Historical Changes in Ritual Implements & Shrine Set-up

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Historical Changes in Ritual Implements & Shrine Set-up

Postby Jikan » Mon Jun 16, 2014 3:52 pm

On two occasions, I've been able to to see mid-19th century photographs of Tibetan Buddhist practitioners and some of their implements (one was on display years ago at the University of New Mexico, USA; the other at George Mason University, USA). It seems to me that there have been some small but significant changes in the size and shape of some articles of practice, which seem to be increasingly standardized today. For instance, the chodpas I've seen photographed in practice over a hundred years ago might have much smaller and differently-accoutred damaru than one might expect to see someone using today--or not.

I'm wondering if these changes reflect easier manufacturing processes today compared to pre-industrial Asia, or changes in attitude/expectation toward practice implements, or something else entirely--or if I'm completely off the reservation in my reading of these images.

Thanks.
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Re: Historical Changes in Ritual Implements & Shrine Set-up

Postby Malcolm » Mon Jun 16, 2014 4:14 pm

Jikan wrote:On two occasions, I've been able to to see mid-19th century photographs of Tibetan Buddhist practitioners and some of their implements (one was on display years ago at the University of New Mexico, USA; the other at George Mason University, USA). It seems to me that there have been some small but significant changes in the size and shape of some articles of practice, which seem to be increasingly standardized today. For instance, the chodpas I've seen photographed in practice over a hundred years ago might have much smaller and differently-accoutred damaru than one might expect to see someone using today--or not.

I'm wondering if these changes reflect easier manufacturing processes today compared to pre-industrial Asia, or changes in attitude/expectation toward practice implements, or something else entirely--or if I'm completely off the reservation in my reading of these images.

Thanks.


There has been some modernization and stream-lining of practice articles since the 1970's. And in general, quality has declined.
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Re: Historical Changes in Ritual Implements & Shrine Set-up

Postby Jikan » Mon Jun 16, 2014 5:22 pm

If that's the case, then it seems to me that there may be an incentive for do-it-yourselfers to do-it-themselves in some instances.
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Re: Historical Changes in Ritual Implements & Shrine Set-up

Postby Tsultrim T. » Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:08 pm

The possible reason for this might be that the vast majority of customers of these implements are the young monks and nuns at the monasteries throughout Nepal and India. Many of them were orphans or their parents were too poor to keep them so they offered them to the monastery. If the monastery is purchasing the implements for it's ordained Sangha then they probably prefer the cheaper options and even if the individual practitioners are buying them it is not likely that they have a lot of extra cash for these types of things. These are your average implement buyers, probably 10 to 1 if not 100 to 1 monks to Westerners.
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Re: Historical Changes in Ritual Implements & Shrine Set-up

Postby dzoki » Fri Jun 27, 2014 2:29 pm

Speaking of shrine set-up, one of the novelties of let´s say past 100 years is putting a photo of a teacher on the altar. For example late Shamar Rinpoche was not very happy about it, because as he said, rather than supporting understanding of real value of guru, it often fosters a personality cult. Also a friend of mine witnessed a funny scene when some Tibetan doctors (ethinic Tibetans and non-members of DC) visited a center of dzogchen community center in Prague and started to rebuke local practioners for having a photo of Namkhai Norbu higher than that of H.H. the Dalailama, and they insisted that photo of the Dalailama should be put above that of Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche. :D
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Re: Historical Changes in Ritual Implements & Shrine Set-up

Postby Malcolm » Fri Jun 27, 2014 4:54 pm

dzoki wrote:Also a friend of mine witnessed a funny scene when some Tibetan doctors (ethinic Tibetans and non-members of DC) visited a center of dzogchen community center in Prague and started to rebuke local practioners for having a photo of Namkhai Norbu higher than that of H.H. the Dalailama, and they insisted that photo of the Dalailama should be put above that of Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche. :D


The doctors are right, and ChNN himself would say so since he has told us in the community that since HHDL is his guru, he is ours.
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Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
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