Dreamworlds of Shamanism and Tibetan Buddhism: The Third by Angela Sumegi

By Angela Sumegi

Explores shamanic and Tibetan Buddhist attitudes towards goals.

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The label “animistic” is commonly applied to cultures that engage in a particular way with their environment—as persons interacting with persons. Although this does not mean that animistic societies are ignorant of the difference between animate and inanimate, neither are these categories regarded as complete opposites. 26 She emphasizes the prominence of kinship in the Nayaka definition of “person” as “one whom we share with” and concludes that for the Nayaka, personhood is not a given characteristic of inanimate things but an expression of relationship.

Countenance distorted . . arms and legs flailing around and his entire body shaking . . he throws himself down and remains there seemingly lifeless for three or four hours. . ”72 In the shamanic rituals observed here, at one stage the shaman appears to fall into a sleeplike state of unconsciousness. ”73 He interpreted this as not a real sleep, but a ritualized aspect of the shaman’s performance, recognized as such by the audience. Nevertheless, from within the Tungus tradition, it is understood that sleep can be used as a method of entering into an altered state of consciousness or alternate reality mode in which the shaman acts—the battles fought between shamans were said to take place during sleep and dream.

The world and human life is a network of relations and interactions among a great variety of persons, seen and unseen. ” Worship is both a mode of communication and a vehicle of creation. Through ritual, the world is consulted, hidden correspondences emerge, and deities are born; reality is created and transformed. Ritual is the process by which a person defines, empowers, and engages with the various beings and realities of the universe. Finally, in the imagery of mountains, connecting ropes of light, and the rainbow path between heaven and earth, Tibetans, like other shamanic cultures, access their primeval origins, ascend to the realm of the gods, offer themselves as vehicles for the descent of the gods, and pay homage to the ancestors who bind generation to generation and death to life.

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Dreamworlds of Shamanism and Tibetan Buddhism: The Third by Angela Sumegi
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