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Observations placeholder

Tibetan Buddhism - Lung-gom-pas



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Alexandra David-Neel – With Mystics and Magicians in Tibet

Noon and early afternoon, narrow valleys, woodlands, uneven ground are considered unfavourable conditions and only adepts in lung-gom are deemed capable of overcoming the adverse influences which emanate from them.

These explanations seem to imply that uniformity in the landscape and absence of near-by conspicuous objects are helpful in attaining the trance. It is certain that a wide, desert plain offers fewer occasions of distracting attention from the formula and the movement of the breath, than a ravine half obstructed with rocks and bushes, noisy mountain streams, etc. As for the regularity of the pace it cannot be easily kept up on a rough uneven path.

From my own superficial experience of the practice, though desert tablelands are choice ground, I feel convinced that a forest of tall straight trees, devoid of undergrowth and crossed by tolerably even paths, may be quite favourable to the trance, perhaps also on account of the uniformity of the landscape. However, this is my own idea and is based on a single personal observation which I made in the primeval forests of Poyul

Any clear night is deemed good for the training of beginners, but strong starlight is especially favourable.  One is often advised to keep the eyes fixed on a particular star. This appears connected with hypnotic effects, and I  have been told that among novices who train themselves in that way, some stop walking when "their" star sinks below the skyline or rises above their head. Others, on the contrary, do not notice its disappearance because, by the time that the star has passed out of sight, they have formed a subjective image of it  which remains fixed before them.

Some initiates in the secret lore also assert that, as a result of long years of practice, after he has travelled over a certain distance, the feet of the lung-gom-pa no longer touch the ground and that he glides on the air with an extreme celerity.

Setting aside exaggeration, I am convinced from my limited experiences and what I have heard from trustworthy lamas, that one reaches a condition in which one does not feel the weight of one's body. A kind of anaesthesia deadens the sensations that would be produced by knocking against the stones or other  obstacles on the way, and one walks for hours at an unaccustomed speed, enjoying that kind of light  agreeable dizziness well known to motorists at high speed.

Tibetans distinguish between the regular prolonged tramps accomplished by the lung-gom-pas and those of the pawos,  possessed mediums, who go into trances involuntarily and walk with no definite goal in view.

Intellectual lamas do not deny the reality of the phenomena brought about, in the long run, by lung-gom practices, but they care little for them.

Mentions of such accomplishments are repeatedly found in the Padma bkah thang and in various other books. It is styled rkang mgyogs sgrubs, pronouuced hang gyog ngo dub," success in  swiftness of foot."

The source of the experience

Tibetan Buddhism

Concepts, symbols and science items


Giant strides


Activities and commonsteps