Observations placeholder

Tibetan Buddhism - The Possession of the Oracle of the Dalai Lama



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

The Mind Possessed  - Dr William Sargant

In Tibet, until the Communist conquest, the Dalai Lama and his advisers consulted the state oracle n all important matters, the oracle being a young monk, through whose mouth the god spoke. This oracle decided whether the last Dalai Lama was to leave the country when Chinese troops invaded. 'In order to function as an oracle' Heinrich Harrer explained, 'the monk has to be able to dislodge his spirit from his body, to enable the god of the temple to take possession of it and to speak thorough his mouth. At that moment the god is manifested in him.'  Harrer described the actual possession as follows:

Heinrich Harrer – Seven Years in Tibet trandslated by Richard Graves 1955

 'He began to concentrate. He looked as if the life were fading out of him. Now he was perfectly motionless, his face a staring mask. Then suddenly, as if he had been struck by lightning, his body curved upward like a bow. The onlookers gasped. The god was in possession. The medium began to tremble; his whole body shook and beads of sweat stood out on his forehead . . . The trembling became more violent. The medium's heavily laden head wavered from side to side, and his eyes started from their sockets. His face was swollen and covered with patches of hectic red. Hissing sounds pierced through his closed teeth.

Suddenly he sprang up. Servants rushed to help him, but he slipped by them and to the moaning of the oboes began to rotate in a strange exotic dance . . . The medium became calmer. Servants held him fast and a Cabinet Minister stepped before him and threw a scarf over his head. Then he began to ask questions carefully prepared by the Cabinet about the appointment of a governor, the discovery of a new Incarnation, matters involving war and peace. The Oracle was asked to decide on all these things.'

The source of the experience

Tibetan Buddhism

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps