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Village Religion: Ritual Of Illness

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Chapter Summary

This chapter introduces the various possible causes attributed to illness and how the cycle of illness caused by the nöpa, the harmful spirits, is locally perceived. The diagnostic phase reveals the extent to which the body, the physical and social environments and the supernatural are thought to be interrelated and affect one another. If it is established that the illness has a supernatural cause, the bongthing, the pawo and the lamas will be consulted according to an established although flexible order and they will work together so as to relieve the patient of his suffering, ideally, by tracing the affliction down to a curse or a wrong-doing that might have offended a local nöpa. Tingchim?s worldview, which is better addressed by the shamans in matter of illness, places the village lamas in a secondary position on a subject of great importance to villagers.

Keywords: nöpa; supernatural cause; Tingchim villagers; village religion



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