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Tibetan offerings to Chinese stellar deities

Conference at 6 PM on Zoom  by Marc des Jardins, Professor in the Department of Religions and Cultures at Concordia University, Montreal.

Predating the compilation of Desi Sangye Gyatso’s (1653–1705) Blue Beryl that describes the use of Chinese astrological lore in Tibet, the Bön religion had already incorporated it into its cultic systems. The 13th century Bonpo lama Khyung Götsel (b. 1175) wrote a complete set of propitiation rituals to the spirits of the underground (lu), the roaming spirits of the fields (nyen), the rocks (tö) and those governing astrological aspects (sadak). The Bön Canon contains what may have been the sources that Khyung Götsel used for his written productions. In that collection, the Sadak Compendium describes the pantheon and its traditions as having been brought to Tibet by a fabled character, the king of miracles, Kongtse. Despite keeping somewhat close to the Chinese astrological tradition, describing the Nine Palaces, the 28 lunar mansions and other key elements of that system, the descriptions of the offerings have little to do with what the Daoists, that produced and maintain these cults in China, engaged in. This talk proposes to explore this Daoist pantheon and the propitiation rituals that the Tibetan devised for the pacification of the Chinese spirits.