Essay on Oracles: A Way Of The Past?

Essay on Oracles: A Way Of The Past?

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Oracles: A Way Of The Past?

Oracles, especially chief oracle-priests, have always had major roles in the Tibetan government. In fact, as Avedon notes in In Exile from the Land of the Snows, for the last 1300 years the chief oracle-priest or state-oracle oracle has had the final say on “virtually every key decision of the state.”[1] This disproportionate degree of influence that the chief oracle-priests exercised on the internal as well as the external affairs of Tibet, had often led to situations where “the chief medium became the playball of political intrigues.”[2] The present Tibetan government in exile continues to heavily rely on the state-oracle oracle and others including a rainmaker and two other oracles, who are part of the Dalai Lama’s core group of advisors. Some even claim that the state-oracle oracle’s influence has never been as dominant as it is now in Dharamsala, the home of the Tibetan community in exile[3]. The Tibetan government needs to rectify this imbalance of power and employ a more democratic way of making political decisions. In other words, they need to reduce the oracles’ roles in the Tibetan government.

Oracles manifest through the trances of human mediums when possessed by the spirit or consciousness of deities that are the guardians and protectors of the Buddhist doctrine.[4] Oracles thus act as mouthpieces for the deities, who make their wishes known or give prophetic answers through them. The fame of a medium is determined by the rank and number of divinities that use him as their mouthpieces.[5] There are several different kinds of oracles, the state-oracle oracle being the most renowned. Other oracles include weather oracles, ordinary diviners and healers.

A typical divination cerem...

... middle of paper ...

...e and Blacker. Oracles and Divination, p.16

[11] Loewe and Blacker. Oracles and Divination, p.7

[12] Hanbury-Tracy, Black River of Tibet, p. 66

[13] Rock, The Na Khi Naga cult and related ceremonies, I, p. 135

[14] Nebesky-Wojkowitz, Oracles and Demons of Tibet, p. 440-441

[15] Nebesky-Wojkowitz, Oracles and Demons of Tibet, p. 470

[16] Harrer, Seven Years in Tibet, p. 192

[17] Loewe and Blacker. Oracles and Divination, p.31


[19] Nebesky-Wojkowitz, Oracles and Demons of Tibet, p. 449

[20] Avedon. In Exile from the Land of the Snows, p. 211


[22] Nebesky-Wojkowitz, Oracles and Demons of Tibet, p. 453


[24] The Times of India, September 11, 2000

[25] Piburn, The Dalai Lama, A Policy of Kindness, p. 31

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