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Observations placeholder

Tibetan Buddhism - A wish for curds is granted



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Alexandra David-Neel With Mystics and Magicians in Tibet

[This incident] happened in the Dainshin River valley, during my journey to Lhasa.  The lama, who produced what seemed to me a characteristic telepathic transmission, belonged to the monastery of Chosdzong.

Yongden and I had spent the night in the open, sleeping in a ditch dug by the waters during successive rainy seasons, but for the moment dry and hardened by the frost. The lack of fuel had compelled us to start our daily tramp without drinking our usual hot buttered tea.

So, hungry and thirsty, we walked till about noon when we saw, seated on his saddle carpet, near the road, a lama of respectable appearance who was finishing his midday meal.  With him were three young trapas of distinguished mien, who looked more like disciples accompanying their master than common servants. Four fettered  horses were trying to graze on some dry grass near the group.

The travellers had carried a bundle of wood with them and kindled a fire, a teapot was still steaming on the embers.

As befitted our assumed condition of beggarly pilgrims, we respectfully saluted the lama. Most likely, the desire that the sight of the teapot awakened in us could be read in our faces.  The lama muttered: “ningje” and, aloud, told us to sit down and bring out our bowls for tea and tsampa.

A trapa poured the remaining tea in our bowls, placed a bag of tsampa near us and went to help his companions who had begun to saddle the beasts and make ready to start. Then, one of the horses suddenly took fright and ran away. This is a common occurrence, and a man went after the animal with a rope.

The lama was not talkative, he looked at the horse that ran in the direction of a hamlet and said nothing.  We continued to eat silently. Then I noticed an empty wooden pot besmeared with curd and guessed that the lama had got the curd from a farm which  I could see at some distance away from the road.

The diet of daily tsampa without any vegetables proved rather trying for the stomach and I availed myself of all opportunities to get milk food. I whispered in Yongden's ear: "When the Lama is gone, you shall go to the farm and ask for a little curd”

Though I had spoken very low and we were not seated very near to the lama, he appeared to have heard my words. He cast a searching glance at me and again uttered sotto voce: "ningjed"

Then he turned his head in the direction where the horse had run away. The animal had not gone far, but was apparently in a playful mood and did not permit the trapa to capture it easily. At last it let him throw the rope round its neck and followed him quietly.

The lama remained motionless, gazing fixedly at the man who advanced toward us. Suddenly, the latter stopped, looked around and went to a boulder near by, where he tied his horse. Then he retraced his steps a little way and leaving the road, walked to the farm.

After a while I saw him come back to his horse carrying something. When he reached us the "something" turned out to be a wooden pot full of curd. He did not give it to the lama, but held it in his hand, looking interrogatively at his master as if saying "Was that what you wanted? What am I to do with this curd? "

To his unspoken question the lama answered by an affirmative nod, and told the trapa to give me the curd.

The source of the experience

Tibetan Buddhism

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps