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Mircea Eliade - On Tibetan rebirth experience

Identifier

003855

Type of spiritual experience

A description of the experience

Mircea Eliade – Shamanism Archaic techniques of ecstasy

Tibet has a tantric rite named chod which is clearly shamanic in structure.  It consists in offering one’s own flesh to be eaten by ‘demons’ – which is curiously reminiscent of the future shaman’s initiatory dismemberment by ’demons’ and ancestral souls.

 R Bleichsteiner [L’Eglise Jaune] describes it as follows;

 ‘To the sound of the drum made of human skulls and of the thighbone trumpet, the dance is begun and the spirits are invited to come and feast.  The power of meditation evokes a goddess brandishing a naked sword, she springs at the head of the sacrificer, decapitates him and hacks him to pieces; then the demons and wild beasts rush on the still quivering fragments, eat the flesh, and drink the blood. 

The words spoken refer to certain Jatakas, which tell how the Buddha, in the course of his earlier lives, gave his own flesh to starving animals and man eating demons.  But despite this Buddhist colouring’, Bleichsteiner concludes, the rite is but a ‘sinister mystery going back to primitive times

The source of the experience

Tibetan Buddhism

Concepts and Symbols used in the text or image

Activities