Interaction with spirits

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MiphamFan
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Interaction with spirits

Post by MiphamFan »

The shamanistic influence in Tibetan Buddhism thread reminded me of something that I had been thinking of, on and off for a while.

These days a lot of people in the "magic" scene are really into giving offerings to the spirits. Alcohol, incense, food. So far most that I've seen are still largely against animal sacrifice but even among those they will say that they think it can be powerful if you come from a tradition that does it.

I find it a bit silly that they call it "magic". I don't see it as truly "magic" -- so many traditional religions have the concept of offerings but it's just something ordinary people do. Tibetans, Chinese and Indians offer incense and food to their gods and ancestors. Catholics and Orthodox offer candles (and more apparently) to different saints and angels.

Anyway I'm digressing a bit.

Somehow I feel like a lot of the offering rites in Tibetan Buddhism are not like the above at all. They are in fact more similar to magical rites in the European grimoires.

In the grimoires, a legendary figure, most often King Solomon, bound the spirits by an oath, which is essentially a contract. The etymology of conjuration literally comes from "to swear (together) with" in Latin. The spirit swears to abide by the oath and the human conjurer, re-enacting Solomon's role, likewise has to abide by the conditions of the oath. He should at the very least abide by the Ten Commandments, be pious etc. Historically a lot of the European magicians conjuring spirits might have received at least Minor Orders including the role of "Exorcist", granting them authority to carry out these rites.

In Tibetan Buddhism, a mahasiddha, most often Guru Padmasambhava in the Nyingma tradition, bound the spirits with an oath. IIRC, in many accounts of such bindings the spirits cry out to Guru Padma that they cannot live without causing harm so Guru Padma gives them some allowance by saying they cannot harm future fortunate ones with samaya and are bound to help such future disciples. Most terma conjurations of spirits, even when giving them offerings are based on narratives of such spirit-bindings AFAIK. When you receive transmission of a teaching concerning this, you are such a fortunate disciple and as long as you have pure samaya, the spirits are also bound on their side by samaya to refrain from harming you and to aid you.

That's my understanding of protector rites in TB, sang offerings etc. Correct me if I am wrong.

The term "magic" has all kinds of various definitions nowadays but I think it's more appropriate to apply here rather than the "folk religion" offerings; it involves specific protocols interacting with the spirits that grants the "magician" protection and leverage over the spirits.

So based on that it seems to me that in TB, we have specific protocols for interacting with spirits, at least until we become mahasiddhas. If you are a mahasiddha and can bind spirits too then great, but otherwise it is best to be careful. Thoughts?
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Javierfv1212
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Re: Interaction with spirits

Post by Javierfv1212 »

Being from Miami, I have attended a santeria ceremony which my sister invited me to.

I have also attended Hare Krishna ceremonies where food is offered to the murtis.

Honestly, the offerings given to statues in TB does not seem that different than what these people are doing. I get that the theory behind it is different, but I find it difficult to relate to all of it seeing that I am somewhat skeptical of spirits and so forth.

Of course that is just me, I tend to be turned off my a lot of ritual and magical thinking.

Ideally I would interpret it as a ritual offering to the symbolic outer forms of our own enlightened qualities. :thinking:
It is quite impossible to find the Buddha anywhere other than in one's own mind.
~Padmasambhava

Amid those who are self-constrained, the Stable One would not posit as categorically true or false
anything seen, heard, or sensed, clung to and considered truth by others.
Since they have already seen this dart to which people cling and adhere,
saying “I know, I see, it is just so,”
the Tathāgatas cling to nothing.
-Kalaka sutta
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Boomerang
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Re: Interaction with spirits

Post by Boomerang »

Yes, I do see Tibetan offerings as a form of magic. However, I don't see folk religion as something non-magical. It's more like you're saying, Tibetan magic is high magic while folk religion is low magic. Is that true? I don't think it's either/or.

Anyways,
OFFERINGS: Many western magicians and witches are getting hip to the power of offerings – mostly thanks to the influence of ATR’s. This is a very good thing. I however learned offerings mostly from a Tantric perspective. In fact one of the things that kind of blew me away about Buddhism, this non-theistic mind-oriented path that insists on the illusion of reality and selfness is that we spend a TON of time making offerings. Offerings to Buddhas, offerings to Nagas, offerings to Demons, offerings to hungry ghosts, offerings to other sentient beings. We make offerings to beings that have done us favors, and offerings to beings that have done us harm. We make offerings to beings who are so exalted that they do not require the offering at all, and we make offerings to beings who are no needy that the only sustenance they receive is smoke. Offerings are central to sorcery in Tantrism and I have made them central to Strategic Sorcery as well. If you want to experience a near instance change in your life circumstances, start making offerings.
http://www.inominandum.com/blog/the-key ... -in-magic/
Malcolm
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Re: Interaction with spirits

Post by Malcolm »

MiphamFan wrote:
That's my understanding of protector rites in TB, sang offerings etc. Correct me if I am wrong.
The original purpose of Sang, as I understand it, is that one has made some error, one purifies this mistaken through fumigation with aromatic plants. The second ancient idea of Sang related to nomads was that one would make any newcomer who came to your camp through juniper smoke, etc., to decontaminate them. When doing Sang with Tibetans, this custom is still observed. Later Sang became merged with the Buddhist idea of making offerings to the four classes of guests, but this is not part of the original, pre-Buddhist custom. And of course, confessions are a very important part of the Sang rite; absent, for example in Chö.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
—Kotalipa
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Mantrik
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Re: Interaction with spirits

Post by Mantrik »

Malcolm wrote:
MiphamFan wrote:
That's my understanding of protector rites in TB, sang offerings etc. Correct me if I am wrong.
The original purpose of Sang, as I understand it, is that one has made some error, one purifies this mistaken through fumigation with aromatic plants. The second ancient idea of Sang related to nomads was that one would make any newcomer who came to your camp through juniper smoke, etc., to decontaminate them. When doing Sang with Tibetans, this custom is still observed. Later Sang became merged with the Buddhist idea of making offerings to the four classes of guests, but this is not part of the original, pre-Buddhist custom. And of course, confessions are a very important part of the Sang rite; absent, for example in Chö.
Confession of deeds in order to include them in the purification of karmic debt owed to all the classes?
(I'm thinking of the Dudjom short Riwo Sangcho practice here.)
http://www.khyung.com ཁྲོཾ

Om Thathpurushaya Vidhmahe
Suvarna Pakshaya Dheemahe
Thanno Garuda Prachodayath

Micchāmi Dukkaḍaṃ (मिच्छामि दुक्कडम्)
MiphamFan
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Re: Interaction with spirits

Post by MiphamFan »

Boomerang wrote:Yes, I do see Tibetan offerings as a form of magic. However, I don't see folk religion as something non-magical. It's more like you're saying, Tibetan magic is high magic while folk religion is low magic. Is that true? I don't think it's either/or.

Anyways,
OFFERINGS: Many western magicians and witches are getting hip to the power of offerings – mostly thanks to the influence of ATR’s. This is a very good thing. I however learned offerings mostly from a Tantric perspective. In fact one of the things that kind of blew me away about Buddhism, this non-theistic mind-oriented path that insists on the illusion of reality and selfness is that we spend a TON of time making offerings. Offerings to Buddhas, offerings to Nagas, offerings to Demons, offerings to hungry ghosts, offerings to other sentient beings. We make offerings to beings that have done us favors, and offerings to beings that have done us harm. We make offerings to beings who are so exalted that they do not require the offering at all, and we make offerings to beings who are no needy that the only sustenance they receive is smoke. Offerings are central to sorcery in Tantrism and I have made them central to Strategic Sorcery as well. If you want to experience a near instance change in your life circumstances, start making offerings.
http://www.inominandum.com/blog/the-key ... -in-magic/
I don't see anything ordinary people do day-to-day in other cultures as magical and neither do the vast majority of ordinary people themselves who give offerings in traditional cultures. It's exoteric. People in those cultures themselves know of magicians (yogis, ngagpas, cunningmen, etc) and distinguish their own simple offerings from whatever it is those magicians do. I've also read Jason Miller's blog, I see nothing wrong with folk religion offerings as an act per se, but I don't think they are magical in the sense the grimoires are or protector rites etc are.
Malcolm
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Re: Interaction with spirits

Post by Malcolm »

Mantrik wrote:
Confession of deeds in order to include them in the purification of karmic debt owed to all the classes?
No, just confession of deeds in general.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
—Kotalipa
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Mantrik
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Re: Interaction with spirits

Post by Mantrik »

Malcolm wrote:
Mantrik wrote:
Confession of deeds in order to include them in the purification of karmic debt owed to all the classes?
No, just confession of deeds in general.
Ah, perhaps it is just this sadhana then, or I misinterpreted:

''NGÖN GYI LEN CHAK TAM CHE CHANG GYUR CHIK
May all my karmic debts from the past be purified!
DA TA GYÜ LA MI NE TOL LO SHAK
In the present so that they do not remain in my mind-stream, I confess them!
MA ONG DRIB PE KHOR LOR MA GYUR CHIK

And in the future, may I never be drawn into the wheel of obscuration!''
http://www.khyung.com ཁྲོཾ

Om Thathpurushaya Vidhmahe
Suvarna Pakshaya Dheemahe
Thanno Garuda Prachodayath

Micchāmi Dukkaḍaṃ (मिच्छामि दुक्कडम्)
Malcolm
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Re: Interaction with spirits

Post by Malcolm »

Mantrik wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Mantrik wrote:
Confession of deeds in order to include them in the purification of karmic debt owed to all the classes?
No, just confession of deeds in general.
Ah, perhaps it is just this sadhana then, or I misinterpreted:

''NGÖN GYI LEN CHAK TAM CHE CHANG GYUR CHIK
May all my karmic debts from the past be purified!
DA TA GYÜ LA MI NE TOL LO SHAK
In the present so that they do not remain in my mind-stream, I confess them!
MA ONG DRIB PE KHOR LOR MA GYUR CHIK

And in the future, may I never be drawn into the wheel of obscuration!''
Karmic debts are not just to the eight classes. The eight classes manifest as demons rather than gods because of such karmic debts; but that is not the whole extent of karmic debts. There are also being who ignore us because of karmic debt, etc., who will not help us, even if they do not actively harm.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
—Kotalipa
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Mantrik
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Re: Interaction with spirits

Post by Mantrik »

Malcolm wrote:
Mantrik wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
No, just confession of deeds in general.
Ah, perhaps it is just this sadhana then, or I misinterpreted:

''NGÖN GYI LEN CHAK TAM CHE CHANG GYUR CHIK
May all my karmic debts from the past be purified!
DA TA GYÜ LA MI NE TOL LO SHAK
In the present so that they do not remain in my mind-stream, I confess them!
MA ONG DRIB PE KHOR LOR MA GYUR CHIK

And in the future, may I never be drawn into the wheel of obscuration!''
Karmic debts are not just to the eight classes. The eight classes manifest as demons rather than gods because of such karmic debts; but that is not the whole extent of karmic debts. There are also being who ignore us because of karmic debt, etc., who will not help us, even if they do not actively harm.
Ah, ..that's what you meant by 'in general'. Yes, I understood that already. I had thought you meant just 'general' confession as opposed to confession specifically linked to purifying karmic debt. Thanks.
http://www.khyung.com ཁྲོཾ

Om Thathpurushaya Vidhmahe
Suvarna Pakshaya Dheemahe
Thanno Garuda Prachodayath

Micchāmi Dukkaḍaṃ (मिच्छामि दुक्कडम्)
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Vasana
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Re: Interaction with spirits

Post by Vasana »

Malcolm wrote:
Mantrik wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
No, just confession of deeds in general.
Ah, perhaps it is just this sadhana then, or I misinterpreted:

''NGÖN GYI LEN CHAK TAM CHE CHANG GYUR CHIK
May all my karmic debts from the past be purified!
DA TA GYÜ LA MI NE TOL LO SHAK
In the present so that they do not remain in my mind-stream, I confess them!
MA ONG DRIB PE KHOR LOR MA GYUR CHIK

And in the future, may I never be drawn into the wheel of obscuration!''
Karmic debts are not just to the eight classes. The eight classes manifest as demons rather than gods because of such karmic debts; but that is not the whole extent of karmic debts. There are also being who ignore us because of karmic debt, etc., who will not help us, even if they do not actively harm.
Would you mind elaborating on the various ways of going about clearing karmic debts if sang offering can sometimes be problematic?
ཨོཾ ་ མ ་ ཎི ་ པ ་ དྨེ ་ ཧཱུྃ ། འ ་ ཨ ་ ཧ ་ ཤ ་ ས ་ མ །
Om Mani Peme Hum ། 'A Ah Ha Sha Sa Ma
'When alone, watch your mind,When with others, watch your speech' - Old Kadampa saying
Malcolm
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Re: Interaction with spirits

Post by Malcolm »

Vasana wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Mantrik wrote:
Ah, perhaps it is just this sadhana then, or I misinterpreted:

''NGÖN GYI LEN CHAK TAM CHE CHANG GYUR CHIK
May all my karmic debts from the past be purified!
DA TA GYÜ LA MI NE TOL LO SHAK
In the present so that they do not remain in my mind-stream, I confess them!
MA ONG DRIB PE KHOR LOR MA GYUR CHIK

And in the future, may I never be drawn into the wheel of obscuration!''
Karmic debts are not just to the eight classes. The eight classes manifest as demons rather than gods because of such karmic debts; but that is not the whole extent of karmic debts. There are also being who ignore us because of karmic debt, etc., who will not help us, even if they do not actively harm.
Would you mind elaborating on the various ways of going about clearing karmic debts if sang offering can sometimes be problematic?
Contemplation is the best way to remove all problems.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
—Kotalipa
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Vasana
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Re: Interaction with spirits

Post by Vasana »

Malcolm wrote:
Vasana wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Karmic debts are not just to the eight classes. The eight classes manifest as demons rather than gods because of such karmic debts; but that is not the whole extent of karmic debts. There are also being who ignore us because of karmic debt, etc., who will not help us, even if they do not actively harm.
Would you mind elaborating on the various ways of going about clearing karmic debts if sang offering can sometimes be problematic?
Contemplation is the best way to remove all problems.
True, problems and immediate threats subside naturally with contemplation just as the weapons of maras transformed into flowers when Buddha was close to [re]awakening.

But what about at other times when the strength of contemplation is not so unwavering due to various conditions? Or when all of the contemplation engaged with thus far has not rendered all debts clear? Or when you want to 'make peace' and make amends by addressing the particular debtor[s] more directly/personally ?
ཨོཾ ་ མ ་ ཎི ་ པ ་ དྨེ ་ ཧཱུྃ ། འ ་ ཨ ་ ཧ ་ ཤ ་ ས ་ མ །
Om Mani Peme Hum ། 'A Ah Ha Sha Sa Ma
'When alone, watch your mind,When with others, watch your speech' - Old Kadampa saying
Malcolm
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Re: Interaction with spirits

Post by Malcolm »

Vasana wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Vasana wrote:
Would you mind elaborating on the various ways of going about clearing karmic debts if sang offering can sometimes be problematic?
Contemplation is the best way to remove all problems.
True, problems and immediate threats subside naturally with contemplation just as the weapons of maras transformed into flowers when Buddha was close to [re]awakening.

But what about at other times when the strength of contemplation is not so unwavering due to various conditions? Or when all of the contemplation engaged with thus far has not rendered all debts clear? Or when you want to 'make peace' and make amends by addressing the particular debtor[s] more directly/personally ?
There is no chance you can ever clear these debts completely. We have been in samsara since beginningless time. There is absolutely no way we can eliminate all those obscurations by any methods of relative purification.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
—Kotalipa
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Vasana
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Re: Interaction with spirits

Post by Vasana »

Hmm...I suppose that makes sense.
I imagine that might even partially explain why even highly realized Tulkus and other realized beings still encounter various adversities and provocations which you'd assume were purified the 'last time round'.
ཨོཾ ་ མ ་ ཎི ་ པ ་ དྨེ ་ ཧཱུྃ ། འ ་ ཨ ་ ཧ ་ ཤ ་ ས ་ མ །
Om Mani Peme Hum ། 'A Ah Ha Sha Sa Ma
'When alone, watch your mind,When with others, watch your speech' - Old Kadampa saying
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Quay
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Re: Interaction with spirits

Post by Quay »

Malcolm wrote:... And of course, confessions are a very important part of the Sang rite; absent, for example in Chö.
Perhaps in some, but certainly not all? For instance in a widely practiced medium-length Thröma practice one finds the confession:
The karma, delusion and non-virtue of all my lives,
I acknowledge and confess with intense remorse.
Or am I misunderstanding the remarks about sang, confession and such as regards offerings to the four classes?
"Knowledge is as infinite as the stars in the sky;
There is no end to all the subjects one could study.
It is better to grasp straight away their very essence--
The unchanging fortress of the Dharmakaya."

– Longchenpa.
Malcolm
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Re: Interaction with spirits

Post by Malcolm »

Quay wrote:
Malcolm wrote:... And of course, confessions are a very important part of the Sang rite; absent, for example in Chö.
Perhaps in some, but certainly not all? For instance in a widely practiced medium-length Thröma practice one finds the confession:
The karma, delusion and non-virtue of all my lives,
I acknowledge and confess with intense remorse.
Or am I misunderstanding the remarks about sang, confession and such as regards offerings to the four classes?
That is a deity yoga sadhana, not the four feasts per se. Of course, in the preliminaries of a given cho rite there might be a standard confession in the seven limb framework, but in the main body of the practice.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
—Kotalipa
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Quay
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Re: Interaction with spirits

Post by Quay »

Ah, of course. Thank you.

(And I assume you mean that last part to read "but not in the main body of the practice.)
"Knowledge is as infinite as the stars in the sky;
There is no end to all the subjects one could study.
It is better to grasp straight away their very essence--
The unchanging fortress of the Dharmakaya."

– Longchenpa.
Sennin
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Re: Interaction with spirits

Post by Sennin »

How does TB view the spirits of a given religion like Yemoja for example?
I assume they may just be considered worldy beings, not worthy of refuge but may be helpful in particular situations :shrug:
Malcolm
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Re: Interaction with spirits

Post by Malcolm »

RikudouSennin wrote:How does TB view the spirits of a given religion like Yemoja for example?
I assume they may just be considered worldy beings, not worthy of refuge but may be helpful in particular situations :shrug:
They are worldly, so, use care.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
—Kotalipa
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