A Cultural History of Tibet by Hugh Richardson, David Snellgrove

By Hugh Richardson, David Snellgrove

Drawn from inscriptions and texts one of the fundamental assets of Tibet, India, China and imperative Asia, in addition to a wealth of secondary assets throughout the a long time and the authors' own reports, it is a definitive survey of Tibetan heritage, faith and its wealthy, complicated tradition. Drawn from inscriptions and texts one of the fundamental resources of Tibet, India, China and crucial Asia, in addition to a wealth of secondary resources throughout the a while and the authors' own reports, it is a definitive survey of Tibetan background, faith and its wealthy, advanced

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Similar rituals with exactly similar recitations of ancient myths survive to this day among peoples of old Tibetan stock who penetrated the Himalayas in pre~Buddhist times and have since escaped the full impa~t of the later Tibetan Budd~ist culture. Thus from a Nepalese people like the Gurungs we·can probably even nowadays gain some impression of the work~ ings of such rituals in early Tibet. For an example of an 'exposition' of myth we can quote from Tibetan sources: Formerly by the magical power of the gods, the gSas and the dBal, An egg formed of the five precious gems Burst open by its own innate force From the celestial womb of the empty sky.

The priests who performed the ceremonies at the tombs and who invoked and made offerings to various classes of divinities were known as Bon (probably meaning 'Invoker') and gShm (probably meaning 'Sacrificer'). The whole practice of such religion was referred to as 'sacred conventions' (lha-chas), as contrasted with 'human conventions' (mi-chos), or as 'the pattern of hcaven and earth' (gnam-sa'i lugs). Later Tibetan writers as well as some western scholars have referred to this early religion as Bon, but the word never seems to appear with any other meaning but 'priest' in really early Tibetan literature.

It is the fun ction of prognosis, whether performed by sortilcge, by trance or by dreams, to identify the god or demon who is causing the trouble, and it is the function of the rite to make amends. t This is a contraption made of sticks across which colou red threads are stretched . The simplest and most common type is diamond-shaped, consisting simply of crossed sticks with threads connecting the arms, but far more complex ones, wheel-shaped or box-shaped or a combination of several different shapes, may be employed.

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