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In the mountain valleys of Nepal, Tibetan communities have long been established through migrations from the North. Because of these migrations over the last few centuries, Tibetan lamaism, as one of the world’s great ritual traditions, can be studied in the Himalayas as a process that emerges through dialogue with the more ancient shamanic tradition which it confronts and criticizes.
Here for the first time is a thorough anthropological study of Tibetan lamaism combining textual analysis with richly contextualized ethnographic data. The rites studied are of the Nyingma Tibetan Buddhist tradition. In contrast to the textual analyses that have viewed the culture as a finished entity, here we see an unbounded ritual process with unfinished interpretations.
Mumford’s focus is on the “dialogue” taking place between the lamaist and the shamanic regimes, as a historic development occurring between different cultural layers. The study powerfully demonstrates that interrelationships between subsystems within a given cultural matrix over time are critical to an understanding of religion as a cultural process.
|Note on Transliteration||xii|
|Research Area Map||4|
|I.||Lamas and Shamans|
|1.||Unbounded and Layered Cultures||11|
|2.||Hierarchy and Narrative Memory||36|
|II.||Rituals of Life|
|3.||Shamanic Sacrifice and Buddhist Renunciation||63|
|4.||Repudiation of the Red Offering||80|
|5.||Reciprocal Exchange with the Underworld Serpent Deities (klu)||93|
|6.||Rites of Defense: Serving the Guardian Deities (btsan)||117|
|7.||Rites of Exorcism: Expelling the Demons (bdud)||140|
|III.||Rituals of Death|
|8.||Soul Calling and the Shamanic Matrix||167|
|9.||Death Cult of the Ghyabre Shaman||180|
|10.||Tibetan Death Rite||195|
|11.||Dialogue of Good and Evil Eras||227|
|Appendix A.||Local Text Written by Lama Chog Lingpa||257|
|Appendix B.||Local Text of Srungma rDo-rje Shugs-ldan||261|