Truth, a protective deity

After everything was settled in the village, there was peace. However, we feel that with all the mishap happened to us, there has to be a solution. After reading the scripture recovered from the cave, we realized that we used to have a protective deity named Truth, Truth is one of the many servants of Avalokitesvara, and he used to protect us until the Chinese army destroyed our cairn hundred years ago. Now, my mission will be to rebuild the site.

In order to rebuild the cairn, we will have to carry stones uphills, and build it in a cone shape. The procedure will be first do an initial cleansing of the site, and then bury a hex bag containing ruins from previous cairns, protection spells and a mandala with Avalokitesvara ‘s mantra. Then after the cairn is built, we will have to set up some wind horses with different spells such as protection spell, auspicious spell, evil-warding spell etc. Afterwards, we will have a lama over for an official purification and offering ceremony and invite Truth to reside in the cairn. So, we invited the nuns in the monastery to set-up an offering ceremony, and children and women in the village cook barley with assorted seeds, various dough rolls with the eight auspicious signs. At the main shrine, the nuns and helpers put the rice onto the plate, place dough rolls in front of it, put three incense on top of it, together with some offering items, such as money, flower, fruits, yogurt, cheese, five coloured clothes, medicines etc. , while I set up some charcoals and wood on a big wok at the cairn site to start a fire pit. The nuns will chant Fire Kongo Dharani Sutra, while offer the plates of food to the Bodhisattva and Buddha of the directions. After that is done, the servants will bring all the items, and go the site for building the cairn. The servants will take turns to take the plate to the cairn site, circle around the fire pit three times, and pour the contents into the fire, which the other servant pour liquor, butter tea or milk into the pit. All the servants will comptemplate the smoke coming from the fire pit as clouds filling the entire universe, bringing the blessing and merits to all sentient beings. After all, these are done, the shamans will start dancing around it, sending a signal to the heavenly temple, to invite Truth to reside in the cairn in seven days, and to protect the village and the people of the village.

An image of a cairn in Tibet

We got the stones from our bank of Tsangpo river, and asked my nephew to load it on his truck, and carry it to the site. The rocks cannot be too smooth, and we found the ones with a flat surface. We use glutinous rice mush to glue the stones together, the Chinese build the great wall with this kind of glue. The women will cook glutinous rice for a long time, pour out most of the water and churn it until it is mushy, it has to be made fresh every day, since they dry up pretty easily. The rest of us started choosing stones with larger surface area, and wash them carefully. And then we will dig a trench, so that we can lay some foundation of the cairn, and then we build up a cone shape stone pile for about 1.5 meters high. It took a total of seven days to built, and when the cairn is all done, it is time for an official ceremony.

For inviting the deity to reside in a cairn, we would need a Bon Shaman to officiate the ceremony. So I invited my bon teachers K to join us, but to no avail. He was away searching for a lost soul of someone from the next village. So, we invited the nuns to officiate the ceremony. First, I was dressed up in a large Cape made of five colour clothes, and a big, red and angry mask representing the image of Truth with a hand drum. The fierce and bold image is believed to expel away the malevolent forces haunting our village, and to prevent any further mishap. And there are other volunteers who wear masks of different colours: green, yellow, blue etc. Representing evils. We did a dance around the cairn, where Truth expels and exterminates all other evils for good. Then the nuns will chant:

“ O thou heavenly one, we sincerely ask for your blessing,

To ascend upon this realm

For you have the almighty power

To cast away the evil, and grant us peace,

And may no malevolence approach this village.”

Then we started the wind horse ceremony.

Wind horse is a set of coloured flags, with certain spells written on them, and it carries a good wish to spread wisdom, compassion, and peace to the world by the wind. We used the colours from the Buddhist flag: blue, which symbolises compassion; yellow, which symbolises the middle way; red which symbolises the practice of Buddhism; white which symbolises enlightenment; orange, which symbolises wisdom, and all of these combined together symbolises the universality of the Truth of the Tathagata’s Teaching. These flags were strung together, and on each flag, we wrote the Nīlakaṇṭha Dhāraṇī a.k.a the great compassion mantra, which is spoken by the great Avalokitesvara, and it represents her protection and purification. And since that we have invited Truth, a servant of the great compassion Bodhisattva, it is the perfect Dharani to put on, and in the centre, there are images of Wind Horse, allegory of the human soul.

On the left: The great compassion mantra; On the right, an image of the wind horse

The ceremony started by inviting the incense Bodhisattava, a food bestowal ritual for the beings in the lower realms (hungry ghosts and hell). And then a cleansing ritual by spraying water empowered by the great compassion mantra to the site, and then the nuns will invite all Buddhas Bodhisattavas, Arhats, Asuras, Gods and other beings from the upper realm from ten directions to come and witness the ceremony. And the nuns asked volunteers to take stones from the ruins of the previous cairn in the centre and bury them, while they were asking Truth to descend upon this cairn, take its residence, and to look after the village. Afterwards, we began an offering ritual, a cup of butter tea, some barley cake, yak meat and a small cup of honey to offer to Truth. At the end of the ceremony, we thanked all the witnesses of this ceremony, to close the ceremony, and transfer merits to all living beings.

After I got home, I think it’s time for me to go out for an adventure, to look for my Jorma, who is in Shangri La. A few days ago, Durha told me in my dream that she is in the Tian Shan mountain region between Tibet and Qing Hai, I must go seek for her.

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