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Observations placeholder

Tibetan Buddhism - Kushog Wanchen



Type of Spiritual Experience


Number of hallucinations: 1


Describes the initiation process in order to achieve rebirth

A description of the experience

With Mystics and Magicians in Tibet – Alexandra David-Neel
[she meets and speaks to a geshes from derge]

‘The disciple must understand that gods and demons do really exist for those who believe in their existence and that they are possessed with the power of benefiting or harming those who worship or fear them.  However, very few reach incredulity in the early part of their training. Most novices actually see frightful apparitions.'

I shall not venture to contradict this latter opinion, a number of instances have proved to me that it is well grounded. Darkness, the peculiarly wild aspect of the places chosen for meeting the dreaded evil beings, the power that Orientals possess to a high degree of visualising their thoughts, are sufficient to produce hallucinations.

But must we classify all phenomena witnessed by the celebrants of these curious rites as hallucination?

Tibetans affirm that we must not.

I had the opportunity of talking with a gomchen of Ga (Eastern Tibet) called Kushog Wanchen -about sudden deaths which occurred while calling up demons.  This lama did not appear inclined towards superstition and I thought he would agree with my opinion on this matter.

"Those who died were killed by fear. Their visions were the creation of their own imagination. He who does not believe in demons would never be killed by them” I said.

I was much astonished when the anchorite replied in a peculiar tone of voice.  "According to that it must also follow that a man who does not believe in the existence of tigers may feel confident that none of them would ever hurt him even if he were confronted by such a beast”

And he continued:

" Visualizing mental formations, either voluntarily or not, is a most mysterious process. What becomes of these creations? May it not be that like children born of our flesh, these children of our mind separate their lives from ours, escape our control, and play parts of their own?

" Must we not also consider that we are not the only ones capable of creating such formations? And if such entities exist in the world, are we not liable to come into touch with them, either by the will of their maker or from some other cause? Could one of these causes not be that, through our mind, or through our material deeds; we bring about the conditions in which these entities are capable of manifesting some kind of activity?

"I will give you an illustration” he continued “If you are living on a dry spot of ground at some distance from the banks of a river, fishes will never approach you.  But cut a channel between the river and your dwelling place and dig a pond in the dry spot of ground. Then, as the water runs in it, fishes will come from the river and you will see them moving before your eyes.

"It is only prudent to beware of opening channels without due consideration. Few, indeed, suspect what the great store-house of the world which they tap unconsciously, contains." And in lighter vein he concluded :

 " One must know how to protect oneself against the tigers to which one has given birth, as well as against those that have been begotten by others."

The source of the experience

Tibetan Buddhism

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Overwhelming fear and terror


Expunging demons