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Conclusion: The Apparent Dichotomy Between Bon And Buddhism

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Chapter Summary

The amiable co-existence of village lamas and bon ritual specialists in Tingchim has had a number of causes. Historically, the author has seen that Sikkim was established as a Buddhist kingdom in the seventeenth century by three Nyingma lamas from Tibet. As they proceeded to tame the country and its inhabitants, the Lepchas? sacred landscape was integrated into their Buddhist rendition of Sikkim?s sacred geography as a beyul. With such a background, Tingchim villagers? worldview remained deeply shamanic, where the body, the household, the lineage, the village, the landscape and the supernatural are intimately linked and thought to affect each other. Household rituals were strengthened by a number of recent economic and political developments. As rituals of the land become more fashionable and village lamas continue to ensure their celebration, the encounter between conventional and village Buddhism is likely to keep unfolding in the years to come.

Keywords: Buddhism; household rituals; sacred landscape; Tingchim villagers; village lamas



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