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October 7-8-9, 2016

Tibetan Shamanism and Buddhist Meditation Practice: Healing the Body and the Soul

Hartford, CT, USA  [Friday night talk and weekend workshop]

The roots of ancient Tibetan culture lie deep within the rich soil of  North Asian Shamanism. When an individual in the Tibetan community fell ill and the usual herbal remedies failed, a shaman was called in to divine the origin of the illness, usually due to negative provocations of energy from a hostile or offended nature spirit. After chanting and dancing, he or she would fall into an altered state of consciousness that gave access to the other world of the spirits. Then a Lha or Pawo, a spirit guide, would speak through the shaman and prescribe a healing ritual, which would afterwards be performed. Over the centuries, these indigenous shamanic practices of Tibet became integrated with the Buddhist teachings and practices of Indian origin, which has given Tibetan Buddhism its unique and colorful character.

Before Indian Buddhism came to Central Tibet in the 8th century of our era, Tibet had already developed a rich cultural and spiritual tradition known as Bön, which had ties with Central Asia and the mysterious land of Zhang-zhung to the west of Tibet. The teachings and practices of Yungdrung Bön, “the eternal tradition,” stemmed from those of the Buddha known as Tönpa Shenrab, who taught in Olmo Lungring in ancient Central Asia. His teachingsare allotted among the four Gateways of Bon, which include shamanic practices of healing, as well as the higher spiritual teachings that aim at attaining liberation from suffering in Samsara and realizing Buddha enlightenment.

In later in India also, the Buddha Shakyamuni charged his original group of disciples, not only to teach the Dharma to others in their own languages, but equally to heal those who were afflicted by physical suffering and diseases. The original teachings of the Buddha were cast in the form of traditional Indian medicine: dignosis of the human condition in terms of mental and emotional suffering, discovering the causes of this suffering, the prognosis that a cure to suffering is possible, and the the process of eleviating suffering through behaviour, meditation practice, and wisdom. Thus, healing lies at the heart of the practice of traditional shamanism in Tibet, as well as at the core of Buddhist and Bönpo teaching and practice.

In this weekend course, we shall investigate the energetic basis of healing in both Tibetan Shamanism and Tibetan Buddhism, including the use of meditation and visualization for invoking Tse, or healing energy, from a higher spiritual source. Furthermore, we shall focus on such traditional practices as Tseguk (recalling life-energy), Laguk (recalling the soul), Soktik (balancing energies), Tsedrub (self-healing), and Tsewang (transmitting healing energy to others). This will include the practices associated with the long-life Buddha Amitayus, White Tara, and the Medicine Buddha, the patron of all professional healing practicioners.

Conact: Cheri Brady, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it