The Buddha said:
This existence of ours is as transient as autumn clouds
To watch the birth and death of beings is like looking at the movements of a dance.
A lifetime is like a flash of lightning in the sky,
Rushing by, like a torrent down a steep mountain.


What the caterpillar perceives as the end, to the butterfly is just the beginning.

Friday, 11 January 2008

India, Day 14 - Oracle

Friday 11th January

On Friday 11th Alan came down with a cold and was feeling exhausted. I wasn't much better, and we both kept out of the heat and stayed in our rooms. Later that evening, once the temperature began to cool down, I walked to the internet cafe. Had an email from my mum, who sounded intrigued by the oracle.

"May the Dalai lama and the Oracle protect you," she wrote. "I see how excited you are with all this fantastical world of possessions, reincarnations, tantras, and so on. I saw a video clip with a monk running around with a huge, big, weird mask tucked on his head, greatly afflicted with the weight or in a trance, and seemed unable to hold the mask on the head. They were all running into a monastery, and beside him were a crowd of monks trying to help to alleviate the weight of the mask, while the people watched, either stunned or scared. Was it something like that what you saw?"

"More or less," I replied. "The weight of the hat is such that it requires at least two men to put it on the head of the medium. I heard that the weight would break the neck of any person in their normal state of consciousness, and that's why the monks wait for trance and possession signs before putting it on the medium's head. The hat also has a rope to tie it to the medium's neck. This stops the medium's respiration whilst the hat is on, during the possession by the spirit. There is a Monastery for Nechung spirit, which is only steps away from Gyakham Khangtsen, the house where I am staying."

Certain things can not be described, they need to be experienced. I was finding it so hard to explain what I had seen that I resorted to wikipedia. 
When the State Oracle is possessed..., he becomes very agitated, with tongue lolling, bloodshot eyes and displays superhuman strength, lifting heavy weights, twisting swords, etc. He mumbles words which are recorded and then interpreted by monks and also blesses grain which is thrown to the crowd.
Unlike most Central Asian shamans, who are thought to leave their bodies when in a trance-like state and travel to the land of the spirits from where they bring back messages, Tibetan oracles act "as a mouthpiece for the gods or spirits who possess him and speak through him, very often without his own knowledge of what is being said, answering directly the questions of those who consult him." The tradition of oracles was inherited from the pre-Buddhist religion of Tibet, Bon.

Continues here

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