications in case of war, famine, and pestilence.

The old year with all its bad luck is despatched with rites of a clearly demonistic character, and the ceremony, named the "Throwing away of the Dead Year,"48 is combined with a devil- dance, as described in the next chapter.

Every household contributes to "ring out the old" and "ring in the new" year. On the 22nd day of the 12th month each family prepares a dough image weighing about four pounds, and on it stick pieces of cloth, woollen or silken, and coins, etc., according to the wealth of the house-owner, and the demon of ill-luck is invoked to enter into the image, which is then worshipped, and on the 29th day, or the last but one of the old year, a Lama is sent for, who carries the image out of the house and beyond the village to a place where four paths meet, and there he abandons it.

But for the general community a huge image is prepared, and attached to its top are many threads, and in front of it on the 29th day a grand dance of the death-devils, etc., takes place, as detailed in the chapter on the mystic plays. And when it is carried off and abandoned the laity vie with one another in snatching the threads, which are treasured as most potent charms, while the Lamas return to the temple and perform a service to complete the expulsion of the dead old year.

And so they go on, feast following feast, till the end of the year, when the pantomime and carnival commence.



1 'dus-ch'en.
2 nam-gan.
3 On the reconversion of the Mongols to Buddhism in the sixteenth century, in the treaty between the Dalai Lama and Altun Khan, it was stipulated that on the monthly fast days the hunting or slaughter of animals would be prohibited.
4 Hiuen Tsiang speaks of six fasts every month, and Julien quotes a Chinese authority giving the days as the eighth, fourteenth, fifteenth, twenty-third, twenty-ninth, and thirtieth. FaHian notes that in Ceylon preaching occurred on the eighth, fourteenth, and fifteenth days of the month. On the fourteenth, fifteenth, twenty-ninth and thirtieth (says Koppen, ii., 139, 307), "by rule, among the Lamas nothing should be tasted but farinaceous food and tea, the very devout refrain from all food from sunrise to sunset. The temples are decorated, and the altar-tables set out with the holy symbols, with tapers, and with dishes containing offerings in corn, meal, tea,
butter, etc., and especially with small pyramids of dough or of rice or clay, and accompanied by much burning of incense-sticks. The service performed by the priests is more solemn, the music louder and more exciting, than usual. The laity make their offerings, tell their beads, and repeat 'Om mani padme hun.'"
5 Gun-san.
6 T., gSo-sbyon. Mongol. — Mazak.

7 Including the Tu-i-sol cleansing ceremony before referred to.
8 See Edkins' Chinese Buddhism, 206-210, for list of Chinese Buddhist festivals.

9 Sangyas-sku-bltams-pa, or Chums-su zugs-pac dus mch'od. [Sacrificial festival of the Conception (of Buddha)].
10 dus-'K'or gsuns-pa.

11 rab-tu byun-ba, "The highest Being or Becoming."

12 mya-n'an las-'das-pa.

13 Sangyas sman bla (= Skt., Bhaisyaguru Buddha) of the Eastern World.

14 ch'os-gsun-pa (lit.,= Religious Speech).

15 Orgyan rin-po ch'e sku bltams-pa.

16 lha-babs.

17 dga-ldan ln'a mch'od.

18 The grain has been stored since two months, and the yak and sheep-flesh since four to six weeks.

19 In 1892 it was on the 29th February.
20 rgyal-po lo-gsar.

21 So-nam lo-gsar. It is popular in Ladak (Ramsay's Dict., p. 43), and in Sikhim.

22 The dancing is usually done in lines, the men and women apart.

23 The games include archery; putting the stone (and called Lin-sin ch'en gyal- po), in which the losers pay forfeits: acrobats, in the Lhasa festivals these come usually from Shigatse (Tsang-jo-mo-Kha-rag), and slide down long ropes of yak-hair from the gilt umbrellas on the top of Potala to the foot of the edict pillars.

24 According to the current saying "The Tibetan New-Year is Wine, the Chinese is Paper and the Nepalese is Noise," with reference to the Chinese celebrating their festivals by display of red paper flags, and the Nepalese by clamour of noisy instruments. Cf. Huc's description of these gala days.
25 His title is Tshogs-ch'en-z'al-ngo.

26 Everyone is expected on the last day of the old year to bring to the monasteries half a month's rations for the monks, in flesh, grain, butter, etc.

27 The stupendous size of the cooking arrangements and the size of the tea-cauldrons for such a multitude may be imagined. Each monk receives refreshments at each of the three daily assemblies at the Lhasa cathedral. After the first assembly at six a.m., each monk gets tea and soup at government expense, and one penny. At the second assembly, al eleven a.m., he again gets similar refreshment and one or two tankas (silver coins value about sixpence), and at three p.m. further refreshment. During this festival each Lama receives about twenty to twenty-five tanka coins, which money is mainly provided by the Tengyeling regent.
28 For an account of this "Feast of the Flowers," see Huc, ii., 39.
29 Figured at p. 273. Its base is sixty paces long, and its height greater.— Ugyen Gyats'o.

30 bkah-blon.

31 Tsi-tung.
32 Ramsay's Dict., p. 44.

33 In 1891 it happened on the fourteenth day of the eighth month, i.e., on the 17th September.

34 It is said that Buddha AEsculapius, the founder of medical science according to the Tibetans, bathed at this season, hence the custom (see Jaeschke's Dict., p. 20). With this maybe compared the so-called Cocoa-nut festival of the Hindus, held at the cessation of the rains, when nature, having reached her womanhood, decks herself in all her wealth of leafy charm, when the grateful people cast thousands of cocoanuts and flowers into the sea to the sea-gods in gratitude, and to secure patronage and new enterprises during the current year.
35 Arabic Suhail, "to be level."

36 dbugs (literally "breath").

37 Koppen, ii., 313, speaks of the Lamas blessing or consecrating the waters, but this seems to be a mistake.

38 This, according to General Cunningham (Indian Eras, 3), on account of the extension latterly of the Indian year, must, in the time of Alexander and Asoka, have commenced in June instead of July, and lasted till October.
39 On the twenty-fourth, or preceding day, the monks of the Serra monastery observe a special illumination in honour of the decease of their great Lama. rJe-byams ch'en- ch'os rje-gzegs-pu.

40 bzhi-mch'od.

41 On the twenty-second day of the eighth Chinese month.— Edkins' Chinese Budd., p. 210.

42 It is held on the fifteenth day of the seventh month. In 1891 it happened on the nineteenth of August. It lasts for three days; and the fifteenth of every month is sacred to this god.

43 Among the local feasts in Sikhim are the Thanksgiving and Prayer-festival (rub- gnas) for the welfare of the country, held in the ninth month of every year at the To'n-wa-ron-grol Caitya, at Tashiding monastery; and the tenth month the anointing and  blessing of the Sikhim king by the head Lama of Pemiongchi.
44 What seems a version of this ceremony is celebrated in Ladak (at the village of Masho) under the name "Nagh-rang," and described by Ramsay, Dict., p. 44.

45 I did not enquire into the personality of this Lama and his relationship, if any, to the temporary Lama-king of De-pung monastery. Pandit Nain Sing connects this Scape-goat ceremony with the termination of the De-pung Lama-regent's rule, and makes its Lama identical with the latter, while Lama U. G. (loc. cit., 32), states that the dice- throwing Lama belongs to the Chang-chub-Ling monastery.

46 Lo-gon gyal-po.

47 Pandit A. K.'s Survey Rept.
48  Lo-s'i sKu-rim.
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Re: The Buddhism of Tibet, or Lamaism With Its Mystic Cults

Postby admin » Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:02 am

Part 1 of 4



FANCY-DRESS balls and the masked carnivals of Europe find their counterpart in Tibet, where the Lamas are fond of masquerading in quaint attire; and the populace delight in these pageants, with their dramatic display and droll dances. The masked dances, however, are essentially religious in nature, as with the similar pageants still found among many primitive people, and probably once current even among the Greeks and Egyptians. 2

The Lamas reserve to themselves the exclusive right to act in "the Mystery-Play," with its manifestations of the gods and demons, by awe-inspiring masks, etc., while they relegate to lay actors the sacred dramas, illustrating the former births of Buddha and other saints, the Jatakas.

"The Mystery-Play of Tibet," the name by which the acted pageant of the Lamas is known to many Europeans, has been seen by several travellers in Tibet and adjoining Lamaist lands; but the plot and motive of the play seem never to have been very definitely ascertained, owing, doubtless, to the cumbrous details which so thickly overlay it, and the difficulty of finding competent interpreters of the plot, as well as the conflicting accounts current amongst the Lamas themselves in regard to its origin and meaning.

As I have had opportunities for studying the various versions of the play with the aid of learned Lamas of several sects, I give here a brief sketch of what I have elicited regarding what appears to have been its original character and subsequent developments. Originally it appears to have been a devil-dancing cult for exorcising malignant demons and human enemies, and associated with human sacrifice and, probably, cannibalism.

Afterwards, during the Buddhist era, the devil-dance, like that of the Ceylonese, was given a Buddhist dress, which was not difficult, as somewhat analogous displays representing the temptation of Buddha, seem to be found in Indian Buddhism, as seen in the annexed figure of a frieze from Gandhara.3 And several leading indigenous names lent themselves readily to perversion into Buddhist names or titles, by a process already practised by the Brahmans in India, who Sanskritized aboriginal Indian names in order to bring them within the mythological pale of Hinduism.

Demons of Mara in Gandhara Sculptures. (Lahore Museum)

The unsophisticated Tibetans still call the mystery-play the "Dance of the Red-Tiger Devil,"4 a deity of the Bon or pre-Buddhist religion of Tibet. The original motive of the dance appears to have been to expel the old year with its demons of ill-luck, and to propitiate with human sacrifice and probably cannibalism the war-god and the guardian spirits, most of whom are demonified kings and heroes, in order to secure good-luck and triumph over enemies in the incoming year.

Human sacrifice seems undoubtedly to have been regularly practised in Tibet up till the dawn there of Buddhism in the seventh century A.D. The glimpses which we get of early Tibet through the pages of contemporary Chinese history, show, as Dr. Bushell translates,5 that "at the new year they (the Tibetans) sacrifice men or offer monkeys," and so late as the seventh century the annual rites in connection with the defence of their country were triennially accompanied by human sacrifice.6

Actual cannibalism is, indeed, attributed to the early Tibetans,7 and the survival of certain customs lends strong colour to the probability of such a practice having been current up till about the middle ages.
The Tibetans themselves claim descent from a man-eating ancestry, and they credit their wilder kinsmen and neighbours of the lower Tsang-po valley with anthrophagous habits even up to the present day.

History and Etymology for anthropophagous: Greek anthrōpophágos "(of humans) eating human flesh, cannibal" (from anthrōpo- ANTHROPO- + -phagos -PHAGOUS) + -OUS

-- Anthropophagous, by Merriam-Webster

Vestiges of cannibalism appear to be preserved in the mystery-play. And of similar character seems to be the common practice of eating a portion of the human skin covering the thigh-bone in preparing the bone trumpets, and also, probably, of like origin is the common Tibetan oath of affirmation, "By my father's and mother's flesh."8

The Lamas, however, as professing Buddhists, could not countenance the taking of life, especially human. So, in incorporating this ancient and highly popular festival within their system, they replaced the human victims by anthropomorphic effigies of dough, into which were inserted models of the larger organs, and also fluid red pigment to represent the blood. This substitution of dough images for the living sacrifices of the Bon rites is ascribed by tradition to St. Padma-sambhava in the second half of the eighth century A.D.
And these sacrificial dough-images, of more or less elaborate kinds, now form an essential part of the Lamaist daily service of worship.

The Bon-pos founded a number of monasteries in the Buddhist fashion for the residence of the monks "who lived according to rules of an order along the lines of the Buddhist Order, and went in for philosophy, mysticism and new fashioned magic, religious festivals and the carrying around the sacred objects in procession".1 [The Religions of Tibet, pp. 97, 98] The Bon-pos used the holy objects in the opposite direction, instead of clockwise direction, as in Buddhism. Their Swastika, the mystic cross called in Tibetan Gyung-drung "and did not turn dextrously as that of Lamaism do, but symmetrically, to left instead of right.' They used to chant the famous formula, 'Om Matri Muye Sale du' in place of the sacred Avalokitesvara formula of the Lamas 'Om Mani Padme hum.' Rockhill writes2 [The Life of Buddha, p. 206] that "the Buddhist influence is so manifest in it (Bon) that is impossible to consider it as giving us very correct ideas of what this religion was before it came to contact with Buddhism."

The bon-po religion has repeatedly been said to be the same as that of the Tao-sse and it is remarkable that these two religions have drawn so largely from Buddhist ideas that they have nearly identified themselves with it. "The Bon-pos had no literature of their own. They took over the Buddhist excerpts and symbols on a vast scale, thereby creating a literature and an iconography very similar to those of the Buddhists as to be almost indistinguishable to casual observers."

In the G-Zer-myig is given a broad survey of the world of gods, i.e., the pantheon of the Bon-pos. The pantheon of the bon-pos has been very much enlarged like that of Lamaism. Hoffman writes3 [The Religions of Tibet, p. 101] that" ... in addition to the pantheon of the later Bon religion created primarily in Zhang-zhung under Western Asiatic and Buddhist influence, the old, so to speak anonymous gods of the animist, shamanist era have remained alive in the minds of the common people. The highest principle of this religion and at the same time the transcendental Urguru from which all enlightened understanding comes, and which in type is similar to the 'Adibuddha of many of the Vajrayana system is called Kun0tu-bzang-po, in Sanskrit Samantabhadra, in other words, it bears the same name as the Adibuddha of Padmaism, to which, of course, the syncretic bon religion bears a close resemblance. Philosophically considered, this Samantabhadra represents the ultimate absolute, the Dharmakaya, called here the Bon substance (Bon-sku) a concept which despite many positive characteristics (conscious bliss) seems to be largely the same as the Mahayana 'Voidness.'"

In the Bon pantheon Bon-sku-kun-tu-bzang-po is the supreme deity and Bon-skyong (Dharmapala), a guardian deity, a nine headed enormity,1 [S.C. Das, J.B.T.S., 1, iii. appendix 1, 1881), p. 197] as his sister Srid-pai's rgyal-mo who has three eyes and six arms is taken to be Sri devi (Tara) of Lamaism. There are numerous dreadful gods with human or animal heads. There are further other gods with heads of various animals, such as, pigs, horses, bulls and tigers. Those apart, there is a special group of gods dwelling on the tops of the sacred mountain Kailasa.2 [Hoffmann, The Religions of Tibet, p. 104]

It is interesting to note in this connection that in the Bon-pantheon, goddesses take precedence over the gods and the female priests are regarded superior to the male priests in this religion.3 [J.B.T.S. 1, iii, appendix 1, and Journal of the Asiatic Society, 1881, 197n] Lastly, the Bon-pos have monasteries of their own in which there are many images of gods, saints and demons like those of Lamaism, but with different names thereof.

Sacrifices of animals and even human beings and such other practices were openly indulged in and they formed an important part in the religious observances of the Bon.4 [Cf. J.A.S.B. 1881, 198n] A fair idea about the original character of the Bon-po rituals can be had from the ancient manuscripts (9th or 10th cent. A.D.) where the Tibetan rites are described.5 [R.A. Stein, Tibetan Civilization, p. 25] "The officers are assembled once every year for the lesser oath of fealty. They sacrifice sheep, dogs, and monkeys, first breaking their legs and then killing them, afterwards exposing their intestines and cutting them into pieces. The sorcerers having been summoned, they call on the gods of heaven and earth, of the mountains and rivers, of the sun, moon, stars, and planets, saying: "should your hearts become changed, and your thoughts disloyal, the gods will see clearly and make you like these sheep and dogs." Every three years there is a grand ceremony during which all are assembled in the middle of the night on a raised altar, on which are spread savoury meat. The victims sacrificed as men, horses, oxen and asses, and prayers are offered in this form: "Do you all with one heart and united strength cherish our native country. The gods of heaven, and the spirit of the earth will both know your thoughts and if you break this oath they will cause your bodies to be cut into pieces like unto these victims."1 [The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1880, p. 441]

As already observed, the offering up of the animal sacrifices was the most important feature of the old Bon religion. When Buddhism became the state religion the Bon-pos were prohibited to indulge further in such practices. But this form of sacrifice could not be entirely eradicated because of the deep conviction of the people. Substitutes for living animals were sacrificed instead, representations of yaks and sheep, and wooden carving of deer heads.

We have further from the gZer-myig2 [Hoffmann, The Religions of tibet, p. 22, c/Albert Tafel, Meine Tibetreise, Vol. II, pp. 153, 198, Notes 2, 232, 236] the description of a human sacrifice for the recovery of a sick prince. It writes: 'the soothsayer seized the man by the feet whilst the Bon-po took his hands. The black Han-dha then cut open the life orifice and tore out the heart. The two, the soothsayer and the Bon-po, then scattered out the blood and flesh of the victim to the four corners of the heaven.' It should be mentioned that with the light of Indian civilization introduced by Buddhism the adherents of Bon were obliged to give up their human and animal sacrifices, and instead use little statue made of dough containing barley-flower butter and water. "Bonpos were now prohibited making human and other bloody sacrifice as was their wont; and hence is said to have arisen the practice of offering images of men and animals made of dough." Its mythology is exceedingly complicated. It enumerates an endless number of spirits or divinities, all hostile to man and it is necessary to propitiate them by continual sacrifices. Even down to the present day some Bon practices still exist in parts of Eastern and South-Eastern Tibet; the most populous part of the country. Dr. Hoffmann1 [The Religions of Tibet, p. 22] writes 'that followers of Bon religion are still using the blood of cocks to conjure peace.'....

Thus we know very little about the original nature of the Bon religion because of dearth of positive evidence. Our knowledge of its actual nature is rather vague and fragmentary. Hoffmann2 [The Religions of Tibet, p. 15] writes: "What the original Bon religion was like before it came into contact with Buddhism, but this is made difficult by the great dearth of authentic documentary evidence. In fact, actual documents from those early days are unknown, and they can hardly have existed in any case, because it was not until the first half of the seventh century that, under Buddhist influence, Tibet received a written language and a literature." "The Buddhist influence," observe Rockhill, "is so manifest in it [Bon] that it is impossible to consider it as giving us very correct ideas of what this religion was before it came in contact with Buddhism."3 [The Life of Buddha, p. 206] Furthermore, F.A. Stein4 [Tibetan Civilization, p. 229] says: "The history and characteristics of this religion [Bon] are still subject to considerable uncertainty at least as far as the early period is concerned."...

In fine, from the sense of the Tibetan word, it may be said that Bon was originally an aspect of Tantra cult. It was amalgamated into the Buddhist esoteric faith later on. Several other reformed Tibetan sects were further brought forth thereon.

-- Bon, The Primitive Religion of Tibet, by Prof. Anukul Chandra Banerjee, Gangtok

The Lamas also, as it seems to me, altered the motive of the play to hang upon it their own sacerdotal story for their own glorification and priestly gain. Retaining the festival with its Bacchanalian orgies for expelling the old year and ushering in good-luck for the new, they also retained the cutting-up of their enemies in effigy; but they made the plot represent the triumph of the Indian missionary monks (Acarya) under St. Padma-sambhava over the indigenous paganism with its hosts of malignant fiends and the black-hat devil-dancers, and also over the Chinese heretics.

The voracious man-eating devils of Tibet were mostly assimilated to the Sivaite type of fiend in mediaeval Indian Buddhism, with which they had so much in common. And the title was accordingly altered from tag-mar; "the (dance) of the red Tiger (devil)" to its homonym tag-mar (spelt drag-dmar), or "the red fierce ones." Thus Yama, the Death-king, and his minions form a most attractive feature of the play, for it is made to give the lay spectators a very realistic idea of the dreadful devils from whom the Lamas deliver them; and they are familiarized with the appearance of these demons who, according to the Lamas, beset the path along which the disembodied soul must hereafter pass to paradise.

As this tragedy is so intimately identified with Padma-sambhava, the founder of Lamaism, it is acted in its most gorgeous style on the birthday of that saint, namely, on the tenth day of the fifth Tibetan month.

But latterly both plot and date were again altered by the established church of Tibet, the Ge-lug-pa sect. This reformed sect, which dissociates itself as far as possible from St. Padmasambhava, who now is so intimately identified with the unreformed sects, transferred the festival from the end of the old Tibetan year, that is the eleventh month of the present style, to the end of its own year according to the new official year.

And it has also, in its version, altered the motive of the tragedy, so as to make it represent the assassination of the Julian of Lamaism (Lan-darma) by a Lama disguised as a Shamanist dancer, and this is followed by the restoration of the religion by the aid of Indian and Chinese monks, and the subsequent triumph of Lamaism, with its superior sorcery derived from Buddhist symbolism.

This version of the play calls the central episode "the strewing food of the sixty iron castles,"9 and it still further alters, as I take it, the title of the chief character to its further homonym of "Tag-mar"10 the red horse-headed Hayagriva, a name borrowed from Hindu mythology, but evidently, as it seems to me, suggested by the cognomen of their old familiar fiend, Tag-mar, the red Tiger-devil, of the pre-Lamaist Bon priests. Tiger-devils are also well-known to Chinese mythology,11 while Hayagriva, as a Buddhist creation, appears to be known only to the Lamaistic form of Buddhism, and his Tantrik book is admittedly of Tibetan composition.

Red tiger-Devil of the Bon.

Tiger-Devils (of the Chinese. The lower right-hand one is the Red-tiger; the central one is yellow).

But even as thus adapted by the established church, the purest of all the Lamaist sects, the play still retains, as will be presently shown, the devil-dancing Shamanist features, as well as vestiges of human sacrifice, if not of actual cannibalism.

Let us first look at the mystery-play or tragedy as acted by the Lamas of the old school, at Himis, in Ladak, in Sikhim, Bhotan, etc., and afterwards refer to the versions as acted by the reformed and established church.

This play is acted, as already mentioned, by all sects of Lamas, on the last day of the year when the community is en fete, by many of the unreformed sects on St. Padma-sambhava's day.

When acted at the end of the year it forms part of the ceremony called "The sacrificial body of the dead year,"12 and is held on the last two or three days of the old year, from the 28th to the 30th of the twelfth month. As the performance is conducted at the Himis monastery, in Ladak, in a much grander style than was witnessed by me in Sikhim, and more in the style seen in Tibet, and as it has been there witnessed and described by several travellers,"13 I shall take the Himis performance as the basis of my description, and amplify the descriptions of it where necessary.

As the day for the play draws near, the villagers flock in from the country-side; and on the morning of the day fixed for the performance, the people, decked in holiday attire, throng to the temple many hours before that fixed for the performance, to secure good points of view. Seats are provided and reserved only for the gentry and high officials and visitors. The king and other grandees have state boxes.

The performance is held al fresco in the courtyard of the temple (see the photograph on page 528). The orchestra is sometimes screened off from view, and the maskers assemble either in the temple or in yak-hair tents, and are treated to refreshments often, and soup between the acts.

A shrill bugle-call, from a trumpet made out of a human thigh-bone,14 notifies the commencement of the play.

The gongs and shawms strike up a wailing sort of air, which the musicians accompany by a low chant, and out come trooping a crowd of the pre-Lamaist black-mitred priests, clad in rich robes of China silk and brocade, and preceded by swingers of censers. They make the mystic sign of "The Three," and execute a stately dance to slow music.

Stretching out the right hand and left alternately, the leaders turn to the right, and the last in line to the left, both advancing and retiring towards each other several times, and, reforming the circle and making the sign of the Trident, they retire.

Diagram of Royal Monastery at Teng-gye-ling, Lhasa (where mystic play is acted).

After these have gone out, then enter a troupe of the man-eating malignant demons,15 who, with their hordes, vex and harass humanity. They infest the air, the earth, the water, and are constantly seeking to destroy man, not unlike their better-known relative, who, "as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour."16 These hordes of demons are intended to illustrate the endless oppression of man by the powers of evil, against whom he can of himself do nothing, but occasionally the exorcisms or prayers of some good Lama or incarnator may come to his assistance and shield him, but even then only after a fierce and doubtful contest between the saints and the devils. And only for a time, too, can this relief from persecution endure, for all the exorcisms of all the saints are of little avail to keep back the advancing hordes. The shrieking demons must close in upon the soul again.17


These demons, now incorporated in Tibetan Buddhism, are regarded as forms of Durga (Devi), Siva (Natha), and the king of the Dead (Dharmaraja or Yama).19 "Flames and effigies of human skulls were worked on their breasts and other parts of their raiment. As their hoods fell back, hideous features of leering satyrs were disclosed."20

"In their right hand they hold a bell or fan, and in their left a bowl cut out of a human skull, and round the edge of which are attached narrow streamers of silk and some plaited ends of hair.
This ghastly ladle is called Bundah. Some of the maskers hold in the right hand a short stick, with red and blue streamers of silk; these and the spoons majestically waved about as they go round in their solemn dance had the most curious effect I ever saw."21

To these monsters (now coerced by Buddhism) the Lamas offer a libation of beer, and some rice or mustard-seed, and to all the beings of the six classes, and especially including the demons, and the rice or seeds are thrown about freely;22 and each Lama present inwardly prays for the realization of his desire.

At a signal from the cymbals the large trumpets (eight or ten feet long) and the other instruments, pipes and drums, etc., and shrill whistling (with the fingers in the mouth), produce a deafening din to summon the noxious demons and the enemies. "The music became fast and furious, and troop after troop of different masks rushed on, some beating wooden tambourines, others swelling the din with rattles and bells. All of these masks were horrible, and the malice of infernal beings was well expressed on some of them. As they danced to the wild music with strange steps and gesticulations, they howled in savage chorus. . . . The solemn chanting ceased, and then rushed on the scene a crowd of wan shapes, almost naked, with but a few rags about them. . . . They wrung their hands despairingly, and rushed about in a confused way as if lost, starting from each other in terror when they met, sometimes feeling about them with their outstretched hands like blind men, and all the while whistling in long-drawn notes, which rose and fell like a strong wind on the hills, producing an indescribably dreary effect. These, I was told, represented the unfortunate souls of dead men which had been lost in space, and were vainly seeking their proper sphere through the darkness. . . . The variously masked figures of Spirits of Evil flocked in, troop after troop — oxen-headed and serpent-headed devils; three-eyed monsters with projecting fangs, their heads crowned with tiaras of human skulls; Lamas painted and masked to represent skeletons; dragon-faced fiends, naked save for tiger-skins about their loins, and many others. Sometimes they appeared to be taunting and terrifying the stray souls of men -- grim shapes who fled hither and thither among their tormentors, waving their arms and wailing miserably, souls who had not obtained Nirvana and yet who had no incarnation ...Then the demons were repelled again by holy men; but no sooner did these last exorcise one hideous band than other crowds came shrieking on. It was a hopeless conflict. . . . At one period of the ceremony a holy man . . . blessed a goblet of water by laying his hands on it and intoning some prayer or charm. Then he sprinkled the water in all directions, and the defeated demons stayed their shrieking, dancing, and infernal music, and gradually crept out of the arena, and no sound was heard for a time but the sweet singing of the holy choir. But the power of exorcism was evanescent, for the routed soon returned in howling shoals."23

Death-Skeleton Masker

The superior effect of Buddhism over the indigenous Shamanism is now shown by the arrival on the scene of the Indian monk, Padma-sambhava, and his assistants, or his eight forms; or sometimes these are represented as Buddha himself, or the group of the "Seven Buddhas."24

Devils Fleeing from the Buddhist Saints.
This scene is thus described: "The loud music suddenly ceased, and all the demons scampered off shrieking as if in fear, for a holy thing was approaching. To solemn chanting, low music and swinging of censers, a stately procession came through the porch of the temple and slowly descended the steps. Under a canopy, borne by attendants, walked a tall form in beautiful silk robes, wearing a large mask representing a benign and peaceful face. As he advanced, men and boys, dressed as abbots and acolytes of the church of Rome, prostrated themselves before him and addressed him with intoning and pleasing chanting. He was followed by six other masks, who were treated with similar respect. These seven deified beings drew themselves in a line on one side of the quadrangle and received the adoration of several processions of masked figures, some of abbots, and others beast-headed, or having the faces of devils."25

These last are the demon-kings who have been coerced by Buddhism into becoming guardians and defensores fidei of that religion. And amongst the worshippers are the Pa-wo or "heroes" with green masks, surmounted by triangular red flags, and girdles, and anklets of bells; and the solemnity is relieved by a few Acaryas, or jesters, who play practical jokes, and salute the holy personages with mock respect.

The enemy of Tibet and of Lamaism is now represented in effigy, but before cutting it to pieces, it is used to convey to the people a vivid conception of the manner in which devils attack a corpse, and the necessity for priestly services of a quasi-Buddhist sort to guard it and its soul.

The similarity between Christianity and Buddhism grows stronger when we consider how Tibetan Buddhists actually practice their religion. Tibetan Buddhists like to say their practices are all about purifying the mind through meditation, but this is not quite true. Tibetan Buddhists fill their temples with sacred images because they are obsessed with earning merit by making an endless stream of offerings. Further, while they believe that making offerings to a statue is good, the best way to improve their chances of a positive rebirth is by making offerings to the lamas, imagined to be incarnated Buddhas.

Because Tibetan Buddhists place primary emphasis on “accumulating merit,” the religion has developed what we might call a “merit economy,” in which merit is gained by giving gifts to the lamas, reciting mantras, prostrating before images, and walking in circles around a sacred building or statue, called “circumambulation.” Like medieval Christians, they also believe that you can pay other people to perform pious acts on your behalf, and get the same benefit! Thus, American students are currently paying Tibetans to perform recitations on their behalf, after hiring a diviner to determine how many recitations of what deity need to be performed to remove obstacles. This procedure would have been familiar to a medieval Catholic, who could reduce their stay in purgatory, or that of their relatives, by donating to the clergy, that imagined “a vast community of mutual help … uniting the living and the dead” in sacred exertions. People with more money than piety could earn indulgences through “commutation, through which any services, obligations, or goods could be converted into a corresponding monetary payment.” In 1343 Pope Clement VI decreed himself the manager of the “Treasury of Merit,” and officially took charge of the business, becoming God’s counting house.[105]

Like medieval Christians, Tibetan Buddhists believe that the fates of their eternal souls, and those of their loved ones, are determined by their “stock of merit,” whether accumulated by their own efforts, or by the efforts of persons employed to accumulate merit on their behalf. Although it seems blatantly venal, the entire religion is based on the belief that the greatest merit is accumulated by making donations to the priests who run the religion.

-- Against Hell: A Refutation of the Buddhist Hell Realms, Based on Their Historic Origins, Political Purpose, Psychological Destructiveness, Irrationality, and Demonstrable Inconsistency With the Original Buddhist Teachings, Framed as A Searching Review of Sam Bercholz’s After-Death Memoir, "A Guided Tour of Hell", by Charles Carreon

Some days previous to the commencement of the play, an image26 of a young lad is made out of dough, in most elaborate fashion, and as life-like as possible. Organs representing the heart, lungs, liver, brain, stomach, intestines, etc., are inserted into it, and the heart and large blood-vessels and limbs are filled with a red-coloured fluid to represent blood. And occasionally, I am informed on good authority, actual flesh from the corpses of criminals27 is inserted into the image used in this ceremony28 at the established church of Potala.

This effigy of the enemy is brought forth by the four cemetery-ghouls,29 and laid in the centre of the square, and freely stabbed by the weapons, and by the gestures and spells of the circling hosts of demons, as in the illustration here given.

The necromantic power of the Lamas is here shown much in the same way as in the Burmese sacred play at Arakan.30 On three signals with the cymbals, two Indian monks (Acaryas) come out of the monastery, and blow their horns and go through a series of droll antics, and are followed by two or more Lamas who draw around the effigy on the pavement of the quadrangle a magic triangle and retire. Then rush in the ghosts, death-demons, "figures painted black and white to simulate skeletons, some in chains, others bearing sickles or swords, engaged in a frantic dance around the corpse. They were apparently attempting to snatch it away or inflict some injury on it, but were deterred by the magic effect of the surrounding triangle and by the chanting and censer-swinging of several holy men in mitred and purple copes. . . .  

Dance of the Death-Demons in Hemis Monastery.31

"A more potent and very ugly fiend, with great horns on his head and huge lolling tongue, ran in, hovered threateningly over the corpse, and with a great sword slashed furiously about it, just failing by little more than a hair's-breadth to touch it with each sweep of the blade. He seemed as if he were about to overcome the opposing enchantment when a saint of still greater power than he now came to the rescue. The saint approached the corpse and threw a handful of flour on it, making mystic signs and muttering incantations. This appeared from his mask to be one of the incarnations of Buddha. He had more control over the evil spirits than any other who had yet contended with them. The skeletons, and also he that bore the great sword, grovelled before him, and with inarticulate and beast-like cries implored mercy. He yielded to their supplications, gave each one a little of the flour he carried with him, which the fiends ate gratefully, kneeling before him; and he also gave them to drink out of a vessel of holy water."32

This usually concludes one day's performance.33 On the following day adoration is paid to the Jina, by whom unreformed Lamas seem to intend St. Padma-sambhava. And mustard-seed is blessed and thrown at the enemy with singing, dancing, and incantations. And then occurs the ceremony of stabbing the enemy by the phurbu or mystic dagger.

A Short Description of the Phur-Pa, or the “Enchanted Dagger”
by Sri Sarat Chandra Das

In the Sanskrit language, the Phur-pa is called Kila, [x]. In Tibetan Buddhism, it is described as of two kinds: metaphysical and ordinary. All intellectual accomplishments are compared with the Phur-pa. Knowledge dissipates Avidya, (ignorance), so it is said figuratively that the Phur-pa of knowledge destroys ignorance, which is typified as the arch-enemy of humanity. Avidya, is the prime cause of sin and sin is the cause of suffering. In the same manner the Phur-pa of love stabs at anger. The Phur-pa of impermance strikes at attachment and passionate desires. The Phur-pa, of wise discrimination i.e., the power of distinguishing the right from wrong, good from bad, &c., liberates one from misery.

The ordinary Phur-pa is of four kinds. They are used for the acquirement of the four kinds of worldly objects Viz: (1) peace [x], (2) abundance [x], (3) power [x] and (4) fearfulness [x].

1. The phur-pa that typifies peace is generally made of silver or white sandal wood, and is about 4 inches long. The top of its handle is a saint’s head and its lower part is dressed as a knob of twisted noose. The point of the dagger is blunt and rounded to show that its effect is mild and cannot pain any body. When it is consecrated, it acquires the power of driving out evil spirits and diseases from one’s body. It is not intended for mischief to any body. It is considered to be a mystic healer.

2. The Phur-pa that symbolizes copiousness is generally made of gold or of the fragrant juniper. Its handle is similar to that of No. 1, only, that in the place of the saint’s head, there is the head of the goddess of plenty looking down with a smile, expressive of contentment and prosperity. The dagger point terminates on a square. On the top of the dagger handle i.e., on the crown of the god’s head, there is a gem generally a coral or a ruby, placed as an ornament. If this Phur-pa is consecrated, it becomes possessed of wonderful powers. Its touch gives longevity, fame, prosperity, wealth, &c., to the devotee. Its dagger is generally made 8 inches long.

3. The Phur-pa typifying power is made of copper or red sandal wood. Its handle is made of the shape of a knob, surmounted with four fearful heads with wide-opened and gasping mouths, possessing the expression of unquenchable thirst. The dagger point of the Phur-pa terminates in a sharp semi-circular curve. It is generally made 12 inches long. The top of the Phur-pa is made of the size and shape of a small lotus bud. When consecrated, it acquires wonderful efficacy. By means of it, one’s enemies are brought under one’s power without fighting or without the use of weapons. It is invaluable to lovers as a sure instrument to overpower the object of his or her love. It is also supposed to have the power of bringing learning and luck to one who receives its touch with faith.

4. The last is the Tag-poi Phurpa, in Sanskrit, called the Rudra-Kila. It is made of steel, bronze or meteoric stone. The handle of the dagger, made of brass, is a crocodile’s head, surmounted by a cross, formed of two thunderbolts called the Na-tshog-dorje. On the top point of this cross, is fixed three terrific crowned heads, typifying the looks of the Lord of Death in three ages: past, present and the future. He is determined to kill those who transgress against the Dharma i.e., the Law. The cross of thunderbolts is intended to fix down the enemy so that he may not get up again. The three blades of the dagger corresponding to the three faces are intended to stab the enemy instantaneously by its touch. The crocodile’s yawning mouth drinks the blood and eats the flesh of the slain devil. The thunderbolt which projects from the centre of the crown of the three terrific heads is intended to draw out the life-breath of the enemy. When consecrated, this dagger becomes enchanted. In the hands of the necromancer, it throbs, bounds up, burns and flashes. Sometimes, a kind of ringing sound comes out of it, indicating its wonderful powers. By its touch, even rocks break asunder. It is generally kept concealed, being covered with a black or dark-blue silk scarf.

The Phur-pa that has just been exhibited by Mr. Greer is of this last kind, and according to the belief of the Lamas, will become enchanted, when it has been properly consecrated.

-- Journal of the Buddhist Text Society of India, Volume 4, edited by Sarat Chandra Das, C.I.E.

Four ghouls bring in an object wrapped in a black cloth, and placing it on the ground, dance round it with intricate steps, then raising the cloth disclose a prone image of a man, which has been made in the manner previously described.

Then enter the demon-generals and kings, including the demon Tam-din, and they dance around the image. They are followed by the fiendesses, including the twelve Tan-ma, under Devi. These are followed by the black-hat devil-dancers, and these are, in the established church version, held to represent the Lama who assumed this disguise to assassinate king Lan-darma. The four guards now hold the door to prevent entry of any enemies or evil spirits. The black-hats dance round thrice and are succeeded by the god of Wealth, fiendesses, and butchers, the five great "kings,"34 and their queens and ministers, also the state sorcerer of Na-ch'un, and his eight-fold attendants.35

Then enters a fearful fiend named "The holy king of Religion,"36 with the head of a bull, holding in his right hand a dagger with silk streamers, and in his left a human heart (in effigy) and a snare, attended by a retinue of fiends and fiendesses, bearing weapons and dressed in skins,37 human beings, tigers and leopards; and the last to enter are tiger-skin-clad warriors with bows and arrows. This part of the Demon-king can only be taken by a monk of the purest morals, and the costly dress which this actor wears at the play at Potala is one presented by the emperor of China.

The Religious King-Devil

The King-devil, surrounded by his fiendish hordes, dances and makes with dagger the gesture of "The Three"; he stabs the heart, arms and legs of the figure, and binds its feet by the snare. He then rings a bell, and seizing a sword, chops off the limbs and slits open the breast and extracts the bleeding heart, lungs and intestines.

A troupe of monsters, with the heads of deer and yaks, rush in and gore the remains and scatter the fragments with their horns and hands to the four directions.38

Underling fiends now collect the fragments into a huge silver basin shaped like a skull, which four of them carry to the Demon-king in a pompous procession, in which the black-hat devil-dancers join.
The Demon-king then seizes the bleeding fragments, and, eating a morsel, throws them up in the air, when they are caught and fought for by the other demons, who throw the pieces about in a frantic manner, and ultimately throwing them amongst the crowd, which now takes part in the orgie, and a general melee results, each one scrambling for morsels of the fragments, which some eat and others treasure as talismans against wounds, diseases and misfortunes.

The Tibetans may practically be considered as a kind of cannibals. I was struck with this notion while witnessing the burial ceremony. All the cloths used in the burial go as a matter of course to the grave-diggers, though they hardly deserve this name, as their duty consists not in digging the grave but in chopping the flesh of the corpse and pounding the bones. Even priests give them help, for the pounding business is necessarily tedious and tiresome. Meanwhile the pounders have to take refreshment, and tea is drunk almost incessantly, for Tibetans are great tea-drinkers. The grave-diggers, or priests, prepare tea, or help themselves to baked flour, with their hands splashed over with a mash of human flesh and bones, for they never wash their hands before they prepare tea or take food, the most they do being to clap their hands, so as to get rid of the coarser fragments. And thus they take a good deal of minced human flesh, bones or brain, mixed with their tea or flour. They do so with perfect nonchalance; in fact, they have no idea whatever how really abominable and horrible their practice is, for they are accustomed to it. When I suggested that they might wash their hands before taking refreshment, they looked at me with an air of surprise. They scoffed at my suggestion, and even observed that eating with unwashed hands really added relish to food; besides, the spirit of the dead man would be satisfied when he saw them take fragments of his mortal remains with their food without aversion. It has been stated that the Tibetans[393] are descendants of the Rākshasa tribe—a tribe of fiendish cannibals who used to feed on human flesh; and what I witnessed at the burial convinced me that, even at the present day, they retained the horrible habit of their ancestors.

-- Three Years in Tibet, by Shramana Ekai Kawaguchi

The service, which is done by the priest who represents the saint Padma-sambhava, is here summarized. It is called "The Expelling Oblation of the hidden Fierce Ones."39

"Salutation to Padma-sambhava! I here arrange to upset the hosts of demons, by the aid of the hidden Fierce Ones. In bygone ages you guarded the Buddha's doctrines and upset all the harmful spirits. Now the charge has come to me, O! St. Padma! Instruct me as you did prince Pearl and your fairy wife — the Victorious Ocean of Foreknowledge. You wrote the rite and hid it away in the cave. Samaya! rgya! The sealed secret!"

Then arrange as a square magic mandala the cemetery, as the abode of the eight classes of demons. And set down poison, blood, and four lotus leaves with a red trident in the centre. And draw fire-flames, doors, etc., according to rule. Above it place a small table and on it a vessel filled with black grains, and a three-headed cake. Cover it up with an umbrella and put inside this house a linka (image of wheaten flour), which represents the injuring demon. Then arrange everything complete with the various sorts of offerings, and then do the necessary rites.

First of all invoke one's own tutelary thus: —

"Hum! O! Chief of fiercest thunderbolts, immovable and vast as the sky, the overruling angry one! I invoke you who are possessed of supreme strength, and able to subjugate all three empty worlds to do my desires. I invoke you to rise from the burning sky. I, the spell-holder, invoke you with great reverence and faith. You must ripen all the fruits of my desires, otherwise you shall suffer, O! tutelary!40 Arise from the sky and come forth with all your retinue, and quickly route the demons."

Then here offer a libation of wine.

Now the mantra-holder must mentally conceive that the house is full of clouds and that he is sitting in the presence of his tutelary; while the fire of anger burns outside, the mist of poison floats inside; the Las-byed-gs'ed-ma is killing the animals, and the evil spirits are wandering about. The devil now must assume a sorrowful state owing to his separation from his patron and protector.

Then recite the following: —

"Namo! The commands of the Lama are true, the commands of the Three Holy Ones true; and so are those of the fierce Thunderbolt Lama, etc., etc. Through the power of the great truths, Buddha's doctrines, the image of the noble Lama, the riches of wealthy people and all the lucky times, let the hosts of demons of the three regions come forth and enter this linka image. Vajra-Agushaja!"

Then chant the following for keeping the demons at bay: —

Hum! Through the blessing of the blood-drinking Fierce One, let the injuring demons and evil spirits be kept at bay. I pierce their hearts with this hook; I bind their hands with this snare of rope; I bind their body with this powerful chain; I keep them down with this tinkling bell. Now, O! blood-drinking Angry One, take your sublime seat upon them. Vajor-Agu-cha-dsa! vajora-pasha-hum! vajora-spo-da- va! vajora-ghan-dhi-ho!"

Then chant the following for destroying the evil spirits: —

"Salutation to Heruka, the owner of the noble Fierce Ones! The evil spirits have tricked you and have tried to injure Buddha's doctrine, so extinguish them .... Tear out the hearts of the injuring evil spirits and utterly exterminate them."

Then the supposed corpse of the linka should be dipped in Rakta (blood), and the following should be chanted: —

"Hum! O! ye hosts of gods of the magic-circle! Open your mouths as wide as the earth and sky, clench your fangs like rocky mountains, and prepare to eat up the entire bones, blood, and the entrails of all the injuring evil spirits. Ma-ha mam-sa-la kha hi! Ma-ha tsitta-kha hi! maha-rakta kha-hi! maha-go ro-tsa-na-kha-hi! Maha-bah su-ta kha hi! Maha-keng-ni ri ti kha hi!"

Then chant the following for upsetting the evil spirits: —

"Hum! Bhyo! The black grains and a three-headed cake are duly set on the Buddha's plate: the weapons flash; the poisonous vapour flows; the Fierce Ones thunder their mantras; the smell of the plague is issuing; but this three-headed cake can cure all these disasters, and can repress the injuring demon spirits.

"Bhyo! Bhyo! On the angry enemies! On the injuring demon spirits! On the voracious demons! turn them all to ashes!

"Mah-ra-ya-rbad bhyo! Upset them all! Upset! Upset!

"'Let glory Come' and Virtue! Sadhu!"

A burnt sacrifice is now made41 by the Demon-king. He pours oil into a cauldron, under which a fire is lit, and when the oil is boiling, he ties to the end of a stick which he holds an image of a man made of paper, and he puts into the boiling oil a skull filled with a mixture of arak (rum), poison, and blood, and into this he puts the image; and when the image bursts into flame, he declares that all the injuries have been consumed.

This rite is followed by a procession to abandon a large three-headed image of dough,42 to the top of which many threads and streamers are tied. This procession of monks is preceded by the maskers, numbering several hundreds in the larger monasteries,43 clanging noisy cymbals and blowing thigh-bone trumpets, etc. The laity follow in the rear, brandishing guns and other weapons, and shouting "Drag-ge-pun c'am." And when the image is abandoned the crowd tear it to pieces and eagerly fight for the fragments, which are treasured as charms. A gun is then fired amid general shouts of joy, and the Lamas return to the temple for a celebration of worship.

The play is now practically over. The black-cap devil-dancers again appear with drums, and execute their manoeuvres, and the performance concludes with the appearance of the Chinese priest, entitled Hwashang, who was expelled from Tibet by St. Padma. This Chinese priest is represented with a fatuous grinning large-mouthed mask (see fig. 3, page 536), and attended by two boys like himself. They go through a form of worship of the images, but being unorthodox, it is ridiculed by the spectators.

This mystic play is conducted at all monasteries of the established church, at government expense. The greatest of these performances are held at Potala, Muru Tasang,44 and Tashi-lhunpo at the end of the old year, and at the priest-king's palace of Teng-gye-ling on the twenty-ninth day of the eighth month.

At Potala it is held in the courtyard of the Grand Lama's chapel royal, the Nam-gyal temple-monastery. The dough-images and cakes begin to be prepared from the second day of the twelfth month, and from the third to the ninth the whole convent is engaged in the worship of the terrible guardian-demons45 of the country, and of Ye-she-Gon-po or Mahakala.

The rest of the month till the eventful day is occupied in rehearsals and other preparations. Before dawn on the twenty-ninth, the play-manager, after worshipping the demons, arranges the banners, instruments, and carpets.46 At the first blast of the great conch-shell trumpet, the populace assemble. On the second blast the state officials enter and take their seats, the Shab-pe or state ministers, Dun-k'or, and Tse-dun. And on the third blast, the Tibetan king-regent enters with all his attendants, and he invites the attendance of his Defending Majesty,47 the Dalai Lama, who enters a small state-box48 named "The world's transparency."

The orchestra, which is screened off in a tent, begins by blowing a thigh-bone trumpet thrice, followed by the great cymbals49 and drums; then out troop the black-hatted Shamanist dancers, and the play proceeds as above detailed. In the concluding ceremony the large cake, surmounted by a human head, is burned, and is considered to typify the burning of the present enemies of Lamaism.

But the grandest display takes place at the king-regent's own monastery of Teng-gye-ling, of which I have given a sketch-plan of the buildings, etc., from information supplied to me by a monk who has taken part frequently in the play there. The Lama who acts as regent is the de facto ruler of Tibet, and is generally known as "the King"50 and also called "The country's Majesty."51 The superior guests and nobility who have received invitations are permitted to pitch their tents upon the roof of the monks' quarters, and the populace are kept outside the arena by a rope barrier.

An account of the play at Tashi-lhunpo has been given by Mr. Bogle.52 It took place in a large court under the palace, and the surrounding galleries were crowded with spectators. Another short account53 describes the court as surrounded by pillared balconies, four storeys high. The Grand Lama's seat was on the second storey. The other seats in the lower balcony were occupied by the families of chiefs and nobles. In the upper were pilgrims and merchants. The stage manager held a dorje and bell-like Dorje-ch'an, but had an abbot's hat. After a prayer there entered a figure representing "the celebrated Dharmatala who invited the sixteen Sthaviras to China for the diffusion of Buddhism." His mask was dark with yawning mouth to mean ecstasy. Numerous scarves were thrown to him by the spectators, which were picked up by his two wives, with painted yellow complexions. Then came the four kings of the quarters, dressed in barbaric splendour. Following these came the sons of the gods, about sixty in number, dressed with silk robes, and glittering with ornaments of gold, precious stones, and pearls. Following these were Indian acharyas, whose black-bearded faces and Indian dress excited loud laughter among spectators. Then followed the four warders of the cemeteries in skeleton dress. Afterwards "the body of the devil in effigy was burnt, a pile of dry sedge being set on fire upon it." Incense was burnt on the hill-tops in the neighbourhood.

The masks used in this play deserve some notice. In Tibet the great masks54 are made of mashed paper and cloth, and occasionally of gilt copper.55 In Sikhim and Bhotan, etc., where wood is abundant, and the damp climate is destructive to papier-mache, they are carved out of durable wood.56 In all cases they are fantastically painted, and usually provided with a wig of yak-tail of different colours.

Some Masks.
1. Ghoul. 2. Bull-headed K'ang.
3. Hwashang.
4. A fiendess.
5. A locality genius.
6. A "Teacher."
7. Hwashang's son.

The masks may be broadly classed into the following five groups57; though the so-called reformed Lamas have modified some of these, as already noted.

I. -- King of the Ogres (sKu)

1. Drag-mar,58 or "The Terrible Red One." Sometimes called Guru Drag-s'ed, or Yes'e-Gon-po, and "Religious Protector,"59 and regarded as the god of Death, Mahakala, and also as a form of St. Padma-sambhava. His mask is of hideous anthropomorphic appearance and huge size, with great projecting tusks and three eyes; the vertical eye on the centre of the forehead is the eye of fore-knowledge. And it bears a chaplet of five skulls, with pendants of human bones.

The Ten Awful Ogres, and the Ten Ogresses. These are generally like the above. The females only differ in having no beards nor horns. The chief are:

II. -- The Angry Ogres (To-wo).

2. Lha-mo dMag-zor-ma, identified with Kali, the consort of Mahakala, and of a blue colour: measly lips. As Ran-'byun-ma she is green, and her mouth is shut and not gaping as in the former.

3. Ts'e-ma-ra.60 Red like number one.

4. The Bull-headed (Lan). Black in colour with three eyes and bearing a banner61 on its forehead. It is also called "ma-c'an."62

5. The Tiger-headed (sTag), brown and yellow-striped.

6. The Lion (Sen-ge). White.

7. The Roc, or Garuda (Kyun). Coloured green.

8 The Monkey (spre-ul). Ruddy-brown.

9. The Stag (S'a-ba).63 Fawn-coloured.

10. The Yak. Coloured black.

III. -- The Ghouls.

11. Tur, or grave-yard ghouls, with skull masks and clothes representing skeletons.

IV. -- The Earth-Master-Demons.

12. Sa-bdag Genii. These have large hideous masks but only one pair of eyes, as representing their subordinate position. Their chief is called "The great guardian King,"64 and he is attended by red demons (Tsan) and black ones (Dud), etc.

13. Acaryas. These have small cloth masks of ordinary size, and of a white, or clay, or black colour; and their wives are red- or yellow-complexioned. The hair of these "Teachers" is blue in colour, and done up into a chignon on the crown as with Indian Yogis. Although they represent the early Indian priests who brought Buddhism to Tibet, they are, as in ancient India, the buffoons and jesters of the play.

14. Hva-shang. This is a huge, fatuous, round mask of a red colour, to represent a historical Chinese Buddhist monk of the eighth century. And he is attended by several of his sons65 with similar masks.

The dresses of the King-demon and Ogre maskers are of the most costly silk and brocade, and usually with capes, which show Chinese influence.66 Those of the others are usually woollen or cotton. And the robes of those actors who represent the demons, who get severely cudgelled by their superiors, are thickly padded to resist the blows which fall on them.

Where there are a number of one class going in processions or dancing, those dressed alike go in pairs. The weapons carried by the maskers have already been referred to. Most are made of wood carved with thunderbolts. The staves of the skeleton maskers are topped by a death's-head. The sword made by stringing together Chinese brass coins ("Cash") is called the Silingtun, from the province of Siling in western China, whence these coins come to Tibet.

Another religious pantomime, performed, however, by lay actors, is the Lion-Dance. It is not enacted at the new year, but at other seasons, when the people are en fete.


The plot is based upon the mythical lion of the Himalayan snows, which is believed to confer fortune on the country where it resides. One of these lions was enticed to China by a wizard, and, somewhat like La Mascotte, the crops and cattle prospered as long as it lived, and when it died the Chinese stripped off its skin, with which they conduct this dance. The lion is represented as about the size of an ox. Its head and shoulders are formed by a framework, which one man manipulates from the interior, while another man occupies its hind quarters. A harlequin mummer with a variety of rough-and-tumble antics introduces the beast, which enters with leaps and bounds and goes through a variety of manoeuvres, including mounting on a table, and the performance is diversified by the capers of clowns and acrobats.
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Re: The Buddhism of Tibet, or Lamaism With Its Mystic Cults

Postby admin » Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:04 am

Part 2 of 4

The Sacred Dramas.

The sacred dramas, which are based upon the Jatakas or former births of Buddha, are very popular. They are performed by professional lay actors and actresses, generally known as "A-lche-lha-mo," though this title "goddess-sister'' is strictly applicable only to the actresses who take the part of the goddesses or their incarnations. Strolling parties of these actors travel about Tibet, especially during the winter months, and they frequently act in the presence of the Grand Lama himself.

Acts of the Visvantara-Play

The play is usually performed al fresco, without a stage frame to the picture, but to obtain the due sense of illusion it is usually done at night by lantern-light. The plot is presented in the form of a chanted narrative, comparable to the chorus of the Greek plays, in the course of which the several leading characters, dressed in suitable costume, come forth and speak for themselves. It is thus somewhat like the narration of a novel with the conversational parts acted. Some buffoonery is given as a prelude and to also fill up the intervals between the acts. These buffoons usually are the so-called hunters67; but sometimes, as in the old Hindu dramas, the buffoons are Brahmans.

The most popular of all the dramas which they play are the Visvantara (Vessantara) Jataka, or the last great Birth of Buddha, and the indigenous drama of Nan-sa, or The Brilliant Light. But they also at times play amongst other pieces the Sudhana Jataka,68 the marriage of king Sron Tsan Gampo,69 the Indian king (?) Amoghasiddha,70 and the fiendess Do-ba-zan-mo.71  


Throughout the Buddhist world the story of prince Visvantara is the most favourite of all the tales of Buddha's former births.72 It represents the climax of the virtuous practice (the paramita) of charity, in which the princely Bodhisat, in order to attain Buddhahood, cuts himself loose from all worldly ties by giving away not only all his wealth, but also his children and even his beloved wife.

It is one of the most touching of the legendary tales of its class, and still exercises a powerful fascination for orientals, moving many to tears. Even the rough Indo-Scythian tribes, who invaded India about the beginning of the Christian era, could not refrain from tears when they saw the picture of the sufferings of this prince.73 It is sculptured on the Sanchi Topes at Bhilsa, and it is also the most favourite of all the sacred plays with the southern Buddhists74; though, as Mr. Ralston observes, "such acts of renunciation as the princely Bodhisat accomplished do not commend themselves to the western mind. An oriental story-teller can describe a self-sacrificing monarch as cutting slices of flesh out of his own arms and plunging them in the fire in honour of a deity, and yet not be afraid of exciting anything but a religious thrill among his audience. To European minds such a deed would probably appear grotesque."75


The Great Former Birth of Buddha as the Charitable Prince Visvantara

Key to Picture of Visvantara Jataka
1. The sonless king and queen bewailing their lot.
2. A son is obtained after worshipping the Buddhas.
3. A princess sought for his wife.
4. His suit urged by princess's father.
5. Bride leaving her father's palace.
6. Visvantara meeting his bride.
7. Their family.
8. Giving charity.
9. Brahman sent for the Wishing Gem.
9a. Brahman begging the gem.
10. Prince hesitating to give it.
11. Leads Brahman to his treasury.
12. Brahman refusing other jewels.
13. Prince giving up gem.
14. Placing it on white elephant.
15. Arrival of Brahman with jewel.
16. Its deposit in the enemy's palace.
17. Prince upbraided by his family.
18. Minister urging king to kill prince.
19. Prince saved from lynching.
20. His banishment.
21. Citizens bidding him farewell.
22. Brahmans beg his elephants.
23. Brahmans beg his chariots.
24. he and family proceed on foot.
25. Miraculous crossing of river.
26. Traveling to forest of banishment.
27. In forest.
28. Brahman begging for the children.
29. Children leave-taking.
30. Brahman beating the children.
31. Takes them to his home.
32. Engaged as drudges.
33. Forest hut.
34. Princess gathering food.
35 Birds assisting her.
36. She is begged by Indra (Jupiter).
37. And is given and taken off.
38. Prince visited by 1,000 Buddhas.
39. Worship by animals, Nagas, etc.
40. His departure from forest with restored wife.
41. Gives his eyes to blind beggar.
42. The restored blind man's gratitude.
43. The blind prince led onwards.
44. The Buddhas restored his sight.
45. The wicked king begs forgiveness.
46. The Brahman returns the jewel.
47. Prince's joyous reception.
48. The prince and family at home again.
49. The prince's re-birth as St. Padma, the founder of Lamaism.  

The text of the story, as found in the Tibetan canon,76 agrees generally with the Pali77 and Burmese78 accounts. I give here an abstract of the version79 which is currently acted in western Tibet. It differs in several details from the canonical narrative and in the introduction of some incidents, such as the bestowal of his eyes, which are usually regarded as pertaining to other Jatakas, and it also is given a local Tibetan application, and the founder of Lamaism, St. Padma, is made to appear as a reincarnation of the prince Visvantara. To illustrate the text, I give its pictorial representation as a reduced tracing from a Tibetan painting.

The Omnipotent Pure One,80 or The Prince of Charity.

Salutation to the Sublime Lord of the World!81

Long long ago, in the city of Baidha,82 in India, there reigned a king named Gridhip,83 who, after propitiating the gods and dragons, had a son born unto him by his favourite queen, "The Pure Young Goddess,"84 and the prince was named by the Brahmans the "Omnipotent Pure Lord of the World" [but we shall call him by the better known name of Visvantara]. This prince grew luxuriantly, "like a lotus in a pool," and soon acquired all accomplishments. He was "addicted to magnanimity, bestowing presents freely and quite dispassionately and assiduous in giving away." When men heard of his excessive generosity, numberless crowds flocked to beg of him from all directions, and he sent none of them away without having fully realized their expectations, so that after a few years of this wholesale almsgiving, no poor people were left in the country — all had become rich.

Now, this country owed its prosperity to an enchanted wish-granting gem,85 which was kept in the custody of the king, and by virtue of which the stores in his treasury, notwithstanding the enormous amounts which were daily given away by his son, never grew less. The traditional enemy of this country, the greedy king86 of a barren land,87 hearing of the prince's vow to bestow any part of his property on anyone who asked for it, secretly instructed one of his Brahmans to go and beg from the prince the enchanted gem.

So the Brahman having arrived at the gate of the palace, threw himself before the prince, exclaiming, with outstretched hands: "Victory to thee, O prince! our land is famished for want of rain, therefore give unto me the enchanted Jewel!"

Now, prince Visvantara was deeply distressed at hearing such a request, and he hesitated to give away this precious gem, through fear of offending his father, the king, and the people; but finding that the Brahman would accept nothing less than this gem, and reflecting that if he refused to give away any of his property which had been asked from him, his charitable merit would cease, he besought the blessing of the gem by placing it on his head, and then gave it away without regret, saying, "May I, by this incomparable gift, become a Buddha." And the Brahman carried off the gem on a white elephant to the foreign king, their enemy, who by virtue of the gem waxed rich and threatened to invade the country, which now became afflicted by famine and other disasters.

The prince's father and the people, hearing of the loss of the enchanted gem, were furious with vexation, and the enraged minister, Tara-mdses, seized the prince and handed him over to the scavengers88 for lynching, and he was only rescued by the entreaties of the good minister Candrakirti and of his wife and children — for he had, when of age, married the beautiful princess, "The Enlightening Moon-Sun,"89 better known as "Madri," by whom he had two90 children, a son and daughter. The ministers decided that the person who informed the prince of the arrival of the Brahman should lose his tongue; he who brought the Jewel from its casket-box should lose his hands; he who showed the path to the Brahman should lose his eyes; and he who gave away the Jewel should lose his head. To this the king could not consent, as it meant the death of his beloved son, so he ordered the prince to be banished for a period of twenty-five years to "the black hill of the demons resounding with ravens."91

The ruin thus brought about by the Babu's visit extended also to the unfortunate Lama's relatives, the governor of Gyantsé (the Phal Dahpön) and his wife (Lha-cham), whom he had persuaded to befriend Sarat C. Das. These two were cast into prison for life, and their estates confiscated, and several of their servants were barbarously mutilated, their hands and feet were cut off and their eyes gouged out, and they were then left to die a lingering death in agony, so bitterly cruel was the resentment of the Lamas against all who assisted the Babu in this attempt to spy into their sacred city.

-- Lhasa and Its Mysteries: With a Record of the Expedition of 1903-1904, by Laurence Austine Waddell

Then the prince prayed his father's forgiveness, and the king, filled with sorrow at parting, besought his son, saying, "O, son, give up making presents and remain here." But the prince replied, "The earth and its mountains may perhaps be overthrown, but I, O! king, cannot turn aside from the virtue of giving."

And the good prince implored his father's permission to devote seven more days to almsgiving, to which the king consented.

Prince Visvantara, addressing the princess, besought her to cherish their darling children, and to accept the hand of a protecting consort worthy of her incomparable virtue and beauty. But the princess, feeling hurt even at the suggestion of her separation, refused to part from him, and inspired by a desire to comfort the prince, paints in glowing colours the amenities of life in the forest of banishment, though the prince protested that it was a wilderness of thorns, beset by tigers, lions, venomous snakes, and scorpions and demons, excessively hot during the day, and rigorously cold at night, where there are no houses or even caves for shelter, and no couch but grass, and no food but jungle fruits.

The princess, however, replies, "Be the dangers what they may, I would be no true wife were I to desert you now," and thus refuses to part from him; so they set out accompanied by their children,92 riding in a three-horse chariot and on one elephant.

"When the prince, together with his wife and children, had reached the margin of the forest, all the people who formed his retinue raised a loud cry of lament. But so soon as it was heard, the Bodhisat addressed the retinue which had come forth from the good city, and ordered it to turn back, saying, —

"'However long anything may be loved and held dear, yet separation from it is undoubtedly imminent. Friends and relatives must undoubtedly be severed from what is dearest to them, as from the trees of the hermitage wherein they have rested from the fatigues of the journey. Therefore when ye recollect that all over the world men are powerless against separation from their friends, ye must for the sake of peace strengthen your unsteady minds by unfailing exertion.'

"When the Bodhisat had journeyed three hundred yojanas, a Brahman came to him, and said. 'O Kshatriya prince, I have come three hundred yojanas because I have heard of your virtue. It is meet that you should give me the splendid chariot as a recompense for my fatigue.'

"Madri could not bear this, and she addressed the begging Brahman in angry speech: 'Alas! this Brahman, who even in the forest entreats the king's son for a gift, has a merciless heart. Does no pity arise within him when he sees the prince fallen from his royal splendour?' The Bodhisat said, 'Find no fault with the Brahman.' 'Why not?' 'Madri, if there were no people of that kind who long after riches, there would also be no giving, and in that case how could we, inhabitants of the earth, become possessed of insight. As giving and the other Paramitas (or virtues essential to a Buddhaship) rightly comprise the highest virtue, the Bodhisats constantly attain to the highest insight.'

"Thereupon the Bodhisat bestowed the chariot and horses on that Brahman with exceeding great joy, and said. 'O Brahman, by means of this gift of the chariot, a present free from the blemish of grudging, may I be enabled to direct the car of the sinless Law directed by the most excellent Rishi!'

"When Visvantara had with exceeding great joy bestowed on the Brahman the splendid chariot, he took prince Krishna on his shoulder, and Madri took princess Jalini.93 They went forth into the forest, proceeding on foot, when five Brahmans appeared and begged for their clothes, which were at once taken off and given to them. The prince and his family then clothed themselves with leaves, and trudged along painfully for about a hundred miles, until a mighty river barred their progress. The prince then prayed, 'O! Great river, make way for us!' Then the torrent divided, leaving a lane of dry land, across which they passed. On reaching the other side, the prince, addressing the river, said, 'O! river, resume your course, otherwise innumerable animal beings lower down your course will suffer misery from drought!' On which the river straightway resumed its course.

"Then, journeying onwards, they reached the forest of penance among snowy-white mountains and forest-clad94 hills; and by the aid of two mendicants of the Mahayana creed whom they accidentally met, they fixed on a hillock for their abode. And the prince dwelt there in a separate cell like a celibate monk, and took the vow which pleased his heart, and it was not altogether an unpleasant life. The water welled out of the ground conveniently near, and flowers and most luscious fruits appeared in abundance, and the parrots assisted the princess and children in gathering fruit by nipping the stem of the best fruits on the highest trees. And the carnivorous animals left off preying on animals and took to eating grass. The most pleasing songsters amongst the birds settled near by, and the wild animals treated the young prince and princess as playmates, and rendered them useful aid. Thus the young prince riding on a deer, fell off and bruised his arm, when a monkey at once carried him to a lake and bathed and soothed the wound with healing herbs.

"One day, when Madri had gone to collect roots and fruits in the penance-forest, a Brahman95 came to Visvantara, and said, 'O prince of Kshatriya race, may you be victorious! As I have no slave, and wander about alone with my staff, therefore is it meet that you should give me your two children.' As the Bodhisat, Visvantara, after hearing these words, hesitated a little about giving his beloved children, the Brahman said to the Bodhisat, —

"'O prince of Kshatriya race, as I have heard that you are the giver of all things, therefore do I ask why you still ponder over this request of mine. You are renowned all over the earth as the possessor of a compassion which gives away all things: you are bound to act constantly in conformity with this renown.'

"After hearing these words the Bodhisat said to the Brahman, 'O great Brahman, if I had to give away my own life I should not hesitate for a single moment. How, then, should I think differently if I had to give away my own children? O great Brahman, under these circumstances I have bethought me as to how the children, when given by me, if I do give away these two children who have grown up in the forest, will live full of sorrow on account of their separation from their mother. And inasmuch as many will blame me, in that with excessive mercilessness I have given away the children and not myself, therefore is it better that you, O Brahman, should take me.'

"The Brahman presses his petition and says, 'It is not right that I, after having come to you, should remain without a present, and all my cherished hopes be brought to nought.' On hearing this the prince, though torn by paternal emotion, gave the children, saying, 'May I, by virtue of this gift, become a Buddha.'

"Meanwhile, Madri had set off for the hermitage, carrying roots and fruits, and when the earth shook, she hurried on all the faster towards the hermitage. A certain deity who perceived that she might hinder the surrender which the Bodhisat proposed to make for the salvation of the world, assumed the form of a lioness and barred her way. Then Madri said to this wife of this king of the beasts, 'O wife of the king of the beasts, full of wantonness, wherefore do you bar my way? In order that I may remain truly irreproachable, make way for me that I may pass swiftly on. Moreover, you are the wife of the king of the beasts, and I am the spouse of the Lion of Princes, so that we are of similar rank. Therefore, O queen of the beasts, leave the road clear for me.'

"When Madri had thus spoken, the deity who had assumed the form of a lioness turned aside from the way. Madri reflected for a moment, recognizing inauspicious omens, for the air resounded with wailing notes, and the beings inhabiting the forest gave forth sorrowful sounds, and she came to the conclusion that some disaster had certainly taken place in the hermitage, and said, 'As my eye twitches, as the birds utter cries, as fear comes upon me, both my children have certainly been given away: as the earth quakes, as my heart trembles, as my body grows weak, my two children have certainly been given away.'

"With a hundred thousand similar thoughts of woe she hastened towards the hermitage. Entering therein she looked mournfully around, and, not seeing the children, she sadly, with trembling heart, followed the traces left on the ground of the hermitage. 'Here the boy Krishna and his sister were wont to play with the young gazelles; here is the house which they twain made out of earth; these are the playthings of the two children. As they are not to be seen, it is possible that they may have gone unseen by me into the hut of foliage and may be sleeping there.' Thus thinking and hoping to see the children, she laid aside the roots and fruits, and with tearful eyes embraced her husband's feet, asking, 'O lord, whither are the boy and girl gone?' Visvantara replied, 'A Brahman came to me full of hope. To whom have I given the two children. Thereat rejoice.' When he had spoken these words, Madri fell to the ground like a gazelle pierced by a poisoned arrow, and struggled like a fish taken out of the water. Like a crane robbed of her young ones she uttered sad cries. Like a cow, whose calf has died, she gave forth many a sound of wailing. Then she said. 'Shaped like young lotuses with hands whose flesh is as tender as a young lotus leaf.96 My two children are suffering, are undergoing pain, wherever they have gone. Slender as young gazelles, gazelle-eyed, delighting in the lairs of the gazelles, what sufferings are my children now undergoing in the power of strangers? With tearful eyes and sad sobbing, enduring cruel sufferings, now that they are no longer seen by me, they live downtrodden among needy men. They who were nourished at my breast, who used to eat roots, flowers, and fruits, they who, experiencing indulgence, were never wont to enjoy themselves to the full, those two children of mine now undergo great sufferings. Severed from their mother and their family, deserted by the cruelty of their relatives, thrown together with sinful men, my two children are now undergoing great suffering. Constantly tormented by hunger and thirst, made slaves by those into whose power they have fallen, they will doubtless experience the pangs of despair. Surely I have committed some terrible sin in a previous existence, in severing hundreds of beings from their dearest ones.'

"After gratifying the Bodhisat with these words, the king of the gods, Sakra, said to himself: 'As this man, when alone and without support, might be driven into a corner, I will ask him for Madri.' So he took the form of a Brahman, came to the Bodhisat, and said to him: 'Give me as a slave this lovely sister, fair in all her limbs, unblamed by her husband, prized by her race.'
Then in anger spake Madri to the Brahman: 'O shameless and full of craving, do you long after her who is not lustful like you, refuse of Brahmans, but takes her delight according to the upright law?' Then the Bodhisat, Visvantara, began to look upon her with compassionate heart, and Madri said to him: 'I have no anxiety on my own account, I have no care for myself; my only anxiety is as to how you are to exist when remaining alone.' Then said the Bodhisat to Madri: 'As I seek after the height which surmounts endless anguish, no complaint must be uttered by me, O Madri, upon this earth. Do you, therefore, follow after this Brahman without complaining. I will remain in the hermitage, living after the manner of the gazelles.'

"When he had uttered these words, he said to himself with joyous and exceedingly contented mind: 'This gift here in this forest is my best gift. After I have here absolutely given away Madri too, she shall by no means be recalled.' Then he took Madri by the hand and said to that Brahman: 'Receive, most excellent Brahman, this is my dear wife, loving of heart, obedient to orders, charming in speech, demeaning herself as one of lofty race.'

"When in order to attain to supreme insight, he had given away his beautiful wife, the earth quaked six times to its extremities like a boat on the water. And when Madri had passed into the power of the Brahman, overcome by pain at being severed from her husband, her son, and her daughter, with faltering breath and in a voice which huskiness detained within her throat, she spoke thus: 'What crimes have I committed in my previous existence, that now, like a cow whose calf is dead, I am lamenting in an uninhabited forest?' Then the king of the gods, Sakra, laid aside his Brahman's form, assumed his proper shape and said to Madri: 'O fortunate one, I am not a Brahman, nor am I a man at all. I am the king of the gods, Sakra, the subduer of the Asuras. As I am pleased that you have manifested the most excellent morality, say what desire you would now wish to have satisfied by me.'

"Rendered happy by these words, Madri prostrated herself before Sakra, and said: 'O thou of the thousand eyes, may the lord of the three and thirty set my children free from thraldom, and let them find their way to their great grandfather.' After these words had been spoken the prince of the gods entered the hermitage and addressed the Bodhisat. Taking Madri by the left hand, he thus spoke to the Bodhisat: 'I give you Madri for your service. You must not give her to anyone. If you give away what has been entrusted to you fault will be found with you.'97

"The king of the gods, in accordance with his promise, caused angels every night to unloose and nurse the unfortunate children of the illustrious recluse when the wicked Brahman fell asleep, and only re-tied them just before he awakened. Afterwards he deluded the Brahman who had carried off the boy and girl, so that under the impression that it was another city, he entered the self-same city from which they had departed, and there set to work to sell the children. When the ministers saw this they told the king, saying: 'O king, your grandchildren, Krishna and Jalini, have been brought into this good city in order to be sold, by an extremely worthless Brahman.' When the king heard these words, he said indignantly, 'Bring the children here, forthwith.'"

When this command had been attended to by the ministers, and the townspeople had hastened to appear before the king, one of the ministers brought the children before him. When the king saw his grand-children brought before him destitute of clothing and with foul bodies he fell from his throne to the ground, and the assembly of ministers, and women, and all who were present, began to weep. Then the king said to the ministers: "Let the bright-eyed one, who, even when dwelling in the forest, delights in giving, be summoned hither at once, together with his wife."

Then the king sent messengers to recall his son; but the latter would not return until the full period of his banishment was over.

On his way back he meets a blind man, who asks him for his eyes, which he immediately plucks out and bestows on the applicant, who thus receives his sight.98 The prince, now blind, is led onwards by his wife, and on the way meets "The Buddhas of the Three Periods," -- the Past, Present, and Future, namely, Dipamkara, Sakya,99 and Maitreya, who restore the prince's sight.

Journeying onwards he is met by the hostile king who had been the cause of all his trouble, but who now returns him the gem, and with it much money and jewels, and he implored the prince's forgiveness for having caused his banishment and sufferings, and he prayed that when the prince became a Buddha he might be born as one of his attendants. The prince readily forgave him, and accorded him his other requests, and they became friends.

On the approach of the prince to the capital, the old king, his father, caused the roads to be swept and strewn with flowers, and sprinkled with sweet perfume, and met him with flags and joyous music. And he gave again into his son's charge all the treasure and jewels.

The prince, thus restored to his former position, resumed his wholesale bestowal of charity as before, and everyone was happy.
The young princess, Utpalmani, married the son of the Brahman chief, named Ksheman. And the young prince married the beautiful princess Mandhara, daughter of king Lja-wai-tok; and succeeding to the throne, he left his father free to indulge in his pious pursuit, Charity.

The play concludes by the chief actor, who takes the part of the charitable prince, giving the piece a local Tibetan application.

He states: I, "The Lord of the world," am afterwards king Srong-Tsan Gampo (the introducer of Buddhism into Tibet), and my two wives are afterwards his Chinese and Newari princess-consorts. The two Bhikshus, who assisted me, are afterwards Thonmi Sambhota (the minister of king Sron-Tsan, who introduced writing to Tibet), and Manjusri (the introducer of astrology and metaphysics); the demon who obstructed the two queens is Sri Vajrapani. And five generations later, I, Sron-Tsan Gampo, appeared as Padma-sambhava, the founder of Lamaism. The prince, 'Od-zer-tok is Norbu 'Dsin-pa, the princess Utpalmani is Lhamo dbyan Chan-ma (Saraswati devi). That Brahman is the black devil Tharba, and his wife is gNod sbyin-ma, or "the injuring Yakshini." That uninhabited wilderness of the demons, resounding with the croaking of ravens, is the snowy region of Tibet. The dwelling place there of the king is Yar-luns gyalwai-k'ra-'buk; and that great river is teh Yar-chab Tsan-po (The "Tsanpu" or Brahmaputra). Thus history repeats itself! Mangalam! [and here the people all shout "Mangalam -- All Happiness"]

Another popular play is the Sudhana Jataka, which is mentioned by FaHian,100 and is also met with in southern Buddhism.101 The Tibetan version is here given.102

The Sudhana Jataka.

Its chief dramatis personae are the following:—

Nor-zan ch'os-skyon, The Prince Sudhana, without a mask.

Mende-zan-mo, the beautiful fairy Kinnara and two other goddesses.

A black-hat sorcerer.

Non-ba, a hunter in a blue mask holding a jewel.

Macho Ya-ma gen-te, the chief wife of the prince. Wears mask having right side white (= divine colour) and left side black (= satanic), to represent her composite disposition.

Luk-zi ch'un-me tak-gye, in sheep-skin coat, flour-smeared face, carrying reel of wool thread, and a sling.

The seven S'em-pa brothers, armed with swords, etc., two-eyed, ferocious, with mouth agape.

The Hermit Lama Ton-son ch'en bo, with a yellow mask, and carrying a rosary.

The plot is as follows: A serpent-charmer endeavours by incantations to capture the Naga which confers prosperity on his enemy's country. The Naga, alarmed at the potency of the sorcerer's spells, appeals to a hunter, who kills the sorcerer, and is presented with a magic noose as a reward for his services. This noose he bequeaths to his son, Utpala or Phalaka, who one day in the forest near Valkalayana's hermitage at Hastinapura, hearing a celestial song sung by a marvellously beautiful Kinnari fairy, he captured the fairy with his magic noose. The Kinnari to regain her liberty offered him her jewelled crown, which conferred the power of traversing the universe. Meanwhile a young prince of Hastinapura named Sudhana, or Manibhadra,103 engaged on a hunting expedition, appears upon the scene. He gets the jewel, marries the Kinnari, and gives her his entire affection. His other wives, mad with jealousy, endeavour to kill her during his absence, but she escapes to her celestial country, leaving, however, with the hermit a charmed ring for the prince should he seek to follow her to her supernatural home. The prince pursues her, overcoming innumerable obstacles, and finally gains her, and also obtains her father's consent to their marriage, and to their return to the earth, where they live happy ever after.

This story, which is translated in detail by Mr. Ralston, presents many parallels to western folk-tales. Mr. Ralston remarks in this regard that "One of these is the capture by the hunter Palaka of the celestial maiden, the Kinnari Manohara, who becomes Sudhana's bride. This is effected by means of a 'fast binding chain' which the hunter throws around her when she is bathing in a lake. Her companions fly away heavenwards, leaving her a captive on earth. This incident will at once remind the reader of the capture of 'swan-maidens' and other supernatural nymphs, which so frequently occur in popular romances. . . . Manohara is captured by means of a magic chain. But her power of flying through the air depends upon her possession of a jewel. Sudhana's visit to the palace of his supernatural wife's father, and the task set him of recognizing her amid her ladies, bear a strong resemblance to the adventure which befall the heroes of many tales current in Europe. A mortal youth often obtains, and then for a time loses, a supernatural wife, generally represented in the daughter of a malignant demon. He makes his way, like Sudhana, to the demon's abode. There tasks are set him which he accomplishes by means of his wife's help, and the Russian story of 'The Water King,' Grimm's 'Two Kings' Children,' the Norse 'Mastermaid,' and the Scottish Highland 'Battle of the Birds,' are shown to be European variants or parallels to this tale."104
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Re: The Buddhism of Tibet, or Lamaism With Its Mystic Cults

Postby admin » Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:05 am

Part 3 of 4

Of indigenous Tibetan plays the chief is:—

NAN-SA; OR, "The Brilliant Light."

This drama, now translated from the Tibetan105 for the first time, is one of the most popular plays in Tibet, and its popularity is doubtless owing, not a little, to its local colour being mainly Tibetan, though, like most of the other plays, it is moulded on the model of the Buddhist Jatakas.

Its chief scene is laid at Rinang, a few miles to the south-east of Gyan-tse,106 the well-known fortified town between Tashi-lhunpo and Lhasa, where the several sites of the story are still pointed out, and an annual fair held in honour of Nan-sa's memory. It also well illustrates the current mode of marriage in Tibet, by planting an arrow107 on the girl's back, so clearly a survival of the primitive form of marriage by capture.

Dramatis Personae.

Nan-sa ("The Brilliant Light ").

Kun-zan de-ch'en ("The Nobly Virtuous")— Nan-sa's father (wears a red mask).

Myan-sa-sal-don ("The Lamp of Bliss")— Nan-sa's mother.

Dag-ch'en duk dag-pa ("The Roaring Dragon")—Lord of Rinang.

So-nam pal-Kye— his minister

Lha-pu-dar-po ("The Gentle Divinity") -- Nan-sa's son.

Ani Nemo — Lord Rinang's sister.

Lama Shakyai gyal-ts'an -- Monk in beggar's guise.

Shin-je Ch'o-wa -- The King of the Dead.

Servants, Soldiers, etc.

Act I. The Re-births of the Deer— A Story of Nan-sa's former Births.
Scene — India. Time — Immemorial.

Om! Salutation to the Revered and Sublime Tara!108

In bygone times, far beyond conception, there lived in the revered country of India an old couple of the Brahman caste who during their youth had no children, but when they waxed old and feeble, a daughter was born unto them.

This child was secluded till her fifteenth year, when, peeping outside one day, she for the first time saw the landscape of the outer world. And as she observed the different classes of people cultivating their plots, whilst her own family-plot lay neglected, she ran to her mother and said: "Mother, dear! the giver of my body! Listen to me, your own daughter! All the different classes of people are busy tilling their fields while our family-land lies neglected. Now as the time for cultivation has come, permit me, mother, to cultivate our fields with our servants!"

The mother, having granted her request, the daughter proceeded to work with the servants, and they laboured on till breakfast-time, but no one brought them food. This neglect caused the girl uneasiness, not so much on her own account as on that of the servants; but in the belief that food would be sent, she laboured on till sunset, when she and her companions returned home starving.

As they neared the house the girl met her mother bringing some refreshment for them; and she asked her why she had so long delayed, as the servants were quite famished. The mother explained that in entertaining some visitors who had called during the day, she had quite forgotten the food for her daughter and servants.

Then the daughter petulantly exclaimed, "Mother! you are inconsiderate like a grass-eating beast!" On this the mother cried out: "O! ungrateful one! I your mother! who have reared you, and clad and fed you with the best, you now in return call me a beast! May you in your next re-birth be born as an ownerless grass-eating beast!"

So after a time the girl died and was re-born as a deer, according to the curse of her mother.

In course of time her deer-parents died, and the young doe was left alone in strict accordance with her mother's curse.

While in such a plight, a handsome young hart, with a mouth like a conch-shell came up to her and said: "O, ownerless orphan doe! hear me, the hart Dar-gyas, 'The Vast Banner!' Where is your mate in grazing during the three months of spring? Where is your companion to tend you down to the river? Where is the partner who will remain with you through life?"

The young doe, timidly raising her head, said: "O, master hart! pray be off! I graze during spring without a partner! I go down to the river without a comrade. Gambolling on the hills and dales, I place my faith on The Three Holy Ones alone!"

The hart then replied: "O, noble and virtuous doe! pray hear me! I am the ornament of all the herds! won't you become my mate? I will be your companion when you eat grass. I will be your comrade when you go to the river; and I will support you in all your difficulties. So from this time forth let us be bound in wedlock inseparably, for doubtless we have been brought together here through the deeds and fate of our former lives."

Then the doe consenting, these two became partners and lied together most happily; and not long afterwards the doe gave birth to a fawn who was named sKar-ma-p'un-ts'ogs, or "The accomplished Star."

One night the doe dreamt a most inauspicious dream; and at midnight she awoke the hart, saying: "Hearken! deer, Dar-gyas! I dreamt as I slept a dreadful dream! This Yal-wa mountain-ridge was overspread by a terrible thundering noise, and I saw several hunters appear. I saw the dogs and hunters pursuing you -- the hart -- towards the left ridge of the hill, and I, with our child, the fawn, fled by the right ridge of the hill. I dreamt again that the decapitated head of a deer was arranged as a sacrifice, and the skin was stretched out to dry on the meadow, and oh, the blood! it flowed down and formed an awful pool like many oceans! O, deer! Sleep no longer! but arise and let us fast escape to the highest hills."

But the hart refused to listen to the advice of his mate; and saying that "the words of females are like unto the dust, he fell asleep.

Not long afterwards, a ring-tailed red hunting dog seemed to be approaching from the distant barks which now were to be heard distinctly by all the awakened deer.

Too late, the hart then realized that the vision of his doe must have indeed been true; therefore he hurriedly gave the following advice to the doe and the fawn, feeling great pity for them: "O! poor doe and fawn! flee by the left ridge and make good your escape! and if we do not meet again in this life, let us meet in our next life in the pure kingdom of righteousness!" On so saying the hart fled; and the mother and the fawn made their escape by the left ridge.

Meanwhile, the hart, hotly pursued by the hunting-dog, was chased into a narrow gorge where he could not escape; and at that critical moment a man with his hair bound up, bearded and fearfully fierce-looking, with pointed eyebrows, and carrying a noose and a bow and arrow, descended from the top of the cliff, and catching the hart in the noose he killed it with one shot from his bow.

Thus everything happened exactly according to the doe's dream.

The deceased hart was afterwards re-born in a respectable family of Ri-nan-dpan-k'a, and named Grag-pa-bsam-grub, or "The famous Heart"; while the doe after death was reborn in lJan-p'al-k'un-nan-pa, and was named sNan-sa-'Od-'bum, or "brilliant above a hundred thousand lights." The fawn after death was re-born as their son, and assumed the name of Lha-bu-dar-po, or "the gentle divinity."

[Here endeth the first act dealing with "The Re-births of the Deer."]

Act II. The Life, Marriage, and Death of Nan-sa.

Scene — Rinang. Time — Latter end of eleventh century A.D.

Om! Ma-ni pad-me Hum! Om! the Jewel in the Lotus! Hum!

Long ago, there lived a father named Kun-bzah-bde-ch'en and a mother named Myan-sa-gsal-sgron in lJan-ph'an-k'un-Nan-pa, on the right of Myan-stod-s'el-dkar-rgyal-rtse (Gan-tse).

The mother once had a strange vision, regarding which she thus addressed her husband: "O, great father! Listen! Whilst asleep, I dreamt a most auspicious dream! I dreamt that a lotus-flower blossomed forth from my body, to which many fairies made offerings and paid homage. And a ray of light in the form of the letter Tam, of the revered goddess Tara's spell, entered my head!" On hearing this the father was overjoyed, and exclaimed, "O! Myan-sa-gsal-sgron-ma! Mark my words; by God's blessing, through our making offerings unto Him, and as the fruit of our charity to the poor, an incarnate Bodhisat is about to come unto us! We must again offer thanks unto God and do the several ceremonies."

In course of time a divine-looking daughter was born unto them. She was peerlessly beautiful, and so was named Nan-sa, ''the brilliant above a hundred thousand lights," and a grand festival was given at her birth.

By her fifteenth year Nan-sa was fully educated, and matchlessly beautiful; and though she was most pious, practising fully all the religious rites, she was most modest, and forgot not her filial love and duty.

In the fourth month of that year, during the summer season, a grand tournament was given by the king, to which everyone was invited, and the whole population of the neighbouring countries, young and old, flocked to rGyal-rtse-sger-tsa to see the sports.109 The games were held by order of the great king of Myan-stod-ni-nan-pa for the selection of a bride fit for his son. The king himself was of a fiery temper, long like a river, round like a pea, and slender like a stick.

Nan-sa also, having taken leave of her parents, set out for the sports. Her moon-like face was white as milk, and her neatly-dressed hair looked like a bouquet of flowers. Thus went she, "the princess," as she was called, to see the grand spectacle, accompanied by her servants, carrying the needful presents.

As she neared the market, where the great gathering was held, the king and prince were looking down from the balcony of their palace, and the prince at once caught sight of her, and his eyes remained rivetted on the princess. Whilst the multitude gazed at the players, the prince followed only the movements of the princess.

The prince being fascinated by the beauty of the princess, soon despatched to her his chief minister, named bSod-nam-dpal-skyed, who, in compliance with his master's order, brought the princess before the prince, just as the eagle Khra carries off a chicken.

And the prince, drawing the princess by her shawl with his left hand and offering her wine with his right, addressed her, saying, —

"O! pretty one! sweet and pleasing-mouthed! possessed of the five sensuous qualities! Tell me truly, whose daughter are you? Are you the daughter of a god or a Naga, or are you an angelic Gandharva? Pray hide nothing from me. What is your father's name? What is your birth-giver's name? Who are your neighbours? I am the overruling lord of Mzang-stod-ri-nang! and called 'The famous Roaring Dragon!' or Da-c'hens-"brug-grag-pa.110 My family is the Grag-pa-bsam-'grub! I am the jewel of these sheltering walls! My age is six times three (18). Will you consent to be my bride?"

Nan-sa now thinking escape impossible, though she had desired to devote herself to a religious life, answered the lord Da-ch'en: "Om! Tara, have mercy on a poor girl void of religion! O! lord Da-ch'en, I am called 'The Brilliant above a Hundred Thousand Lights,' and am of a respectable family. But a poisonous flower, though pretty, is not a fit decoration for an altar vase; the blue Dole, though famous, cannot match the turquoise; the bird lchog-mo, though swift, is no match for the sky-soaring T'an-dkar-eagle, and Nan-sa, though not bad-looking, is no match for the powerful lord of men."

On hearing this reply of Nan-sa, the minister took up the turquoise sparkling in rainbow tints, and, tying it to the end of the arrow of the five-coloured silks, handed it to the prince, saying, "As the proverb runs, 'Discontented youths are eager to war, while discontented maidens are eager to wed.' Thus, while this maid feigns disqualifying plainness, she is really anxious to comply with your wishes; her pretended refusal is doubtless owing to modesty and the publicity of such a crowd. Do thou, then, O powerful king! plant the arrow with the five-coloured streamers on her back, and thus fix the marriage tie."

The prince, thinking that the advice was good, addressed Nan-sa, saying, "O! angelic princess! on whom one's eyes are never tired of gazing, pray hear me. O! pretty one, brilliant amongst a thousand lights! I, the greal lord sGra-ch'en, am far-famed like the dragon! I am the most powerful king on earth! And whether you choose to obey my commands or not, I cannot let you go! We have been drawn here by the bonds of former deeds, so you must become my mate for ever. Though the bow and bow-string be not of equal length and materials, still they go together; so you must be my mate for ever, as we have certainly been brought together here through fate and former deeds. The great ocean fish consort with the affluent river fish, so must you live with me. Though I and you differ much in position, you must come with me. And from this day forth the maiden Nan-sa is mine."

So saying, he planted the arrow with its five rainbow-coloured streamers on her back, and set the turquoise diadem on her forehead. And she, being duly betrothed in this public fashion, returned to her own home with her servants.

Nan-sa endeavoured to evade the betrothal and enter a convent instead, but her parents pressed the match upon her and forced her to accept the prince, and the nuptials were duly celebrated with great feasting.

Seven years later. Nan-sa bore a son, whose beauty excelled the gods, hence he was named Lha-bu-Dar-pu, ''The god's son," and a grand festival was held in honour of his birth. And Nan-sa, so clever in all the arts, so pretty and befitting her position, and so universally kind, that all the subjects loved her, now became endeared to everyone even more than before. And the three, the prince-father, the princeling, and Nan-sa, were never separated even tor a moment. Bui Nan-sa was the jewel of them all, and she was given the keys of the treasury which had formerly been held by the prince's elder sister, Ani- Nemo Ne-tso.

Now this old Ani-Nemo, on being deprived of her keys, became madly jealous of Nan-sa, and began contriving means to injure her reputation in the eyes of the prince, her husband.

Ani Nemo helped herself to the best food and clothes, leaving the very worst to Nan-sa, who was too mild and good to resent such treatment. Ultimately Nan-sa began to feel very sad, and though engaged in worldly affairs, she felt keenly the desire to devote herself wholly to religion, but she was afraid to reveal her thoughts to her husband and son.

One day while sad at heart, she went to the garden carrying the young prince, and they all sat down together, the lord resting his head on Nan-sa'a lap. It was autumn, and the summer flowers had ceased blossoming, and the gold and turquoise-coloured bees had gone. Then Nan-sa wept on thinking that she could not realize her religious desires, and that she was separated from her parents, and subject to the torture of Ani's jealousy. But her Lord comforted her, saying, "O! beloved Nan-sa, you shall have a chance of seeing your parents soon, so do not feel sorry. Have patience to remain till the harvest is gathered. Let us now go to bZ'un-z'in-rin-ma with our servants and collect the harvest, as the time is now far advanced." Then they went there with their servants and Ani.

Now, there arrived at that place the devotee, Dor-grags-Ras-pa,111 and his servant, and the devotee addressed Nan-sa thus, —

"Om! Salutation to our spiritual father, the Lama!

"O! Nan-sa! You are like the rainbow on the eastern mead, the rainbow beautiful and pleasing to see, but quickly vanishing. Now the time for devoting yourself to religion has arrived.

"O! Nan-sa! you are like the warbling bird of the southern forest, whose voice, though pleasing and cheery, is ephemeral. Now the time for devoting yourself to religion has come.

"O! Nan-sa! you are like the Naga-dragon of the western ocean; the Naga possessing vast wealth, but without real substance. Now the time for your devotion to religion, which is the only true reality, has arrived. On death nothing can save you but the real refuge of religion. The bravest hero and the wisest man cannot escape. Now as there is no alternative, you should avail yourself of this great chance, for once lost it may never be refound."

On hearing this speech Nan-sa was overpowered with grief. And as she had nothing to offer the holy man as alms, for everything was in charge of Ani, she, with faltering voice, said: "Though I am anxious to offer you whatever alms you need, yet am I possessed of nothing, but pray go to that house over there, where you will find Ani with a sleek face, and seek alms from her."

The devotee and his servant accordingly went and requested Ani-Nemo to give them some alms, but she replied: "O! you beggars! why have you come begging of me! you plundering crew! you steal at every chance! You neither devote yourself to religious purposes in the hills, nor do you work in the valleys. If you want alms go to that person over there with the peacock-like prettiness, and the bird-like warbling voice, and the rainbow-like lofty mind, and with a mountain of wealth, for I am only a poor servant and cannot give you anything."

The two devotees, therefore, returned to Nan-sa, and told her what Ani had said. So Nan-sa gave alms to the devotees in spite of her fear of displeasing Ani. The holy man replied, "It will be an auspicious meeting an event to look forward to, when Nan-sa and we two meet again." On this Nan-sa became more cheerful, and giving more alms to the devotees, bowed down before them and requested their blessings.

Now these proceedings did not escape the wary eye of Ani-Nemo, who, waxing wroth, came out with a cane in her hand, and thus abused Nan-sa:

"You look lovely, but your heart is black and venomous! Listen to me, peacock-like she-devil Nan-sa! In those high mountains the holy Buddha and the great Indian sages sat, but whence came and go devotees like these Ras-pas? It you give alms to all of them according to their requests I would cut you even though you were my own mother! In the S'on-z'in-rin-mo of this country the chief products are barley and peas. Now you have given away as alms all these men asked for, more than your own portion; and thus as you, too, are a beggar, go and accompany these others," and so saying, she began to beat Nan-sa.

Nan-sa, imploring mercy, said; "What else could I do! I gave them alms to avoid scandal according to the saying, which runs, 'beggars carry bad news to the valleys, crows flesh to the peaks.' The giving of alms to the poor and blind and offerings to the holy ones is a must important duty of every rich family; for wealth collected by avarice, like the honey collected by house-bees, is of no use to oneself. Do not, therefore, call these venerable Ras-pas 'beggars,' but respect and honour them; and call not a girl a devil for being piously inclined, or hereafter you may repent it." But Ani only beat her more mercilessly, and tore her hair, which was like delicate Sete-lJang-pa grass. And Nan-sa, left alone, wept bitterly, thinking of her misfortunes.

Meanwhile Ani-Nemo went to the lord, her brother, and said, "Hear, O! lord! Our mistress Nan-sa without doing any of those things she ought to, does the opposite. This morning a devotee, beautiful and of pleasing voice, came up to this place accompanied by his servant, and Nan-sa, fascinated by his beauty, fell madly in love with him and behaved too immodestly for me even to describe it to you. As I was unable to tolerate such conduct I ran down to stop this intercourse, but was beaten and driven off. Therefore, O! lord! have I informed you so that you can take such steps as you think fit."

The lord rather discredited this story, but remembering the proverb "women and sons must be well brought up when young, otherwise they will go wrong," he went to seek Nan-sa, and found her shedding torrents of tears in solitude. On seeing her he said, "Ah! Lah-se! Listen to me!, you naughty Nan-sa! Lah-se, why have you exceeded all the bounds of propriety! Lah-se! Why did you beat my young sister! who gave you authority to do that? Lah-se! Like a dog tied on the house-top, barking at and trying to bite the stars of heaven! What has the fiendess Nan-sa to say in her defence?"

Nan-sa meekly replied, "My lord! were I to relate all that happened it would only make matters worse, and our subjects shall be shown such strife as was unknown before. Therefore I refrain from grieving you, O! my lord, with any details.''

But the lord interpreting the reticence of Nan-sa as sufficient proof of her guilt, he seized her by the remaining hair, and beat her so unmercifully that no one but Nan-sa could have endured it. And he dragged her along the ground and inflicted the deepest pain by pricking reeds.
Just then the male-servant bSod-nam-dpab-skyed and the female servant 'Dsom-pa-skyid-po came to Nan-sa's aid and besought their master saying, —  

"O! Great and powerful Lord! Listen to us, your slaves! What can have maddened your majesty to have inflicted such chastisement on your life-partner? The lovely face of our lady Nan-sa, which shone like the moon of the fifteenth day, is now bruised and bleeding by your hands. O! Lord of Myan-stod-Ri-nang! Pray stay your wrath, and you, O! lady, cease to weep!"

Then the lord and his lady allowed themselves to be led away, each to their own room.

At that time, Lama-S'akyahi-rgyal-mts'an, versed in the doctrine of "The Great Perfection," lived in the monastery of sKyid-po-se-rag-ya- lun in the neighbourhood. And perceiving that, according to the prophecy of the great reverend Mila-ras, the princess Nan-sa was really a good fairy, he thought fit to advise her to pursue her holy aims. So dressing himself in the guise of a poor beggar, though his appearance rather belied him, and taking a young monkey which knew many tricks, he went to the window of Nan-sa's chamber and sang this song, —

"O! lady! surpassing the goddesses in beauty, pray sit by the window, and cast your eyes hither, so that you may be amused at the tricks of this young monkey, and lend me your ear to hear clearly the songs of a poor travelling-beggar, who now stands in your presence.

"In the green forests of the eastern Kong-bu country dwell the monkeys with their young, the wisest of whom climb the high trees, but the foolish ones roam recklessly on the ground, tasting the fruits according to their whims, and one of these unlucky young ones fell into the clutches of a passing beggar, who tied him by the neck as it deserved (through its Karma), and subjected it to various tortures in teaching it his tricks.

"In the forests of the southern craggy Mon country the birds rear their young, of whom the wisest and the strongest soar into the sky, while the foolish ones perch on the lower trees. Thus the speech-knowing parrot comes within the grasp of the king who imprisons it and chains it by the feet, as it deserved; and it is tortured and troubled when being taught to speak.

"In the western country of Nepal, the country of rice, the bees breed their young, of whom the fortunate ones sip the juice of the rice-flowers, while the foolish ones, smelling the rice-beer, come, as they deserved, within the grasp of the cruel boys, who tear them in their hands for the sake of their honey.

"In the northern country of Tsa-kha, the sheep bring forth lambs, of whom the fortunate ones graze on the green meadow, frolicking and skipping in their wild joy, while the unlucky ones come within the grasp of the butchers, who kill them without mercy.

"In the middle country of Myan-stod-gser-gz'on-rin-mo, the mothers have children, of whom the wisest spend their lives in the country; while the unlucky ones stay with their parents, but the most unlucky of all the pretty girls is married to a lord, and Ani-Nemo treats her as she thinks she deserves. Now if this girl fails to remember the inconstancy of life, then her body, though pretty, is only like that of the peacock of the plains. If she does not steadfastly devote herself to religion, her voice, though pleasing, is like the vain cry of the 'Jolmo bird in the wilderness."

Here the man paused, while the monkey began to play many wonderful tricks, which amused the young prince; while Nan-sa, deeply agitated by the song, ordered the beggar to enter her chamber, and addressing him said, "O! traveller in the guise of a beggar! Listen to me! My earnest wish indeed is to devote my life to religion; I have no earthly desires whatever; I was forced to become the manager of a worldly house only through filial obedience to the dictates of my parents. Now pray tell me, which is the most suitable convent for me to enter, and who is the most learned Lama as a spiritual father?"

The beggar gave her the information she desired. And Nan-sa, in her gratitude, bestowed upon him all her silver and golden ornaments.

Now, it so happened that just at this time, the lord arrived, and hearing the voice of a man in his wife's chamber he peeped in and, to his great surprise, saw Nan-sa giving a beggar all her jewels, while the young prince was playing with the beggar's monkey.

Furious at the sight, he entered the chamber, just as the beggar and his monkey left; and thinking that Ani's story must indeed be true, and that his wife had bestowed his property on the devotees, and had scandalously brought beggars even inside her private chamber, he seized Nan-sa by the hair and began to beat her most unmercifully, and Nemo also came and assisted in beating her. They tore the young prince away from her, and the lord and Ani-Nemo continued beating Nan-sa until she died.

ACT III. Nan-sa's return from the Dead.

Om ma-ni-pad-me Hum! The young prince, unable to bear separation from his mother, stole to her room after the tragedy and found her lying dead. Rushing to his father with the dreadful news, his father, in alarm, ran to her prostrate figure, but thinking that Nan-sa was merely shamming, he exclaimed, "O! fair Nan-sa, arise! The starry heaven betimes is obscured by clouds; the lovely flowers die at winter's approach; you have been harshly treated, but your time has not yet come; so, pray arise!" But the corpse lay still, for its spirit long had fled.

Then the lord repented him bitterly, but being powerless to revive her, he had to consent to the customary funeral offerings being made to The Three Holy Ones, and he gave alms to the poor and blind, and feasts to the priests. And the death-astrologer was called and he ordered that the body should be kept for seven days exposed on the eastern hill, and care taken that no animal should destroy it, and that after the eighth day it should be cremated or thrown into a river or lake. Nan-sa's body was therefore wrapped in a white blanket and bound on a four-footed bed, and taken to the eastern grassy hill, where it was deposited in solitude.

Now Nan-sa's spirit on her death had winged its way, light as a feather, to the ghostly region of the intermediate purgatory, Bardo, where the minions of the Death-king seized it and led it before the dreaded judge-king of the dead.

At that tribunal Nan-sa's spirit was terrified at seeing many wicked souls condemned and sent down for torture to the hells, in cauldrons of molten metal, or frozen amongst the ice; while she was pleased to see the souls of several pious people sent to heaven.

But in her fear she threw herself before the great judge of the Dead and with joined hands prayed to him: "Have mercy upon me! O! holy mother Tara! And help and bless me, ye host of fairy she-devils! O! Judge of the Dead! who separates the white virtuous from the black sinful ones, hear me, O! great king! I longed to benefit the animals, but could do little during my short stay in the world. When I learned that the birth must end in death, I cared not for my beauty; and when I saw that wealth collected by avarice was useless to oneself I gave it away to the poor and blind. Have mercy upon me!"

Then the judge of the Dead ordered her two guardian angels — the good and the bad — to pour out their white and black deed-counters. On this being done, it was found that the white virtuous deeds far exceeded the black sinful ones, which latter were indeed only two in number; and the judge having consulted his magical mirror and found this record to be correct, and knowing that Nan-sa was of intensely religious disposition, and capable of doing much good if allowed to live longer in the human world, he reprieved her and sent her back to life
, saying:—

"O! Nan-sa, brilliant above a hundred thousand lights! Listen! Lah-se! Listen to king Yama, the master of Death! I separate the white deeds from the black, and send the persons in whom the white virtue preponderates to the heavens; in this capacity I am named Arya Avalokitesvara (p'ags-pa- spyan-ras -gzigs-dban). But when I send the sinful persons to hell, I am named Mrityupati Yama-raja ('ch'i-bdag-s'in-rjehi-rgyal-po)! Lah-se! I am the inexorable fierce king who always punishes the wicked! I never save an oppressive king, no matter how powerful; nor will I let any sinful Lama escape. No one can ever escape visiting this my bar of Justice. But you, O Nan-sa! are not a sinful person: you are a good fairy's incarnation, and when a person sacrifices her body for a religious purpose, she obtains paradise, and if she is profoundly pious, she shall obtain the rank of Buddhaship, though the former state is much to be preferred. So stay no longer here, but return to the human world, and recover your old body! Lah-se! Be a 'death-returned person,'112 and benefit the animal beings!"

Nan-sa, now overjoyed, bowed down before his Plutonic majesty, and besought his blessing, and after receiving it, she departed by the white heavenly path, and then descending to this world, resumed her former body lying in its white blanket-shroud, and folding her hands in the devotional attitude, she lay with her feet flexed, like a holy thunderbolt. And flowers rained down from heaven upon her, and a rainbow shed its halo round her. And she prayed to the fairies and she-devils: —

"I prostrate myself before the triad assembly of the Lamas, the tutelaries, and the Dakkini— she-devils and fairies — to whom I pray for deliverance from the circle of re-births. O! eastern fairy of the Vajra class, white as the conch-shell, sounding the golden drum (damaru) in your right hand, 'to-lo-lo,' and ringing the silver bell in your left, 'si-li-li,' surrounded by hundreds of mild and white-robed attendants, pray forgive all my shortcomings! O! southern fairy of the Jewel race, golden-yellow, sounding," etc., etc.

Now the men who had come to remove the corpse, being terrified at hearing the dead body speak, dared not approach. The more frightened amongst them fled, while the braver ones prepared to defend themselves by throwing stones, in the belief that the ghost of Nan-sa was agitating her dead body. Then Nan-sa cried out, saying "I am not a ghost, but a 'death-returned person';" and the men being astonished, drew near and bowed down before her, and paid profound reverence to the resuscitated one.

The good news of Nan-sa's return from the dead soon reached the lord and the prince, who hurried to the spot, and throwing themselves before her, implored her forgiveness, and conducted her back to their home; not, however, without protests from Nan-sa, who had decided to become a nun. She only consented to resume domestic life on the ardent entreaties of her son.

But soon her excessive piety again subjected her to the ill-treatment of her husband as before, and forced her to flee to her parents' home, where, however, she met with no better reception, but was beaten and expelled. And now driven forth from home, a wanderer for religion's sake, she seeks admission into a convent, where, throwing herself at the Lama's feet, she prays him, saying, —

"Om! Salutation to our spiritual father, the Lama, and the host of Fairy-mothers! I have come in deep distress in order to devote myself to religion; and I appeal to you, good Lama, for help and permission to stay here (at gSer-rag-gya- lun), Lama! I beg you to catch me, insignificant fish as I am, on your hook of mercy; for otherwise the pious resolves of this pour girl will perish, and the injury you thereby will inflict shall be my utter ruin, and make me wretched like a jackal haunting a cave. O! Lama of the red Lotus-cap, if you fail to help me now, then I am indeed undone! I adore The Holy Religion with all my heart, and I crave your blessing!" and so saying she took off her rich robes and jewels. and offered them to him. And the Lama, pitying her, blessed her, and gave her the vow of a novice.

The news of Nan-sa's entry to the convent soon reached the ears of the lord of Rinang, who waxed wroth and went to war against the monastery. Arriving there with his men he cried unto the Lama, saying: "Lah-se! You fellow, why have you made a nun of Nan-sa? Unless you give full satisfaction, I will crush you and all your convent like butter!" And so saying he seized the Lama and pointed his sword to his heart.

Now Nan-sa, driven to despair on seeing that the life of her Lama was thus threatened for her sake, she, in the dress of a novice, ascended the roof of the convent, and in the sight of all, sailed away, Buddha-like, through the sky, vanishing into space like the rainbow.

Then the lord of Rinang with all his retinue, dismayed at the sight of Nan-sa's miraculous flight, fell to the ground. And stung by remorse at their sacrilege, they offered up all their arms and armour to the Lama; and promising never again to molest him, they returned home gloomy and sad; and Nan-sa was seen no more.

May glory come! Tashi-s'o! May virtue increase! Ge-leg-'p'el!!

And here all the people forming the audience joyfully shout: "Mangalam!!! All happiness!!!" And the play is over. The people, old and young, now discuss amongst themselves the theme of the play and its moral lessons. They are profoundly impressed by the self-sacrifice of Nan-sa and the other pious persons, and by the vivid pictures drawn of the way in which evil-doers must inexorably pay the penalty of their misdeeds. Thus even these crude Tibetan plays point, in their own clumsy way, very much the same moral lessons as are taught by the Western Stage.

It came to pass then thereafter that I ascended to the veils of the thirteenth æon.... I entered into the thirteenth æon and found Pistis Sophia below the thirteenth æon all alone and no one of them with her. And she sat in that region grieving and mourning, because she had not been admitted into the thirteenth æon, her higher region. And she was moreover grieving because of the torments which Self-willed, who is one of the three triple-powers, had inflicted on her....

Formerly she was in the region of the height, in the thirteenth æon.... It came to pass, when Pistis Sophia was in the thirteenth æon, in the region of all her brethren the invisibles, that is the four-and-twenty emanations of the great Invisible, -- it came to pass then by command of the First Mystery that Pistis Sophia gazed into the height. She saw the light of the veil of the Treasury of the Light, and she longed to reach to that region, and she could not reach to that region. But she ceased to perform the mystery of the thirteenth æon, and sang praises to the light of the height, which she had seen in the light of the veil of the Treasury of the Light.

It came to pass then, when she sang praises to the region of the height, that all the rulers in the twelve æons, who are below, hated her, because she had ceased from their mysteries, and because she had desired to go into the height and be above them all. For this cause then they were enraged against her and hated her, [as did] the great triple-powered Self-willed, that is the third triple-power, who is in the thirteenth æon, he who had become disobedient, in as much as he had not emanated the whole purification of his power in him, and had not given the purification of his light at the time when the rulers gave their purification, in that he desired to rule over the whole thirteenth æon and those who are below it.... [the great triple-powered Self-willed] emanated out of himself a great lion-faced power, and out of his matter in him he emanated a host of other very violent material emanations, and sent them into the regions below, to the parts of the chaos, in order that they might there lie in wait for Pistis Sophia and take away her power out of her....

All the material emanations of Self-willed surrounded her, and the great lion-faced light-power devoured all the light-powers in Sophia and cleaned out her light and devoured it, and her matter was thrust into the chaos; it became a lion-faced ruler in the chaos, of which one half is fire and the other darkness.... When then this befell, Sophia became very greatly exhausted, and that lion-faced light-power set to work to take away from Sophia all her light-powers, and all the material powers of Self-willed surrounded Sophia at the same time and pressed her sore. And Pistis Sophia cried out most exceedingly.....

Pistis Sophia again continued and still sang praises in a second repentance....

She continued again and uttered the third repentance....

Pistis Sophia again continued in the fourth repentance, reciting it before she was oppressed a second time....

The emanations of Self-willed again oppressed Pistis Sophia in the chaos and desired to take from her her whole light.... It came to pass then, when all the material emanations of Self-willed oppressed her, that she cried out and uttered the fifth repentance....

She uttered the sixth repentance....

She turned again to the height, to see if her sins were forgiven her, and to see whether they would lead her up out of the chaos. But by commandment of the First Mystery not yet was she hearkened to, so that her sin should be forgiven and she should be led up out of the chaos. When then she had turned to the height to see whether her repentance were accepted from her, she saw all the rulers of the twelve æons mocking at her and rejoicing over her because her repentance was not accepted from her. When then she saw that they mocked at her, she grieved exceedingly and lifted up her voice to the height in her seventh repentance....

When Pistis Sophia had uttered the seventh repentance in the chaos, the commandment through the First Mystery had not come to me to save her and lead her up out of the chaos. Nevertheless of myself out of compassion without commandment I led her into a somewhat spacious region in the chaos.... When the emanations of Self-willed had noticed that Pistis Sophia had not been led up out the chaos, they turned about again all together, oppressing her vehemently. Because of this then she uttered the eighth repentance....

It came to pass then thereafter, when the emanations of Self-willed oppressed Pistis Sophia in the chaos, that she uttered the ninth repentance....

It came to pass then, when Pistis Sophia had proclaimed the ninth repentance, that the lion-faced power oppressed her again, desiring to take away all powers from her. She cried out again....And in that hour her repentance was accepted from her. The First Mystery hearkened unto her, and I was sent off at his command. I came to help her, and led her up out of the chaos, because she had repented, and also because she had had faith in the Light and had endured these great pains and these great perils....Pistis Sophia then took courage and uttered the tenth repentance....

It came to pass then, when this lion-faced power saw me, how I drew nigh unto Pistis Sophia, shining very exceedingly, that it grew still more furious and emanated from itself a multitude of exceedingly violent emanations. When this then befell, Pistis Sophia uttered the eleventh repentance.....

It came to pass then thereafter, that I drew near unto the chaos, shining very exceedingly, to take away the light from that lion-faced power. As I shone exceedingly, it was in fear and cried out to its self-willed god, that he should help it. And forthwith the self-willed god looked out of the thirteenth æon, and looked down into the chaos, exceedingly wrathful and desiring to help his lion-faced power. And forthwith the lion-faced power, it and all its emanations, surrounded Pistis Sophia, desiring to take away the whole light in Sophia. It came to pass then, when they oppressed Sophia, that she cried to the height, crying unto me that I should help her. It came to pass then, when she looked to the height, that she saw Self-willed exceedingly wrathful, and she was in fear, and uttered the twelfth repentance....

She continued again in the thirteenth repentance....

It came to pass when Pistis Sophia had uttered the thirteenth repentance, -- in that hour was fulfilled the commandment of all the tribulations which were decreed for Pistis Sophia for the fulfilment of the First Mystery, which was from the beginning, and the time had come to save her out of the chaos and lead her out from all the darknesses. For her repentance was accepted from her through the First Mystery; and that mystery sent me a great light-power out of the height, that I might help Pistis Sophia and lead her up out of the chaos....

It came to pass then, before I had led forth Pistis Sophia out of the chaos, because it was not yet commanded me through my Father, the First Mystery which looketh within, -- at that time then, after the emanations of Self-willed had perceived that my light-stream had taken from them the light-powers which they had taken from Pistis Sophia, and had poured them into Pistis Sophia, and when they again had seen Pistis Sophia, that she shone as she had done from the beginning, that they were enraged against Pistis Sophia and cried out again to their Self-willed, that he should come and help them, so that they might take away the powers in Pistis Sophia anew.

And Self-willed sent out of the height, out of the thirteenth æon, and sent another great light-power. It came down into the chaos as a flying arrow, that he might help his emanations, so that they might take away the lights from Pistis Sophia anew. And when that light-power had come down, the emanations of Self-willed which were in the chaos and oppressed Pistis Sophia, took great courage and again pursued Pistis Sophia with great terror and great alarm. And some of the emanations of Self-willed oppressed her. One of them changed itself into the form of a great serpent; another again changed itself also into the form of a seven-headed basilisk; another again changed itself into the form of a dragon. And moreover the first power of Self-willed, the lion-faced, and all his other very numerous emanations, they came together and oppressed Pistis Sophia and led her again into the lower regions of the chaos and alarmed her again exceedingly.

It came to pass then that there looked down out of the twelve æons, Adamas, the Tyrant, who also was wroth with Pistis Sophia, because she desired to go to the Light of lights, which was above them all; therefore was he wroth with her. It came to pass then, when Adamas, the Tyrant, had looked down out of the twelve æons, that he saw the emanations of Self-willed oppressing Pistis Sophia, until they should take from her all her lights. It came to pass then, when the power of Adamas had come down into the chaos unto all the emanations of Self-willed, -- it came to pass then, when that demon came down into the chaos, that it dashed down Pistis Sophia. And the lion-faced power and the serpent-form and the basilisk-form and the dragon-form and all the other very numerous emanations of Self-willed surrounded Pistis Sophia all together, desiring to take from her anew her powers in her, and they oppressed Pistis Sophia exceedingly and threatened her. It came to pass then, when they oppressed her and alarmed her exceedingly, that she cried again to the Light and sang praises....

I took Pistis Sophia and led her up to a region which is below the thirteenth æon, and gave unto her a new mystery of the Light which is not that of her æon, the region of the invisibles. And moreover I gave her a song of the Light, so that from now on the rulers of the æons could not [prevail] against her. And I removed her to that region until I should come after her and bring her to her higher region. It came to pass then, when I had led her to the region which is below the thirteenth æon, and was about to go unto the Light and depart from her, that she said unto me:

O Light of lights, thou wilt go to the Light and depart from me. And Tyrant Adamas will know that thou hast departed from me and will know that my saviour is not at hand. And he will come again to this region, he and all his rulers who hate me, and Self-willed also will bestow power unto his lion-faced emanation, so that they all will come and constrain me all together and take my whole light from me, in order that I may become powerless and again without light. Now, therefore, O Light and my Light, take from them the power of their light, so that they may not be able to constrain me from now on.'

It came to pass then, when I heard these words which Pistis Sophia had spoken unto me, that I answered her, saying: 'My Father, who hath emanated me, hath not yet given me commandment to take their light from them; but I will seal the regions of Self-willed and of all his rulers who hate thee because thou hast had faith in the Light. And I will also seal the regions of Adamas and of his rulers, so that none of them may be able to fight with thee, until their time is completed and the season cometh that my Father give me commandment to take their light from them.'

And thereafter I said again unto her: 'Hearken that I may speak with thee about their time, when this which I have said unto thee, will come to pass. It will come to pass when [the] three times are completed.'

Pistis Sophia answered and said unto me: 'O Light, by what shall I know when the three times will take place, so that I may be glad and rejoice that the time is near for thee to bring me to my region, and moreover rejoice therein that the time is come when thou wilt take the light-power from all them which hate me, because I have had faith in thy light?'

And I answered and said unto her: 'If thou seest the gate of the Treasury of the Great Light which is opened after the thirteenth æon, and that is the left [one], -- when that gate is opened, then are the three times completed.'

Pistis Sophia again answered and said: 'O Light, by what shall I know, -- for I am in this region, -- that that gate is opened?'

"And I answered and said unto her: 'When that gate is opened, they who are in all the æons will know because of the Great Light which will obtain in all their regions....Moreover, if then the three times are completed, Self-willed and all his rulers will again constrain thee, to take thy light from thee, being enraged against thee and thinking that thou hast imprisoned his power in the chaos, and thinking that thou hast taken its light from it. He will then be embittered against thee, to take from thee thy light, in order that he may send it down into the chaos and it may get down to that emanation of his, so that it may be able to come up out of the chaos and go to his region. Adamas will attempt this. But I will take all thy powers from him and give them unto thee, and I will come to take them. Now, therefore, if they constrain thee at that time, then sing praises to the Light, and I will not delay to help thee. And I will quickly come unto thee to the regions which are below thee. And I will come down to their regions to take their light from them. And I will come to this region whither I have removed thee, and which is below the thirteenth æon, until I bring thee to thy region whence thou art come'....

It came to pass then, when that time came on, -- and I was in the world of men, sitting with you in this region, which is the Mount of Olives, -- that Adamas looked down out of the twelve æons and looked down at the regions of the chaos and saw his demon power which is in the chaos, that no light at all was in it, because I had taken its light from it; and he saw it, that it was dark and could not go to his region, that is to the twelve moons. Thereon Adamas again remembered Pistis Sophia and became most exceedingly wroth against her, thinking that it was she who had imprisoned his power in the chaos, and thinking that it was she who had taken its light from it. And he was exceedingly embittered; he piled wrath on wrath and emanated out of himself a dark emanation and another, chaotic and evil, the violent [one], so as through them to harass Pistis Sophia. And he made a dark region in his region, so as to constrain Sophia therein. And he took many of his rulers; they pursued after Sophia, in order that the two dark emanations which Adamas had emanated, might lead her into the dark chaos which he had made, and constrain her in that region and harass her, until they should take her whole light from her, and Adamas should take the light from Pistis Sophia and give it to the two dark violent emanations, and they should carry it to the great chaos which is below and dark, and cast it into his dark power which is chaotic, if perchance it might be able to come to his region, because it had become exceedingly dark, for I had taken its light-power from it.

-- Pistis Sophia: A Gnostic Miscellany, Translated by G.R.S. Mead

Some Actors of the Play of Nan-sa.  
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Re: The Buddhism of Tibet, or Lamaism With Its Mystic Cults

Postby admin » Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:07 am

Part 4 of 4
1 From a photograph by Mr. Hoffmann.
2 The myth of the snaky-haired Gorgon, and the death-masks found in ancient
tombs of Mycenae, Kertch, Carthage, Mexico, etc.

3 Figured by Gruenwedel, Buddh. Kunst in Indi.

4 sTag-dmar-ch'am.
5 J.R.A.S., New Ser., xii., p. 440.

6 Idem, p. 441.

7 Yule's Cathay, 151, and Marco Polo, i., 303.
8 a-pe-s'a a-me-s'a.
9 Drug-bchu-lchags mk'ar-gyi gtor-rgyags.
10 sTag-(mgrm)-dmar.
11 See page 396, and compare also their relatives, the Cat-devils, which latter take the only form of the cult in Japan.
12 Lo-s'i sku-rim. The term sKu-rim is applied to certain indigenous sacrificial ceremonies, usually with bloody offerings, in contradistinction to the more truly Buddhist ceremonial offerings, which are named "mch'od" and "ch'oga."

13 Notably H. H. Godwin-Austen (J.A.S.B., 1861, 71 seq.); H. A. Jaeschke, ibid., p. 77; Schlagt., p. 233; Knight, loc. cit., where several fine photographs of the play are given; A. B. Melville, Proc. B.A.S., 1864, p. 478; and Ramsay's West. Tibet., p. 43.  

14 Kan-lin.
15 Tib., mGon-pa.  

16 I. Peter, v. 8.
17 Knight, loc. cit., p. 201.  

18 After Godwin-Austen in J.A.S.B., loc. cit.  

19 The chief of these fiends are Devi, Hayagriva, Khyetapala, Jinamitra, Dakkiraja, bdud-gontrag-sag, lha-ch'en brgya-po, gzah-ch'en-brgyad-po, kLu-ch'en, brgyad-po, etc.  

20 Knight, p. 203.
21 Godwin-Austen, loc. cit., p. 73.

22 Compare with the confetti pellets and odoured powders thrown about at western carnivals.
23 Knight, op. cit., p. 207.  

24 Cf. page 345. The same motive appears in the Burmese religious dramas at Arakan. — Hardy, East. Monachism, p. 236.  
25 Knight, p. 204. These seven masks were, says Mr. Knight, variously explained  as being the Dalai Lama and his previous incarnations, while another "explained  that these were intended for the incarnations of Buddha, and not the Dalai Lama."
26 Named lin-ka or.  

27 Preserved and stored for this purpose at the Ragyab cemetery— in such cases, the Ge-lug-pa Lamas are said not to touch this defiling flesh.

28 The ceremony is called drag-las.  

29 Tur-t'od-bdag-po.
30 Cf. Hardy's E. Mon., p. 236.
31 After Mr. Knight.
32 Knight, op. cit., p. 208.

33 Mr. Knight (op. cit., p. 209) notes that "Three horses and three dogs were smeared over with red paint, and thenceforth dedicated for life to the temple, explained as scape-goats for the sins of the people," the red paint being held to represent the sins.

34 These are gyal-ch'en sku lna, yum-lna, Sprul-pu-na and blon-pa.

35 gnas-ch'un, and rdorje grags-ldan— the attendants are male and female with dishevelled hair.
36 Dam-ch'an ch'os-rgyal. By some regarded as Vajrabhairava and by others as Yama or Heruka. On Bull-headed Demons in S. India, cf. Ind. Ant, p. 19.

37 These are made of painted calico or silk.
38 According to the reformed Lamas, these animals have to be considered as representing the Lama who assassinated Lan-darma, and the Demon-king represents the god Mahakala, who delivered Lan-darma into the Lama's hands; and the graveyard ghouls are the scavengers who carried off the king's corpse.  

39 gTor-zlog and is extracted from the pu volume of bLa-ma-norbu-rgya-mts'o.
40 Compare this threat with the killing of the gods— in Frazer's Golden Bough.
41 Named Hom-bsreks; Skt., Homa. Cf. Vasil., 194; Schlag., 251.  

42 gtor-gyak.  

43 At the monastery of Tin-ge, to the west of Tashi-lhunpo, and where this play is conducted, as at other Ge-lug-pa monasteries, at government expense, this procession, I am informed, consists of six pairs of thigh-bone trumpet blowers, five censer-swingers, two pairs of long horn players, several skull libationers, 100 maskers with  small drums, 100 maskers with cymbals, and 100 with large drums, behind whom walk the ordinary monks, shouting and clapping their hands, followed by the laity armed with guns and other weapons, and forming a procession over a mile in length.
44 This is chiefly attended by old women and children.

45 bSrun-ma.

46 p'an-rgyal-mts'an p'ye-p'ur, s'am-bu, ba-ran.

47 kyab-mgon rin-po-ch'e.

48 zim-ch'un.

49 "The glorious great cymbals."
50 rgal-po.

51 bde-mo rin-po-che.

52 Markh, p. 106.

53 On the 17th February, 1882, by Sarat, in Narrative.

54 u'bag.

55 gser-san.

56 In Sikhim they are made from the giant climber called "zar."
57  Excluding those of the Buddhas, which are not essential to the play, and seldom appear.

58 According to some the Garuda (bya-m'kyun) or Roc should occupy the highest place. It is yellow, with a bird's beak, yak's horns, and erect hair, forming a spiked crest. It is said to be even superior to the sixteen great saints, the Sthavira.

59 He is also identified with forms known as Na-nin-nag-po, Legs-ldan nag-po, Ber-nag-po.  

60 Ch'os-skyon brtse-dmar-ra.

61 rgyal-mts'an.

62 dma-c'an c'os-rgyal.

63 This seems intended for the Indian Sambhar.
64 rgyal-ch'en-po bsrungs bstan-po, and seems related to, or identical with the "Five  Kings" and Heroes (dpa-o).  

65 Ha-p'ug.  

66 These capes generally show the trigrams and other symbols of luck and long  life including the Bat.
67 rnon-pa blue masks adorned with cowries, and have kilts of Yak's-hair ropes which fly round at right angles as the men pirouette like dancing dervishes.

68 Ch'os-rgyal-nor-bzan.

69 rgya-za pal-za.

70 rgyal-po don-grub.

71 'rgo-ba-bzan-mo, the consort of kalesvara.
72 Of the ten Great (former) Births (Mahajataka) this is considered the greatest, and it was the last earthly birth but one of the Bodhisat. It purports to have been narrated by Buddha himself at the monastery of the Fig-tree (Nigrodha, Ficus Indica) in Buddha's native country of Kapilavastu, apropos of the over-weening pride of his own kindred. The Milinda dialogues (loc. cit.), written about 150 A.D., contain many references to it.

73 Sung Yun's history, translated by S. Beal, Records, p. 201.

74 See Hardy's Man., pp. 116-124. The late Captain Forbes, in his work on British Burma and its People, says: "One of the best I think, and certainly the most interesting performances I have seen in Burma, was that of a small children's company in a village of about two hundred houses. The eldest performer was about fourteen, the daughter of the head man, a slight pretty girl; the others boys and girls, younger. The parents and villagers generally were very proud of their talents, and they were regularly trained by an old man as stage-manager, prompter, etc. Their principal piece was the Way-than-da-ra, the story of one of the previous existences of Gan-da-ma, in which he exemplified the great virtue of alms-giving, and in itself one of the most affecting and beautifully written compositions in Burma. . . . The little company used to perform this piece capitally, but the acting of the little maid of fourteen in the part of the princess could not be surpassed. She seemed really to have lost herself in her part; and her natural and graceful attitudes heightened the effect. The first time I witnessed the performance in going round and saying a word to the tiny actors, when I came to the little fellow of ten or eleven who had acted the part of the surly and greedy Brahmin, I pretended to be disgusted with his cruelty to the two poor infants. This the little man took in earnest, so much to heart that as I learnt, on my next visit, nothing would induce him to act the part again, and it was not till his father almost forcibly brought him to me and I had soothed him by what was deemed most condescending kindness and excited his vanity, that I could obtain a repetition of the play." Captain Forbes also states that he has seen men moved to tears by the acting of this play.
75 Tibetan Tales, p. lvii.

76 Kah-gyur, iv., ff. 192-200, translated by Schiefner and Englished by Ralston, in "Tibetan Tales," p. 257, who also traces its comparative aspect, p. lvii. In the following account those portions which are identical with the canonical version are put in quotation marks when given in Ralston's words.

77 Wessantara Jataka, Hardy's Manual, 116-124, and East. Monach., 83-428. Milinda loc. cit.; Upham, Hist, and Doct. of Buddhism, p. 25 ; S. de Oldenburg, J.R.A.S., 1893, p. 301.

78 "The Story of We-than-da-ya," Englished from the Burmese version of the Pali text by L. A. Goss, Rangoon, American Bap. Mission, 1886.

79 Translated from the MS. of a company of Tibetan actors from Shigatse. It generally agrees with the version in the Manikah-bum.

80 Dri-med-kun-ldan (pronounced Ti-med Kun-den).

81 Namo aryalokesvara.

82 In the Mani-kah-bum it is called "The Sounding" (sGra-chan). In the Kah-gyur "Visvanagara" It is believed by Tibetans to be the ancient Videha which they identify with the modern "Bettiah" in northern Bengal, but it was evidently in northern India.

83 According to the Kah-gyur, Visvamitra; the Mani-kah-'bum gives "the Voice of the Drum-Sound" (sgra-dbyang-rnga-sgra), and the Pali "Sanda" and Burmese "Thain See." — Goss, loc cit., p. 7.
84 Lha-ch'ung dri-ma med-pa.

85 Tib. Nor-bu dgos-'dod-dbung-'jom.; Skt., Ointamani. Its properties are analogous to La Mascotte. The Lamas say it was given to Buddha Amitabha by a white Naga of the ocean. In the Burmese version (loc cit., p. 12), it is made to be the white elephant; but the word Naga means both elephant and the serpent-dragons, or mermen, the guardians of treasure.

86 Shin-thi-bstan.

87 mt'a-'k'ob bye-ma-s'in drun. Kalinga (on the west of the Bay of Bengal). The Ceylon version (Hardy's Manual, p. 116) makes the rain-producing elephant be brought from Jayatura, the capital of Sibi, by Brahmans sent by the king of Kalinga.
88 Skt., Chandal.

89 Ni-zla-sgron-ma, daughter of king Grags-pa (=Skt., Kirti). Another account says he also married "The Lamp of the Sky" (Namk'ai sgron-ma), daughter of king Dri-ma-Med-pa, of the "Lotus" country. And these two are said to have been first met by him carrying udumwara flowers on one of his charitable rounds of visiting the temple of Buddha Yes'e-hod-mdsad-tok, or "the Buddha of the Light Diadem of foreknowledge." The Burmese version states (Goss' trans., p. 11) that he visited "The Six Temples" six times every month, mounted on his white elephant Pis-sa-ya.

90 Another version gives three children.

91 The place of banishment, according to the Pali, was Vankagiri.

92 Named 'Od-zer-tok, and Utpalmani. The southern version gives the name of the son as Jalin and of the daughter as Krishnajina.
93 In Hardy's Southern Recension, the boy is called Jaliya and the girl Krishnayina (Manual, p. 116). - Schiefner.
94 The chief trees were "Ka-det" (Cratoeca Roxburghii).

95 "Zoo-za-ga" of Don-nee-wee-ta in Kalinga, according to the Burmese (Trans., loc. cit., p. 35).
96 Properly, "lotus arrow." According to Maximowicz the young lotus leaves are reed-like or arrow-like in appearance.— Schiefner.
97 Ralston, op. cit.

98 Cf., The "Sibi Jataka."

99 This is rather absurd, but it is supposed to have happened before Sakya's birth.
100 Beal's Records, etc., 157, chap, xxxviii.; also Raj Mitra, Nepalese Skt. Lit., p. 62.

101 By Upham, under name Sudana or Sutana; cf. Spence Hardy's Manual, p. 116.

102 Nor-bzan.
103 Csoma. Analy., p. 542.
104 Op. cit., xlviii.

105 I obtained the MS. from a strolling company of actors who visited Darjiling under the auspices of the Tibetan commissioner. I have curtailed it in places, on account of the inordinate length of the original narrative.

106 The Tibetan words are romanized according to Csoma de Koros' method of transliteration.

107 The arrow was the primitive national weapon of the Tibetans; and their military chief or general is still called mDaj-dpon, or "Commander of the Arrows"; and a golden or gilt arrow is a symbol of military command in Tibet.
108 Nan-sa is held to be an incarnation of the Buddhist goddess Tara.
109 Known as gNas-snin-bZun-'p'hrug.
110 dgra ch'en.
111 A wandering Lama of the Kar-gyu-pa sect and contemporary of the great Mila-ras-pa in the eleventh century A.D.
112 'das-log.  
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