Long Lives and Untimely Deaths by Barbara Gerke

By Barbara Gerke

Life-Span strategies and durability Practices between Tibetans within the Darjeeling Hills, India

Longevity and long-life practices were a pan-Tibetan problem for a long time, yet have infrequently been studied by means of anthropologists. This ebook provides ethnographic bills and textual fabric demonstrating how Tibetans within the Darjeeling Hills, India, view the life-span and map out definite life-forces in quite a few components of information. those life-forces persist with day-by-day, per month, and annual cycles. Divinations and astrological calculations are generally yet varyingly utilized by Tibetans to evaluate the power of life-forces and forecast tricky classes of their lives. Loss, exhaustion, or periodic weaknesses of life-forces are handled medically or via Tibetan Buddhist practices and rituals. In a majority of these occasions, temporality and supplier are deeply interlinked within the ways that Tibetans improve their energy, lengthen their life-spans, and keep away from ‘untimely deaths.’

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Rather they make varied use of the numerous vitality factors and their related methods of diagnosis, prognosis, or treatment that these systems provide them with depending on their life situation. Lay Tibetans often have a popular understanding of the specialised knowledge, and technical terms can acquire a range of meanings in diffferent contexts (see summarised overview of the diffferent interpretations of technical terms in appendix 1). During my fijieldwork, it was noticeable that in dealing with diffferent life-forces professionals as well as lay people gave signifijicant importance to temporality.

But people freely spoke about the ritual and why they attended it, what expectations they had from it, and how they believed it would afffect them. introduction 25 I fijilmed one tshe dbang at Lama Kunzang’s request, but felt that the camera distanced me from the people. I preferred to document the tshe dbang rituals with a small digital still camera and record the recitations with a digital audio recorder. I was able to photograph the ritual texts of three of the eight tshe dbang, one brtan bzhugs, and one tshe sgrub.

An example of a similar limitation was when Lama Kunzang requested me not to publish any of the photos in which the young reincarnation of Dudjom Rinpoche appeared during the rituals to avoid negative karma that could befall the rinpoche if the publications were in any way misused. introduction 29 Whenever recording was not possible, I took detailed fijield notes after the event or recorded my own summaries on the way home from a meeting and wrote them down the same evening. Taking notes was not always an option.

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