Tibetan Mahayoga Tantra

">Tibetan Mahayoga Tantra
(An Ethno-Historical Study of Skulls, Bones and Relics)
by Andrea Loseries-Leick

2008, 23 cm., pp. xxviii+226, US$ 38.33 or Rs. 1495

Bone carving, one of the most ancient crafts of Tibet, is here treated in the context of Mahayoga Tantra. Since the first missionary reports from Tibet in the letters to Rome (17th -18th century) the use of skills and bones in Tibet was described as sorcery involving all sorts of magic operations, and referred in the context to head hunting practices and ancestry cults. For the first time a full and thorough ethno-historical investigation is presented, combining the study of early Indian written documents (5th -12th cent.) and Tibetan texts (11th -20th cent.) on the subject with field study and participating observation (1983-1994). The Author, herself a practicing Tantrik Buddhist, relates the use of skulls and bones to rituals of the Mahayoga tantra within Vajrayana Buddhism. On the example of five traditional ritual instruments made of human bones: Thigh bone trumpet, Damaru, Skull cup, Prayer beads and Bone ornaments, she explains the philosophical ground, application and aim of the technology, functions and symbolism of Tibetan 'bone lore', including relics, sacred mummies and the practice of mummification in Tibet. Spices with autobiographical accounts this book gives a rare ethno-historical insight into the magical mysteries of Tibet. Whoever wants to know about Trance-runners, skull oracles or how to fabricate a cloak of invisibility may find her the answers.

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