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The ‘Spirit Mediums’ (lha pa) Of Reb Gong In A Mdo

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Chapter Summary

From the seventeenth century onward, the Tibetan government officially started to employ the official mediums of dharma protector deities as a religious and political tool in both its political and military spheres. There are various terms used in Tibetan to identify spirit mediums (lha pa). Traditionally, lha pas come from a family lineage. When a lha pa lineage is broken, a search for a new lha pa takes place by consulting a group of religious personalities and lamas. In this chapter, the author considers that because traditional beliefs have been deeply rooted in Tibetan society, Tibetan people are still restricted by old thoughts. He believes that the perception of the efficacy of lha pas as miraculously powerful is an obstacle to people's mental development. Therefore, the author argues that lha pas' activities should be promoted and preserved only as a century-old tradition and social custom.

Keywords: lha pa; Reb gong area; religious rituals; spirit mediums; Tibetan government



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