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Himalayan Dialogue / Edition 1

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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.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Stan Royal Mumford (1936-1993) was associate professor and chair of the department of anthropology and sociology at Albertson College of Idaho. His work has appeared in the American Anthropologist, Anthropology and Humanism Quarterly, and other journals. Himalayan Dialogue is the result of three years of fieldwork in Nepal, supported by Princeton University and by grants from the National Science Foundation and the Wenner-Gren Foundation.

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Table of Contents

Illustrations vii
Preface ix
Acknowledgments xi
Note on Transliteration xii
Research Area Map 4
I. Lamas and Shamans
Introduction 3
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
IV. Historical Consciousness
11. Dialogue of Good and Evil Eras 227
Conclusion 245
Appendix A. Local Text Written by Lama Chog Lingpa 257
Appendix B. Local Text of Srungma rDo-rje Shugs-ldan 261
Bibliography 265
Index 275
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