Oracles and Demons of Tibet: The Cult and Iconography of the

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Oracles and Demons of Tibet: The Cult and Iconography of the

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Oracles and Demons of Tibet: The Cult and Iconography of the Tibetan Protective Deities
by Rene De Nebesky-Wojkowitz
1993, 1996

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Dedicated to H.R.H. Prince Peter of Greece and Denmark: Head of the 3rd Royal Danish Expedition to Central Asia (1953-1954)
In memory of two years of successful cooperation


Table of Contents: [PDF HERE]

• Foreword
• PART I: THE ICONOGRAPHY OF THE PROTECTIVE DEITIES
o I-The Protective Deities. Their classification, appearance and attributes
• The 'Jig rten las 'das pa'; srung ma
o II-dPal ldan Iha mo
o III-The group of the mGon po
o IV-Vaisravana, Kubera, and Jambhala
o V -gShin rje and related deities
o VI-ICam sring
• The ‘Jig ryen pa'i srung ma
o VII-Pe har and companions
o VIII-rDo-rje shugs Idan
o IX - Tshangs pa
o X-rDo rje legs pa
o XI-The dGe bsnyen Phying dkar ba
o XII-Tsi'u dmar po and the btsan demons
o XIII-The Tshe ring mched Inga and related goddesses
o XIV-Mountain deities
o XV-Local protective deities
o XVI-The dregs pa
o XVII-The dgra Iha
• PART II: THE CULT OF THE PROTECTIVE DEITIES
o XVIII-Sacrificial objects and offerings
o XIX-Thread-crosses and thread-cross ceremonies
o XX-Worship of the dharmapalas
o XXI-Tibetan oracles. Their position, attire, feasts, and prophetic trances
o XXII-The State Oracle
o XXIII-Methods of divination
o XXIV-Tibetan weathermakers
o XXV-Destructive magic
o XXVI-Protection against evil
o XXVII-Some notes on Tibetan shamanism
• Tibetan texts
• Tibetan sources
• Indexes

TRANSCRIPTION

The Tibetan terms occurring in this book are transcribed according to the following system:

ka / kha / ga / nga
ca/ cha / ja / nya
ta / tha / da / na
pa / pha / ba /ma
tsa / tsha / dza / wa
zha / za / '(a) / ya
ra / la / sha / sa
ha / a

Sanskrit terms are rendered in a simplified form of the system of transcription used in the Sanskrit~English Dictionary of Monier Monier-Williams, Oxford 1899.

The appearance of these various divinities is as follows: "In the middle of a vast wild sea of blood and fat, in the centre of a black storm rides on a kyang with a white spot on the forehead, which has a belt of raksasa heads and a raksasa skin as cover, with a crupper, bridle, and reins consisting of poisonous snakes, the dPal ldan dmag zor gyi rgyal mo remati, who comes forth from the syllable bhyo. She is of a dark-blue colour, has one face and two hands. Her right hand wields a club adorned with a thunderbolt, which she lifts above the heads of oath-breakers, the left hand holds in front of her breast the skull of a child born out of an incestuous union (nal thod) full of substances possessing magic virtues, and blood. Her mouth gapes widely open and she bares her four sharp teeth; she chews a corpse and laughs thunderously. Her three red and globular eyes move like lightning and her forehead is very angrily wrinkled. Her yellowish-brown hair stands on end, her eyebrows and the hair of her face bum fiercely like the fire ending a kalpa. Her right ear is decorated with a lion, the left one with a snake. Her brow is adorned with five human skulls, and she wears a garland of fifty freshly severed, blood-dripping heads. Her body is covered with splashes of blood, specks of fat, and is smeared with the ashes of cremated corpses. On the crown of her head shines the disc of the moon and on the navel the disc of the sun. She wears a scarf made of black silk and a human skin serves her as a Covering; her upper garment is made of rough black cloth and her loin-cloth is the freshly-drawn skin of a tiger, fastened by a girdle consisting of two entwined snakes. From the saddle-straps in front is suspended a sack full of diseases, from the straps in the back a magic ball of thread. A khram shing is stuck into her waist-belt. A load of red tablets and a pair of dice, white and black, hang from the straps. On her head she wears an umbrella of peacock-feathers.

In the back of the chief goddess comes forth from the white syllable bhyo, on top of a white mule adorned with a precious saddle and bridle, the Zhi ba'i Iha mo, of a white colour, with one face and two hands, peaceful and smiling - though in a slightly angry mood - and possessing three eyes. Her azure-blue hair hangs down and its locks are bound together with a golden thread into a single tuft. Her right hand holds a white mirror of silver showing clearly the happenings in the visible world, her left hand holds a white vessel of silver with a six-pointed handle filled with various medicines. She carries a diadem, earrings, a necklace, the se mo do ornament, a garland, and a girdle, and her hands and feet are adorned with bracelets, all these objects having been made of jewels. She wears a flowing dress consisting of white silk, blue 'jag and yellow sha dar, bound together by a sash of blue silk. She sits with her legs half crossed. A yellow ray emanates from her body (out of which originates) the train which surrounds her, carrying out (the kind of work called) zhi ba'i las.

To the right side of the chief goddess comes forth from the yellow syllable bhyo, on top of a yellow mule adorned with a precious saddle and bridle, the yellow rGyas pa'i lha mo with one face and two hands, bearing the expression of passion. She has three eyes, her azure-blue hair is bound by means of a golden thread into a tuft slanting to the left. Her right hand holds a golden vessel full of amrta and her left hand holds a golden pan full of wish-granting jewels. She carries a diadem, earrings, a necklace, the se mo do ornament, a garland, and a girdle, and her hands and feet are adorned with bracelets, all these objects having been made of jewels. She wears a dress made of yellow silk, blue 'jag and sha dar rgya khas, bound together by a sash of blue silk. She sits with her legs half crossed. A yellow ray emanates from her body (out of which originates) the train which surrounds her, carrying out the (work called) rgyas pa'i las.

To the left of the chief goddess comes forth from the red syllable bhyo, on top of a red mule adorned with a precious saddle and bridle, the red dBang gl lha mo with one face, two hands, assuming within a moment's time a fierce and passionate expression; she has three eyes. Her azure-blue hair is bound by means of a golden string into a tuft slanting towards the left. Her right hand thrusts a hook and the left one a snare. She carries a diadem, earrings, a necklace, the se mo do ornament, a garland, and a girdle, and her hands and feet are adorned with bracelets, all these objects having been made of jewels. She wears a flowing dress made of red silk, green 'jag and blue sha dar, bound together by a sash of green silk. She sits with her legs half crossed. From her body emanates a ray of red light (out of which originates) the train which surrounds her. carrying out the (work called) dbang gi las.

In front of the chief goddess comes forth from the dark blue syllable bhyo, on top of a black mule covered by a skin which had been drawn from a corpse, the black Drag po'i lha mo, with one face and two hands, staring with three widely opened eyes, wrathful and ferocious, with a gaping mouth and baring her long teeth; the eyebrows and the hair of her face blaze like fire and her dark-brown hair is similar (to the colour of) the dusk. She has flapping breasts, her right hand holds a khram shing and the left hand (carries) a stick consisting of a mummified corpse, together with a Snare. Atop of a garment made of coarse black cloth she wears a fluttering cover made of a human skin and (she also carries) a loin-cloth made from the skin of a tiger. She is adorned with five kinds of bone ornaments. She has the attitude of a rider. A black ray emanates from her body (out of which originates) the train which surrounds her, carrying out the (work called) drag po'i las.

In front of the Drag po'i lha mo comes forth from the dark-blue syllable bhyo - when all has been completely changed -, on top of a huge corpse lying on its back, the Iha mo remati gsang sgrub; she has one face, two hands, and is very angry and ferocious. Her three red eyes are globular, her eyebrows and the hair of her face are ablaze, and her darkbrown hair hangs in streaks down to her heels. Her brow is adorned with a diadem bearing one skull. She is naked (except for) a pair of trousers made of coarse cloth. Her right hand lifts skyward a sharp strong sword, her left hand holds by the hair, towards her left breast, a blood-dripping human head. She dwells in the centre of a fire, in the manner of rising hesitantly.

In front appears from the syllable ma the black Srog bdud ma, with two hands, crushing the sun and the moon, riding on a black bird. On the left comes forth from the syllable ma the black sNying bzan ma. She eats the human heart which her right hand is holding, her left hand (clutches) a hook; she is dressed in trousers of blue silk and (dwelling) on top of a corpse she assumes a running posture. In the back comes forth from the syllable ma the fierce red-brown Thog 'phen ma, with two hands, holding a sack full of lightning and hail, which she pours out on the enemies. Standing on the sun with her right foot and on the moon with the left one, she hastens on the sky. Each of these three has the mouth widely open and bares the teeth. Their three eyes move like lightning, the eyebrows and the hair of the face are blazing. Their hair hangs down reaching to the thighs, and their brow is adorned with three dry skulls. On the left comes forth from the syllable ma the black scorpion-headed Nad gtong ma. Her right hand is open, the left One holds a sack full of diseases. She rides on a camel. - Each of these four has flapping breasts and a garland of poisonous snakes. In addition to it Nad gtong ma opens widely her genitals.

In the southeastern direction comes forth from the syllable Ta the dark-brown Khyab 'jug. chen po with nine heads, the three on the right being white, the three on the left being red, and the three middle-ones being dark-brown. Atop of these faces he has the head of a raven; his yellow-red hair stands on end, his eyes are widely open, and he bares his teeth. His first pair of hands holds an arrow and a bow in the attitude of shooting, the lower pair holds a victory-banner with the head of a makara as its point (chu sTin gyi Tgyal rntshan) and a snake forming a noose. The lower part of his body is the green coiled tail of a snake, his body is covered with a thousand eyes and he has a face on his belly. He is adorned with a diadem of skulls, a human skin (which serves him) as an upper cover and with jewels, bone ornaments, and snakes.

In the southwest comes forth from the syllable tsa the red three-eyed bTsan rgod. His upper teeth, gnawing the lower lip, gnash in anger. His right hand thrusts a lance and the left one a snare. He wears a cuirass and a helmet (both made) of leather and on his feet he wears high red boots. He rushes away on the "red horse of the btsan" adorned with a saddle and crupper.

In the northwest appears from the syllable du the lion-faced black bDud mgon whose locks of turquoise stand on end. His right hand lifts a lance and the left hand throws a dmar gtor at the enemies. He wears a garment with a train, of red 'jag and black silk, and he is decorated with the six kinds of bone-ornaments. He rides on a black horse bearing a saddle and a crupper.

In the northeast comes forth from the syllable Isa the rgyal po Li byin ha ra, of a pink lustrous hue, in a peaceful, not angry disposition, with three eyes. His yellow-red hair is turned upward and he wears the (hat called) sag zhu. His right hand lifts a thunderbolt and the left one holds a skull-cup in front of the breast. He carries atop of a patched-up cloak a red robe with a train, having a blue mtha' 'jag. He wears Mongolian boots (Hor lham) with three soles atop of each other, and he rides in the raja-paryanka on an elephant with a long trunk.

From the syllable bhyo comes forth in front of the mule (of the chief goddess) the dark-blue Chu srin gdong can, holding a snare in the right hand and the reins (of the mule) in the left one. She wears a human skin as her dress. Behind (the mule) is the dark-red Seng ge'i gdong can holding a chopper and a skull-cup full of blood. In the four directions (as seen from the chief goddess) appear: in front the dark blue bDud mo remati holding a sword in her right hand and a skull-cup full of blood in the left one. She is dressed in a human skin and a garment of black silk and rides on an ass with a white patch on its forehead. On the right side is the dark-blue Nad kyi bdag mo holding a pair of dice in her right hand and a red tablet in the left one. She is dressed in a garment made of black silk and a rough cloth; she rides on a mule. In the back is the black sKye mthing ma, holding a human heart in her right hand and making with the left hand the tarjani-mudrii. She is dressed in a human skin and in the skin of a tiger, and she rides on a stag. On the left is the white Khri sman sa le ma, lifting skyward with both her hands the skin of a makara. She wears a dress and a turban of white silk, and rides on a black bird.

In front, in the right corner originates from the syllable bhyo the dark-blue dPyid kyi rgyal mo, "the 'queen of spring", holding a chopper in her right hand and a skull-cup full of blood in the left. She is dressed in a human skin and rides on a mule. In the back, in the right corner, originates from the syllable bhyo the dark-red dByar gyi rgyal mo, "the queen of summer", holding a hook in her right hand and a skull-cup full of blood in the left one. She is dressed in (silks of the kind called) chu dar and she rides on a water-buffalo. In the back, in the left corner, comes forth from the syllable bhyo the yellow sTon gyi rgyal mo, "the queen of autumn", holding a sickle in the right hand and a skull-cup full of blood in the left one. She wears a cloak of peacock feathers and rides on a stag. In front, in the left corner, appears from the syllable bhyo the dark-blue dGun gyi rgyal mo, "the queen of winter", holding a magic notched stick in her right hand and a skull-cup full of blood in the left one. She rides on a camel which has a white spot on the forehead.

In front appears from the syllable mam the white bKra shis tshe ring ma, holding a thunderbolt and a bum pa and riding on a lion. From the syllable mam originates the azure-blue mThing gi zhal bzang ma, holding a ba dan and a mirror and riding on a kyang. From the syllable mam comes forth the yellow Mi g.yo blo bzang ma, holding a pan with food and an ichneumon. She rides on a tiger. From the syllable mam comes forth the red Cod pan mgrin bzang ma, holding a jewel and a treasure box. She rides on a stag. From the syllable mam comes forth the green gTad dkar 'gro bzang ma, holding a bushle of durva grass and a snare. She rides on a dragon. Each of these five bears an angry, passionate, haughty expression. They are adorned with dresses of silk and ornaments of precious stones.

On the left originates from the syllable ma the blue rDo rje kun grags ma, wearing a cloak of a thousand black snakes and having the freshly drawn skin of a yak as her loin-cloth. She holds a phur bu (of the kind called bya rgod phur bu). She rides on a turquoise (coloured) dragon. From the syllable ma comes forth the blue rDo rje g.yd ma skyong, wearing a freshly drawn yak-skin as her dress and a loin-cloth of a thousand khyung-wings. She holds a phur bu of copper (and) rides on a three-legged mule. From the syllable me originates the white rDo rje kun bzang ma, wearing a lion skin as covering. She lifts a five-pointed thunderbolt and rides on a lion. From the syllable me originates the blue rDo rje bgegs kyi gtso, wearing a dress made from a thousand black bulls and a loin-cloth consisting of a thousand khyung wings. She holds an iron phur bu and rides a golden-coloured hind.

In the back comes forth from the syllable la the white rDo rje spyan gcig ma, wearing a dress spun of conch-shells, tied together by a girdle of turquoise. She holds a "blood-sack" (khrag gi rkyal pal and rides on a white "conch-shell stag". From the syllable la comes forth the yellow rDo rje dpal gyi yum, dressed in a human skin, with a loin-cloth of human hearts, holding a poisoned arrow with a black notch and riding on a khyung. From the syllable Ie originates the white rDo rie klu mo, wearing a cloak of piled-up human heads and holding a club consisting of a corpse. She rides a black wild boar. From the syllable le comes forth the green rDo rje drag mo rgyal, (wearing) a rlog pa consisting of a thousand yak-skins and a loin-cloth made of a thousand khyung wings. She holds a phur bu (of the kind called mchog phur) and she rides On a wild yak with nine horns.

On the left comes forth from the syllable ta the black rDo rje dpal mo che, with a klog pa of a thousand lion-skins and a loin-cloth full of black snakes. She holds a bum pa with blood in it and rides a white horse. From the syllable ta comes forth the red rDo rje sman gcig ma, with a covering of a thousand (skins drawn from) white horses of the best breed and a loin-cloth consisting of a thousand tiger-skins; she holds a phur bu (of the kind called 'bse'i phur) and rides on a black mule with a yellow muzzle. From the syllable te comes forth the dark-red rDo rje g.ya' mo sil, wearing a covering full of black snakes. She holds a phur bu made of sandal-wood and rides on a hind. From the syllable te comes forth the blue rDo rje dril bu gzugs legs ma, having a covering of a wolf (skin) and a loin-cloth of human ribs (and) fibres. She holds a small drum and a thighbone trumpet and she rides on a lion of turquoise.

In the main train of these appear towards the outside the ma mo, bdud, gshin rje, srin po, zhing skyong, etc., in an unimaginable multitude, and moreover the lha, klu, gnod sbyin, dri za, grul bum, mi 'am ci, Ito 'phye chen po, etc., in an unimaginable multitude, brandishing in their right hands various weapons as thunderbolts, choppers, swords, hatchets, lances, hooks, iron poles to empale criminals, fiercely blazing fire, etc., while all of them hold in the left hand a skull-cup full of poisonous blood."

-- Oracles and Demons of Tibet: The Cult and Iconography of the Tibetan Protective Deities, by Rene De Nebesky-Wojkowitz
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