Sacred Texts  Buddhism  Index  Previous  Next 

PART II

PRESENT LAMAIC INSTITUTIONS

{p. 144}

{p. 145}

CHAPTER XII

THE TIBETAN PRIESTHOOD

MATERIALS CONTAINED IN REPORTS OF EUROPEAN TRAVELLERS.--FUNDAMENTAL LAWS.--HIERARCHICAL SYSTEM.--ORGANISATION OF THE CLERGY.--Principles of its constitution.--Revenues.--Grades amongst the Lamas.--Number of Lamas.--Occupations.--Diet.--Dress.

Reports of European Travellers.

By Lamaism Europeans designate that peculiar form of Buddhism which developed itself from Tsonkhapa's institutions in Tíbet and soon spread over all Central Asia, where it took deep root. Our knowledge of this most modern form of Buddhism is also of no long date; for to penetrate into Tíbet was always a matter of great difficulty, both on account of the impediments presented by the general great elevation of the country, as also by the jealous and hostile feelings of the natives towards foreigners. The supremacy gradually obtained by the Chinese Government has but increased the difficulty;

{p. 146}

even quite recently it has proved its hostile disposition, notwithstanding the treaties signed after the last war in China.[1]

The first Europeans who penetrated into Tibet were Christian missionaries. In the year 1624 a Jesuit, Pater Antonio de Andrada, travelled as far as Cbábrang, the capital of the Gúge district of Gnári Khórsum, the Raja, or Gyalpo, of which was very favourably inclined towards him. The first who reached Lhássa, the centre of the Lamaic church, were the Jesuits Albert Dorville and Johann Gruber, who, in 1661, returned from China viâ Tibet and Hindostán to Europe. The next who followed them were the Capucine patres Josepho de Asculi and Francisco Maria de Toun, who started from Bengál in the year 1706 and safely reached Lhássa. In 1716 the Jesuit Desideri again penetrated up to Lhássa from the west, through Kashmír and Ladák. The most important event for our knowledge of Tibetan Buddhism was the Capucine mission under the superintendance of Horacio de la Penna., who, with five companions, arrived at Lhássa in the year 1741; their efforts to propagate the Christian faith had but little success, though they were kindly received by the Tibetan authorities. They collected much valuable information concerning the geography of the country and the history, religion, manners and customs of the inhabitants. Horacio de la Penna was particularly distinguished by an ardent zeal in the cause of Christianity;

[1. I allude to the case of Capt. Smyth, for whom no passports could be obtained; and of, Capt. Blackiston, who was obliged to return in the first weeks after his setting out from the shores of China to reach Tibet through China.]

{p. 147}

he translated into Tibetan a catechism of the Christian faith, the Doctrina Christiana of Cardinal Belarmino, the Thesaurus Doctrinæ Christianæ of Turlot, and he also compiled a Tibetan-Italian dictionary. The materials brought home by this mission, which a few years afterwards was obliged to leave Lhássa, were examined by Pater Antonio Georgi, who in his curious "Alphabetum Tibetanum," Romæ 1762, undertook to prove by comparative philology the opinion entertained by the missionaries, that Lamaism was a corrupted form of Christianity.

In the year 1811 Manning, according to Princep, made an attempt to pass through Tibet into China; but he was stopped at Lhássa, and not being permitted to go any farther, he was obliged to turn back.[1] In 1845 two Lazarist missionaries, Huc and Gabet, again reached Lhássa from Mongolia; but after a short stay, they also had to leave this capital, and were escorted to Macao by a Chinese officer.

Since the commencement of this century various journeys have been undertaken into Bhután, Síkkim, and the western districts adjoining the British territories. Particularly precious are also the publications of Pallas,

[1. Ritter, "Die Erdkunde von Asien," Vol. II., pp. 439-64. H. Princep, "Tibet, Tartary and Mongolia," London 1&52, p. 17. For an interesting collection of the views of various missionaries on this subject see Marsden's note to "Marco Polo's Travels," p. 240. The Popes had hoped the Capucine mission would prove of very great importance for the propagation of Christianity in Central Asia, and had supported them in every way. Pope Clemens IX. issued a particular Breve concerning Tibet (Ritter, 1. c., p. 459), and the nomination of a Vicarius apostolicus for Lhássa still takes place. The "Annuario Pontificio," Roma 1862, p. 243, gives as the gentleman in charge of this office Monsignors Giacomo Leone Thomine Demazures, nominated March 27, 1846; he is at the same time the Bishop in partibus infidelium of Sinopolis in Cilicia.]

{p. 148}

detailing the information obtained by him in Russian Mongolia; and those of Klaproth--his translation of the description of Tibet by a Chinese officer, as well as the results of his investigations connected with his travels in the regions of the Kaukasus. All the various narratives treat principally of the hierarchical system, the regulations and social habits of the clergy and the religious establishments; the notices on religious ceremonies are very rare. In addition to the above-mentioned sources of information, which have been laid under contribution in my endeavour to define, in the following chapters, the nature and characteristics of the Tibetan priesthood and the institutions connected therewith, I have also been enabled to turn to good account the observations made. by my brothers during their travels in the Eastern Himálaya and in Central and Western Tibet, in the years 1855 to 1857.

Fundamental laws.

It is very probable that in the earliest periods of Buddhism all those who embraced this religion, abandoned the world and assisted their master, as much as lay in their power, in propagating. his faith. Those who, after having heard Sâkyamuni explain his doctrines, desired to become Buddhists, were first obliged to make an explicit. declaration to that effect, whereupon the teacher proceeded to cut off their hair and beard, and then invested them with the religious garments, whereby they were received into the community of the faithful. Later,

{p. 149}

when the number of Buddhists had increased) the neophite {sic} was placed for instruction under the charge of an elder disciple, a practice which became general after Sâkyamuni's death. The distinction between lay brothers and priests, and the important dogma that only the latter, as having renounced the world, can obtain Nirvâna, was certainly not introduced till after Sâkyamuni's death, although he himself had recognized mendicants, the receivers of alms, who are forbidden to eat other food than that which has been received under certain conditions (one being that it has been given in the form of alms); and householders, the givers of alms, who thereby gain merit; but by him both these classes were admitted with equal rights to the advantages promised to his followers. But already the earlier schools (the Hînayâna sect) excluded lay brothers from attaining to the perfection of an Arhat, and to Nirvâna; the Mahâyâna system admits them, but the present sects of Tibet again raised that strongly marked barrier between the laity and the priests, denying to the former the possibility of attaining to the rank of a Buddha; they may attain Nirvâna, but they cannot become "a blessing to the world."[1] The ascetics are styled in the sacred books Bhikshus, Sramanas, Srâvakas, Arhats; and the lay followers, the devotees, Upâsakas (in Tibetan Genyen); in the Mahâyâna Sûtras the latter are also called "Bôdhisattvas who reside in their houses," the former "Bôdhisattvas who have renounced the world."

[1. See pp. 27, 38, 106. Compare also Hodgson, "Illustrations," p. 98. Hardy, "Eastern Monachism," p. 12.]

{p. 150}

The early disciples of Sâkyamuni are generally represented as wandering about with their royal master; others, in consequence of his frequent exhortations to lead a solitary life, are said to have retired to the forests and woods which surround the settlements, or to have lived in solitary and forsaken houses, which they only left on certain periods in order to betake themselves to Sâkyamuni and listen to his words. Large regular assemblies, which probably date back as far as Sâkyamuni himself, took place when the rainy season was over; during the rains Sâkyamuni himself, as well as his immediate followers and the hermit-disciples, had taken up their abode in the houses of well-intentioned persons,, and had devoted themselves to meditations on such parts of the doctrine as they had not yet clearly understood; they also employed part of their time in the instruction of their entertainers, At the assemblies above mentioned the Bhikshus reported their success in gaining neophites, discussed various dogmas, and requested a solution of any doubts with which they may have been troubled.

Originally such assemblies were held in the open air; the Vihâras, in the sense of monasteries, in which they might otherwise have taken place, did not come into existence till a much later period. The word Vihâra, according to its etymological derivation, denotes a place where the Buddhists assembled; and it is in this sense that this term is used in the Sûtras, or books considered to contain the words of Sâkyamuni, which always begin thus: "When Sâkya happened to be (viharati sma) at a place;"

{p. 151}

but later this name was applied to those houses in which the priests met, and where strangers and the ascetics (who went about collecting alms) found an asylum. The meaning of the word became more restricted still, and was subsequently given to monasteries only, or to those religious establishments, in which those who once enter them are bound to remain for life. It is impossible to determine exactly the various periods during which Vihâras took the form of meeting-houses or, later, of monasteries. In the Hînayâna books on discipline they are mentioned only as an appendix to the chapter on the seats, and they were probably erected later than the temples, the first of which is said to have been built in the period of Upagupta, who lived in the third century B.C. The violent attacks of the Brahmans must soon have convinced the Buddhist clergy of the advantages to be derived from association; rules were then drawn up for life in community and for subordination, and the beginning of monastic institutions was thus made, which latter were, however, in India, even in their final perfection, widely different from those of Tibetan monachism at the present day. In earlier times each Vihâra had its own administration and its own chief, and was independent of the others; and it was so even in the seventh century, when Hiuen Thsang resided in India; a hierarchy so thoroughly organized as we now find in Tibet, was never. known in India.[1]

[1. See Burnouf,,introduction," pp. 232 seq., 279 seq., 286; Hardy, "Eastern Monachism," Chapter III., IV., XIII.; Wassiljew, "Der Buddhismus," pp. 45, 96. Compare also Barthélmy St. Hilaire, "Le Bouddha {footnote p. 152} et sa religion," p. 299. Wilson, "Buddha and Buddhism," p. 251. The principal cave temples were probably excavated in the period from the commencement of the Christian era to the fifth century after it. It needs hardly be added that the sacred books which represent Sâkyamuni himself to have felt the necessity of instituting head priests are interpolated.]

{p. 152}

Hierarchical System.

The first organisation of the Tibetan clergy dates from King Thisrong de tsan (728-86 A.D.), of whom the Bodhimör says that "he gave the clergy a fir m constitution and divided it into classes."[1] But the development of the present hierarchical system, which was independent of these ancient institutions, dates from the fifteenth century. In 1417 the famous Lama Tsonkhapa founded the Gáldan monastery at Lhássa, and became its superior; the great authority and reputation he had enjoyed, devolved upon his successors in the abbotship of this monastery, who, down to the present day, are believed to have been men of particular sanctity. But these abbots were soon superseded in influence by the Dalai Lama[2] at Lhassa (now the highest in rank of the Tibetan priesthood), and by the Panchen Rinpoche at Tashilhúnpo,[3] who are both considered to be of divine

[1. Schmidt, "Ssanang Ssetsen," p. 356; comp. p. 67.

2. Dalai Lama is the title which the Mongolians give to him; Dalai is a Mongolian word meaning ocean, Lama or correctly blama, is the Tibetan word for a superior. Schott, "Ueber den Buddhaismus in Hochasien," p. 32. The Europeans became familiar with this term from the work's of Georgi, Pallas and Klaproth.

3. Tashilhúnpo, or in exact transliteration: "bkhra shis lhun po," is the neighbouring city of chiefly ecclesiastical establishments, about a mile to the south east of Digárchi, "the four-housed (top?)" (in Tibetan written bzhi-ka-rtse, in Nevari zhi-kha-chhen), the capital of the province Tsang, of Chinese Tibet. See the map of Turner, "Embassy;" Hooker, "Himalayan Journals," Vol. II., pp. 125, 171. Hodgson, "Aborigines of the Nilgiris." Journ. As, Soc. Beng., Vol. XXV., p. 504.]

{p. 153}

origin, and are, consequently, regarded more in the light of gods than of mortal beings. This assumed divine origin gives them a character totally different from that of the Pope of the Roman Catholic church; but then, on the other hand, neither of them has such a widely-spread acknowledged supremacy as that enjoyed by the Pope of Rome.

The Dalai Lama is viewed as an incarnation of the Dhyâni Bôdhisattva Chenresi, who is supposed to effect his re-incorporation by a beam of light which issues from his body and enters the individual whom he selects for his re-descent.[1] The Panchen Rinpoche is considered to be an incarnation of Chenresi's celestial father, Amitâbha.[2] There is a story relating that Tsonkhapa himself had ordered his two principal disciples to take upon themselves a mortal form in an uninterrupted series of rebirths, and to watch over the propagation of, the Buddhist faith and the maintenance of its purity;[3] and according to this account, it was Tsonkhapa who created these two principal clerical dignities. But we learn from Csoma's Chronological Tables, that Gedun Grub (born 1389 A.D. died 1473) was the first, who assumed the title of Gyelva Rinpoche, "His precious Majesty," which is applied to the Dalai Lama only; Gedun Grub is, therefore, to be considered the first Dalai Lama, and not the Dharma Rinchen, the successor of Tsonkhapa in the chair of the Gáldan monastery. In the year 1445 he

[1. "Description da Tubet," Nouv. Journ. Asiatique 1830, p. 239. Comp. p. 88.

2. See about the dogma of Dhyâni Buddhas and Bôdhisattvas, p. 51.

3. "Arbeiten der russ. Mission in Peking," Vol. I, p. 316.]

{p. 154}

also built the large monastery of Tashilúnpo, whose abbots assumed the title of Panchen Rinpoche, "the great teacher-jewel," and who claimed with much success the same divine nature and temporal power as that till then enjoyed by the Dalai Lama alone. He shares an equal authority and sovereignty as the Dalai Lama, but in ecclesiastical affairs, even in his own territories, his words are considered less divine, his faculties inferior to those of the Dalai Lama.

The fifth Gyelva Rinpoche, Ngagvang Lobzang Gyamtso, a most ambitious man, sent to the Koshot Mongolians, who had settled in the environs of the lake Kuku Nor, and requested their assistance against the Tibetan king then residing at Digárchi, with whom he was at war. The Mongolians conquered Tibet, and are said to have made a present of the same to Ngagvang Lobzang. This event took place in the year 1640, and it is from this moment that we must date the extension of the temporal government of the Dalai Lamas over all Tibet.'

The Dalai Lamas are elected by the clergy, and up to the year 1792 these elections had taken place uninfluenced by the Chinese government; but since this time the court of Pekin, to whom the Dalai Lama is a very important personage in a political as well as a religious point of view, has taken care that the sons of such persons

[1. Csoma, "Grammar," pp. 192, 198. Ritter, "Asien," Vol. III., pp. 274-86. Köppen, "Die Rel. d. Buddha," Vol. II., pp. 129-52. Cunningham, "Ladak," p. 389, has understood Csoma's account as if in the year 1640 the first Dalai Lama had been established, but Csoma decidedly only alludes to the uniting of the temporal government with his ecclesiastical sovereignity. {sic}]

{p. 155}

only as are known for their loyality {sic} and fidelity shall be elected to this high dignity.[1]

The next in rank to these sublime Lamas are the superiors of several larger monasteries, of whom some are considered as incarnations, others as common mortals; in either case head Lamas of so high a rank are styled Khanpos.[2] My brothers saw Khanpos at the monasteries of Láma Yúru in Ladák, and at Thóling, in Gnári Khórsum. They were natives of Lhássa, and had been appointed by the Dalai Lama's government for periods of from three to six years, at the expiration of which time they would return to Lhássa. The abbots in smaller monasteries are elected for life by the monks; but the election has to be submitted for approval to the Dalai Lama, who can either sanction or reject it.

Other persons superior in rank to the common monks are the Budzad, the superintendent of the choral songs and music during the divine service; and the Gebkoi, who has to maintain discipline and order. These dignitaries are also elected by the monks, and constitute, with the abbot, the council which regulates the affairs of the monastery. Some other dignities which are occasionally

[1. Compare for details Hue, "Souvenirs," Vol. I., p. 292. Köppen, 1. c., p. 247.

2. In Bhután the incarnated Khanpos had profited by political circumstances to make themselves independent of the Dalai Lama. The relations between the ruler of Bhután proper, the Dharma Rinpoche (called by the Hindus Dharma Râja), and Lhássa seem to be very loose; and the abbots of the monasteries in the southern valleys have also set up principalities almost independent of the Dharma Rinpoche. These Lamas, styled Lama Rajas by Hermann's companions, are very jealous of their power, and endeavoured most energically {sic} to prevent Hermann from entering Bhután, by abducting his servants.]

{p. 156}

found in larger monasteries are mere posts of honour, having no direct influence upon the administration.[1]

The title of Lama, written in Tibetan blama, is applied by right to the superior priests only; but just as the Arabic word Sheikh, and other titles of honour and rank in European languages, so also the word Lama has come to be regarded as a title which courtesy requires one to give to every Buddhist priest.[2]

A particular class of Lamas are the astrologers, the Tsikhan (occasionally also styled Kartsi-pa, or Chakhan = fortune-teller, Ngagpa = one expert in charms), who are allowed to marry and to wear a peculiar phantastic dress. These people are professional fortune-tellers, who are officially authorized to conjure and to exorcise evil spirits, on behalf of and to the profit of the clergy. Common tricks, such as vomiting fire, swallowing knives, &c., are not openly practised, nor would they be allowed, though in other things these conjurers are permitted to play upon the credulity of the ignorant multitude to any extent, and derive as much profit therefrom, as they can. The instruments which they most frequently employ in their incantations, are an arrow and a triangle upon which supposed talismanic sentences are inscribed.[3] Amongst these astrologers, the Lamas called Choichong, who are said to be all educated at the Garmakhyá monastery at

[1. Compare Pallas, "Mongol. Völker," Vol. II., pp. 117-37. Hue, "Souvenirs," p. 297.

2. Compare Hardy, "Eastern Monachism," p. 11. Gerard, "Koonawur," p. 119, states that he heard the head priests of the monasteries styled Gelong or Guru.

3. For particulars concerning certain ceremonies in which these things are used, see Chapter XV.]

{p. 157}

Lhássa, enjoy the greatest reputation, because the god Choichong, or Choichong gyalpo, is supposed to become incorporated in one of the Lamas belonging to this monastery as often as he descends upon earth. His re-descent becomes manifest by the frequency of miraculous deeds performed by a Lama, who is then considered as the favourite instrument chosen by king Choichong. He soon becomes the object of universal worship, which is most lucrative to the monastery; for Buddhists from all parts of High Asia come as pilgrims to Lhássa to receive his benediction; and they consider themselves happy if the valuable presents they offer as an equivalent, are accepted by the incarnate Choichong.--In the monasteries beyond Tibet Choichong astrologers are not frequent; and though the images of king Choichong are met with in most monasteries of Western Tibet and the Himálaya, my brothers never saw a Lama Choichong.[1]

The god Choichong is but one of the "five great kings," in Tibetan Ku. nga gyalpo. These five mythological persons are considered to protect man most efficaciously against the evil spirits and enable him also to attain the accomplishment of every wish. Their names are Bihar gyalpo; Choichong gyalpo; Dalha gyalpo; Luvang gyalpo; Tokchoi gyalpo. Of Bihar I know particularly that he has chosen the protection of monasteries

[1. Compare 'Description du Tubet," Nouv. Journ. As., Vol. IV., pp. 240, 293. The offerings which are the most agreeable to these kings, and the conditions under which they are to be presented, are detailed in the Tibetan book entitled Ku nga gyalpoi kang shag, "to make confession to the live great kings." Of Choichong in particular treats the book Prulku choichong chenpoi Kang shag 'to make confession to the incarnation of the great Choichong."]

{p. 158}

and religious establishments; of Dalha that he is the tutelary god of warriors. The images of the five gods are very generally met with in temples and in the private praying-room of laymen: amulet-boxes also not unfrequently contain such representations. They are also added to an image of the thirty-five Buddhas of confession (see p. 97), in which they are drawn riding phantastic animals. Bihar is riding a red tiger; Choichong a yellow lion; Dalha a yellow horse (Khyang); Luvang, the god of the Nâgas (see p. 31), a blue crocodile; Tockchoi a yellow deer. In other pictures, in which one of these gods is the principal object, this very one is drawn on a larger scale than the surrounding figures. Such a picture, bought by Adolphe at Mángnang, in Gnári Khórsum, shows Choichong extremely fat and three-headed, riding a white lion with a blue mane; the figure is surrounded by flames." His-side heads are blue and crimson, the central one is, like the body, of flesh-colour. His broad hat and some arms, the symbols of his activity, are gilt; his dress is a tiger's skin; of which the feet are tied round his neck. In the upper part of the picture various domestic animals are sketched, alluding to the great merit to be derived from consecrating to him an animal, which then is no more allowed to be killed for private use, but after some time is delivered to the Lamas, who may eat it. Below him are traced three other defenders of man against the mischievous spirits, viz.: Damchan dorje legpa, riding on a camel; Tsangpa, in Sanskrit Brahma (see p. 114), riding a ram; Chebu damchan, riding a goat.

{p. 159}

Organization of the clergy.

The principles of its Constitution. The number of observances to be followed, at the present day, by the Lamas, has increased, from precepts plain and brief, to an ample code of laws, which contains two hundred and fifty rules, in Tibetan Khrims: they are detailed in the first, or Dulva division of the Kanjur, and have been explained in the well-known works of Hardy and Burnouf.[1] But of this mass of precepts, I direct the attention chiefly to those of celibacy and poverty (which Tsonkhapa enacted anew), because they have been of great importance in forming the present character of the Tibetan priesthood.

The violation of the ordinance of celibacy, or even sexual intercourse, is severely punished; nevertheless it is not unfrequent, particularly in the case of Lamas who do not live in the monasteries. Besides, we know of two instances in which, from considerations of public interest, the Dalai Lama has granted indulgences to marry to Lamas of royal pedigree. The one instance is reported by Dr. Campbell, who says that a prince of Síkkim obtained this permission; another analogous case is noticed by Moorcroft concerning the Râja of Ladák.[1] The vow of

[1. Hardy, "Eastern Monachism," London 1850. Burnouf, "Introduction," pp. 234-335. Comp. Csoma's "Analysis," in As. Res., Vol. XX., p. 78.

2. Journ. As. Soc. Beng., Vol. XVIII., p. 494. Travels, Vol. I., p. 334. There is a sect in Chinese Tíbet which P. Hilarion calls Sa zsya; it allows its priests to marry, and to beget a son, whereupon they abandon their wives and retire into the monasteries. "Arbeiten der russ. Mission," Vol. I., p. 314.]

{p. 160}

poverty is one of those institutions which seriously affect the public welfare in Tibet, as the monks, so very numerous in every Buddhist country, have to live from the contributions of the lay population. Though the single Lama who has renounced the world is not allowed to possess any thing besides the articles permitted by the code of discipline, the Lama convents may possess landed property, houses, and treasures, and its members may enjoy the abundance of its well-filled store-houses.

The revenues are derived from the collecting of alms, from voluntary offerings, from the remunerations for the performance of sacred rites, from the rents of properties, and even from commercial enterprises.

Alms are more particularly collected at harvest time, when a number of Lamas are deputed to visit the villages for the purpose of begging for grain. When Hermann was at Hímis (in Sept. 1856) more than one half of the Lamas were out in the country. Of voluntary offerings the most considerable are those presented to an. incarnated Lama, or given at the annual festivals.[1] The greater number of smaller ones are obtained by those monasteries. Situated along the principal passages over the mountains, as it is the custom for every traveller to repeat some prayers in the temples he meets with, and to leave a small present. The remunerations for attending at births, marriages, illnesses, death, &c., are generally regulated by the officiating priest himself in proportion to the means of those requiring their service. These consist generally in natural products, which appear

[1. See an example in Turner's Embassy, p. 345.]

{p. 161}

to be given in advance.[1] The landed property, which is sometimes even very considerable, is either tilled by the dependents, or is let at a high price. The making and selling of images, charms, &c., is another source of considerable income for every Lama; their trading with wool, and in Eastern Tibet with musk, is mentioned by several travellers.[2]

Grades amongst the Lamas. In Tibet the clergy, besides living at the public expense, are also in most districts free from taxes[3] and contributions for public works; and it is on account of these and other advantages that the condition and dignity of a Lama are every where so sought after. It is the custom in Eastern, as well as in Western Tibet, to make the elder son of a family a Lama, and restrictive regulations, analogous to those mentioned in the ancient religious books, seem to have lost their force; for all travellers report that any one can become a member of the religious order; the only restriction I know of is this, that in Bhután the father who wishes his son to be received as a novice must ask the permission of the Deba and the Dharma Raja, and pay a fee of 100 Deba rupees.[4] When any one declares his wish to enter the priesthood, or when he desires to make his son a Lama, the faculties of the novice are examined. In most cases the novices

[1. As an instance of this custom I mention the ceremonies connected with the driving away of the evil spirits from the burial-ground (see chapter XV., No. 9). See also Hue, "Souvenirs," Vol. II., p. 121.

2. See Turner, l. c., pp. 200, 312. Moorcroft, "Travels," Vol. II., p. 61; "Mansarsur Lake," As. Res., Vol. XII., p. 432.

3. In Ladák, however, the monasteries its such are taxed with considerable sums by the Kashmir government; Cunningham, "Ladak," p. 273.

4. Pemberton, "Report;" p. 118. Burnouf, "Introduction," p. 277. Turner, "Embassy," p. 170 Moorcroft, "Travels," Vol. I., p. 321.]

{p. 162}

are boys, and if they are found intelligent enough, they are allowed to take the vows (Tib. Dom), viz. to observe the religious duties connected with the priesthood; and then they become "candidates for orders," Genyen (an equivalent to the Sanskrit Upâsaka).[1] The Lamas who have charge of the instruction of the novices, seem not always to treat their scholars well, for several travellers have witnessed rudeness and even cruelty in punishments.[2] The grade next to the Genyen is that of Getsul; an ordinated priest is styled a Gelong; the grades are conferred by a council, before which the candidate has to prove in a public disputation his experience in the sciences he has been taught hitherto.[3]

Women are also allowed to embrace the monastic life, and we read of female mendicants, the Bhikshunîs, who have devoted themselves already in the earliest youth of Buddhism with the permission of the founder to an ascetic life. The nuns are styled Gelong-ma in Tibetan; in Western Tibet, however, and in the Himálaya they cannot be very numerous, for my brothers never saw any great number of them.[4]

The clergy are monastic; the greater part of the priests reside in monasteries, others are allowed to live as clergymen in the villages for the convenience of the population, who so frequently require their assistance.

[1. See p. 149.

2. See Dr. Hooker, "Himalayan Journals," Vol. II., p. 93. Hue, "Souvenirs," Vol. I., p. 299.

3. Compare p. 21.

4. Burnouf, "Introduction," p. 278. Hardy, "Eastern Monachism," p. 150. Gerard, "Kanawur," p. 120, was told that it is mostly the ugliest women who, having but little chance of getting husbands, retire to convents.]

{p. 163} Hermits also, are not rare: they inhabit the highest parts of the valleys, and live from the charity of passersby. It is characteristic of them that they allow the hair and beard to grow; and the custom. is so general that the typical representation of a hermit is always that of a man with long uncut hair and beard. Each chooses a particular rite, and believes he derives from the frequent practice of the same supernatural assistance. A rite very often selected, though I am unable to state for what reason, is that of Chod, "to cut, or destroy," the meaning of which is anxiously kept a profound secret by the Lamas. The recluses are believed to be exposed to repeated attacks on the part of the evil spirits, the enemies of earnest and assiduous meditation; but the beating of a drum is regarded as a most efficacious means of keeping them at a distance.[1]

On certain days those isolated Lamas, the village priests as well as anachorites, {sic} are required to revisit the respective

[1. See Moorcroft, "Mansaraur." As. Res., Vol. XII., pp. 458, 465. Their living in seclusion is also alluded to by the name of Rikhrodpa, which means "one who lives on or amongst hills," and also "a hermit." Csoma and Schmidt's Dictionaries. In pictorial representations of a recluse a drum is a frequent object in one of his hands, while the other very generally holds a cord, typifying the wisdom granted him by the deity as a reward for his strong mind and perseverance.--With reference to the encouragement given by Buddhism in its early days to anachoretism, I wish to remark (see also p. 6, 150) that Sâkyamuni himself, as well as all the founders and supporters of the various systems of Buddhism, urgently exhorted to energy in the practise of meditation, as the most efficacious means of becoming emancipated from existence; and that they recommended for these religious exercises the choice of out-of-the-way places little likely to be visited by any one in pursuit of worldly pleasure or gratification. Sâkyamuni himself had set the example by retiring to remote places previous to obtaining the Buddhaship, and it was not only duly followed by his early adherents, but is also practised by the modern Tibetans.]

{p. 164}

monasteries to which they belong; and they are punished if they fail to present themselves to submit to this sort of control. In every monastery there is a list of all the monks forming part of the clerical community.[1]

Number of Lamas. With reference to the number of Lamas I here present the following data.

For Eastern Tibet Dr. Campbell gives a list of twelve principal convents at Lhássa and in its vicinity, inhabited by a total of 18,500 Lamas.[2] Surprising as this number is, it is far from representing the entire number of Lamas spread over all the country of Eastern Tibet.

In Western Tibet Cunningham has estimated the lay population of Ladák, at 158,000, the Lamas at 12,000,[2] which gives one Lama to every thirteen laymen. In Spíti the lay population was computed by Major Hay, in 1845, to number 1414, the Lamas 193, or about one Lama to seven laymen.[3]

For the Buddhist countries of the Eastern Himálaya I can give no numbers at all, but only offer some general remarks. In Bhután, the number of Lamas in proportion to the lay population in extremely great. In Tassisúdon (bkra-shis-chhos-grong, the holy town of the doctrine) 1,500 to 2,000 live in the palace of the Dharma Raja alone; and their number must be considered as one of the chief causes of the poverty of the inhabitants. Pemberton

[1. Compare Moorcroft "Travels," Vol. I., p. 339. Pemberton, "Report," p. 117. Hue, "Souvenirs," Vol. I., p. 208. Schmidt, in Win. de l'Acad. de Petersb., Vol. I., p. 257.

2. "Notes on Eastern Tibet," in the Journal of the As, Soc. Beng., 1855, p. 219.

3 Cunningham, "Ladak," p. 287. "Report on the valley of Spíti," in the Journal of the Am. Soc. of Beng., Vol. XIX., p. 437.]

{p. 165}

says that the expenses for the maintainance of this privileged class have repeatedly been made the subject of earnest discussion.[1] In Síkkim also the monasteries and Lamas are described by Hooker as being very numerous and influential.[2]

For comparison I add some data for countries beyond the limits of High Asia. Amongst the Kalmuks it was calculated, when Pallas visited their country in the last century, that there was one lama to every 150 to 200 tents.[3]

In the environs of Pekin there are about 80,000 Buddhist monks.[4]

Ceylon has about 2,500 priests, a number which gives for a total population of two millions one priest to 800.

In Bérma there is one priest to every thirtieth soul.

Occupations. The monks, notwithstanding the religious duties they have to perform, would have plenty of time for the cultivation of larger tracts of land; but the only thing they do in this way is to keep in the best possible condition the gardens surrounding their monasteries, which greatly contribute to their support and comfort: these same gardens are also very often the only places for miles round where fruit-trees, chiefly apricots, are met with. In general the Lamas are an idle Set of people, disinclined to either bodily or mental exertion, the

[1. Turner, "Embassy" p. 83. Pemberton, "Report," p. 117.

2 "Himalayan Journals," Vol. I., p. 313.

3 Pallas "Reisen," Vol. I., p. 557. (French edition).

4. Wassiljew, "Der Buddhismus," p. 18.

5. The data for Ceylon and Bérma are taken from Hardy, "Eastern Monachism," p. 309. Compare p. 11 about the census of Ceylon.]

{p. 166}

majority passing the greater part of the day in revolving prayer-cylinders, or counting the beads of rosaries, though occasionally some are found who are very skilful in carving blocks of wood and making images of gods, as well as in painting and sculpture. The cleverest Lamas, however, as my brothers were frequently told, are generally summoned to Lhássa.[1] Although every Lama can read and write, yet these accomplishments form no favourite occupation among them; and with reference to the slowness of their mode of writing, I may mention that the Lama who copied the document concerning Hímis (see p. 183) spent about six hours over it. The illiterateness of the Lamas has often been regretted. Many were asked for an explanation of the six-syllabic prayer Om mani padme hum, of whose magical influence upon the welfare of man so many religious books treat; and it was not till after repeated inquiries that at last a satisfactory answer was obtained. Schmidt was much surprised at the answers which the Nepalese Buddhists gave Hodgson. "A Tibetan or Mongolian Lama," he says, "would not have answered his questions so well." Both Csoma and Huc have observed that the Lamas are not very well acquainted with their sacred literature; Huc says that they excuse their ignorance by urging the profoundness of their religion; and again: "a Lama who knows Tibetan and Mongolian is styled a sage, or wise

[1. Compare Turner, "Embassy," p. 316. The activity of the Ladaki Lamas in the cultivation of land, which Moorcroft, "Travels," Vol. I., p. 340, notices, is actually confined to their gardens.--There was a very skilful carver in wood residing in Spíti at the time of Trebeck's visit to that province, and his works are highly praised by this traveller.]

{p. 167}

man; and if he has also a slight knowledge of Chinese and Mandshu literature, he is viewed as of more than human nature."[1] My brothers also were often puzzled by the confused answers they received from the Lamas to any questions either on natural phenomena, or concerning their religion or history. The Lamas always preferred talking about matters connected with mystical theology and it was a comparatively easy affair to obtain from them explanations of the supposed magical properties of particular charms.

The Diet of the Lamas is that usual in the country.[2] They may eat whatever is offered them in alms, but are not allowed to drink intoxicating liquors: these are, however, taken under the pretext of "being medicine."[3] Animal food is not forbidden, Sâkyamuni himself is said in Singhalese legends to have died from eating pork,[4] but it is considered as an impediment to the attainment of perfection, as man should view all animated beings as his brethern and relations, and not kill them; there is

[1. Mém. de l'Acad. de Petersb., Vol. I., p. 93. Csoma, Journ. As. Sec. Beng., Vol. VII., p. 14. Hue, "Souvenirs," Vol. I., pp. 56, 299.. Compare also Turner, "Embassy," p. 31.6.

2. About the food of the Tibetans in general, see Turner, "Embassy," pp. 24, 48, 82, 126, 129, 136, 195, 220, 245, 343. Pemberton, "Report," p. 156. Moorcroft, "Travels," Vol. I., pp. 182, 208, 232, 243, 291, 309, 328-332; Vol. II., p. 77; "Mansaraur," As. Res., Vol. XII., pp. 394, 396, 444, 446, 486. Hue, "Souvenirs," Vol. II., p. 258. Cunningham, "Ladak," p. 305.

3. Wassiljew, "Der Buddhismus," p. 94. Moorcroft, "Travels," Vol. II., p. 12, remarks, that he saw at Láma Yúru the Lámas take Chong, the national liquor, during their religious service. Also the fermented drink of the Lepchas, made of millet, is taken in great quantities by the Lamas in Síkkim.

4. Hardy, "Eastern Monachism," p. 92. In the Tibetan biographies he is reported to have died from affection of the spine. Schiefner, "Tibet, Lebensbeschreibung." Mém. des Savants étrangers. Vol. VI., p. 292.]

{p. 168}

even a proverb which says--"To eat flesh is equal to eating one's relations."[1] Laymen, however, eat meat of any kind: according to my brother Robert, however, they abstain--in Spíti at least--from partaking of fish, although no satisfactory reason could be alleged by them for their so doing. In order that the monks may not inordinately indulge their appetite for meat, there exist a great many regulations; on certain days no animal food whatever is allowed; the monks are also obliged to abstain from it as often as confession is made, as also at those periods when very sacred religious ceremonies are performed.

The principal food consists in rice, wheat, or barley, flour, milk, and tea. The rice is boiled or roasted; the flour is mixed with milk and tea, or formed into unleavened cakes and seasoned with salt. Such cakes ]have a taste similar to, that of the unleavened bread of the Jews. The tea is made in two different ways; first as an infusion with hot water, as in Europe, and this preparation is called Cha-chosh "tea water;"[2] secondly in a very peculiar manner, which I will describe in detail from a a {sic} recipe obtained by my brothers at Leh:--

The tea--loosened brick-tea,--is mixed with nearly half its volume of soda, in Tibetan called Phuli. The mixture is then thrown into a kettle filled with the necessary quantity of cold water, the proportion varying

[1. Comp. Wassiljew, 1. c., p. 134.

2. This and the following terms, Phuli and Gurgur, do not occur in the dictionaries.

3. Brick tea is the commercial name of this peculiar kind of tea; it refers to its having a form not unlike that of a brick. It obtains its shape and at the same time its consistency by being pressed into a form.]

{p. 169}

as in our mode of making tea. When the water is about to boil. the mixture of tea leaves and soda is stirred, an operation continued four to six minutes after the boiling of the water. The kettle is then removed from the fire and the tea is filtered through a cloth into a round, wooden cylinder about three to four inches in diameter and two to three feet high; the tealeaves are generally considered as useless and are thrown away. The tea is vigorously querled in a wooden tub (called in Tibetan Gurgur), like chocolate; a large amount of clarified butter is then added (generally double the quantity of the brick tea), and some salt; when the operation of querling is continued. Finally the tea is again thrown into a kettle, mixed with milk, and heated anew, as it has generally greatly cooled down during all the operations just described. This tea, called "Cha," strongly resembles a kind of gruel and is taken, together with meat or pastry, at dinner or Supper; but it is not allowed to be taken during the performance of religious ceremonies, when tea-water alone, Cha-chosh, is handed round as refreshment.[1]

On certain occasions the Lamas give grand dinners. To one of them my brother Robert was invited at Leh; it had been arranged in honour of the visit of a high Lama from Lhássa. Tea was given in the place of soup, and was handed round all dinner time. A particular honour was shown to the guests by care being taken that their

[1. An yet thin brick tea is used almost exclusively, though it is to be hoped that the exertions of the Indian Government to introduce tea grown in the Himálaya and in Assam into Tibet will ere long meet with success.]

{p. 170}

cups should never become quite empty. There were various kinds of meat, some roasted, some boiled, and even some as a kind of pie. No wine was served, but the cooking was really much superior to that generally met with in the country, and much better than could have been expected. On inquiry Robert learned that the dinner had been cooked by the high priest's own cook, whom he had brought with him from Lhássa.

Dress. The original precepts laid down by Sâkyamuni for regulating the dress of the priests had been well adapted to the warm climate of India; later, however, when his faith extended over more northerly and, consequently, rougher climates, he himself is said to have allowed the use of warmer clothing, of stockings, shoes, &c. The principal advantage of dress, as taught by Sâkyamuni, is to cover the shame of the priest; besides which, it has also other benefits, such as protection from the cold and the attacks of mosquitoes, &c., things which cause disturbance of the mind.[1]

The various parts of the dress of a Tibetan Lama are: a cap or hat, a gown, an inner vest, trousers, a cloak, and boots.[2]

Caps and hats. The caps are made of double felt or cloth, between which are put charms; in the rainy

[1. Hardy, "Eastern Monachism," Chapter XII.

2. In the Himálaya districts and in Western Tibet the predominant colour of the objects of dress is a more or less brillant {sic} red; yellow is met with among the sects enumerated p. 72--About the dress in general notices are also found in Turner, "Embassy," pp. 32, 86, 242, 314. Moorcroft, "Travels," Vol. I., p. 238. Pemberton, "Report," pp. 108, 153. Dr. Campbell, in the Journ. of the As. Soc. of Bengal, Vol. XVIII, p. 499. Hue, "Souvenirs," Vol. II., p. 141. Cunningham, "Ladak," p. 372.]

{p. 171}

districts of the Himálaya the Lamas wear during the summer large hats of Straw. The shape of the caps varies considerably, but it is curious that they are all of Chinese or Mongolian fashion, whilst the form of the: robes has been adopted from the Hindus. The mode of salutation is also the Chinese as the Tibetans always take. off their hat, whilst the Hindus, as a sign of reverence, approach their masters not bare-headed, but bare-footed. Most of the caps are conical, with a large lap, which is generally doubled up, but is let down over the ears in cold weather (see plate XVI. where the laps are let down). The head Lamas wear a particular sort of cap, generally low and conical, similar to those worn by Padma Sambhava[1] and mythological deified persons of particular influence upon man's welfare, as King Bihar; this form is called Nathongzha. Some head-priests of' Western Tibet have an hexagonal hat formed of pasteboard, and showing four steps diminishing towards the top; or in some cases a kind of mitre of red cloth ornamented with flowers of gold worked in the stuff. This latter kind of cap bears a remarkable resemblance to the mitres of Roman Catholic bishops. Occasionally, if the weather allows it, the Lamas in Eastern Tibet, in Bhután and also in Síkkim, go bare-headed.

The gown reaches to the calves and is fastened round the waist by a slender girdle; it has an upright collar and is closely buttoned. up at the neck. In Síkkim the Lamas occasionally wear, slung round the shoulders, a kind of red and yellow striped woollen stole. In general

[1. See the plates in Hooker, "Himalayan Journals," Vol. I., p. 328.]

{p. 172}

the gown has sleeves, except in the Bhután Duárs, a country where the mean temperature does not go down even in the coldest mouth, in January, below 22 or 18 Fahrenheit.

The inner vest has no sleeves, and reaches to the haunches. It is not at all cut to the form of the body of the individual but hangs down quite straight. In Ladák, most of the Lamas wear it over the gown instead of underneath.

###

The trousers are fastened to the waist by a sort of lace running in a drawing hem. The two legs are equidistant throughout, also in their inner side, as in Fig. a, and not in b. During the winter the trousers are worn over the larger gown as a better protection against the cold. In Bhután the Lamas, according to Turner,[1] wear, instead of trousers, philibegs hanging down nearly as far as the knee.

The cloak, in Tibetan Lagoi, "the upper garment," is the distinctive ecclesiastical dress of the monks, in which also the Buddhas, Bôdhisattvas and sacred Lamas are represented. It is a long but narrow shawl of wool or sometimes even of silk, ten to twenty feet long, and two

[1. "Embassy," p. 86-The wearing of trousers is a very ancient custom; see the most interesting and complete work of Weiss, "Kostümkunde," Vol. II., pp. 545-674, who gives many drawings in which the races who in ancient times inhabited Northern and Eastern Asia, are represented with trousers. It is altogether remarkable to see their dress but little differing from what they wear now.]

{p. 173}

to three feet broad; it is thrown over the left shoulder and passed under the right arm, so as to leave bare the right arm. Perhaps the custom of having the right arm uncovered may he explained from the rejection of the castes by Sâkyamuni; for the border of the shawl describes a line across the breast just as the triple cord does, which according to the laws of Menu, the three higher castes alone are allowed to wear; whilst the shawl had been worn by all priests, from whatever caste they may have sprung.[1]

The boots are made of stiff felt, either white or red, and are ornamented with perpendicular blue stripes. They reach up to the calves. The soles are of double-felt, sometimes furnished, besides, with a sole of leather. These soles form a very solid and unyielding support for the foot, protecting it very well against sharp stones, much better than do the shoes worn by the Turkistanis, the sole of which consists of thin leather only, which gives neither protection against the roughness of the ground nor support to the foot; the advantages of the Tibetan boots are, however, sometimes secured by thick felt-stockings.

My brothers have seen shoes in use but very rarely, and then only amongst the superiors of the monasteries.

To complete the description of the appearance of a Lama I have still to notice various smaller articles generally worn. From the girdle which keeps together

[1. Menu, Chapter II., pp. 42, 44. On ancient sculptures the Buddhas not unfrequently wear nothing but the three strings; see the drawings in Crawfurd's Archipelago, Vol. II., and in Foucaux's Rgya chher rol pa, Vol. II., Plate I.]

{p. 174}

the gown, hang a knife-case and several purses or little pockets containing various articles, such as a tooth-brush, a tongue-scraper and an ear-pick, steel and tinder, tabacco or betel-nut, dice used in foretelling future events; a prayer-cylinder and a Chinese metal pipe are also almost always to be found among the articles fastened to it.

The rosaries, in Tibetan Thengpa, indispensable instruments for counting the due number of prayers, are generally fastened to the girdle, or sometimes worn round the neck.[1] The beads amount to 108, which answer to the number of the volumes of the Kanjur; but most of those used by the lay population have a much smaller number of beads, about thirty to forty. The beads are of wood, pebbles, or bones of holy Lamas; the latter have a very high price; the rosaries of the head Lamas are not unfrequently of precious stones, particularly of nephrite (the Turkistani Yashem) and of turquoise. To most rosaries are fastened a pair of pinchers, needles, an ear-pick, and a small Dorje.[2]

The amulet-boxes, in Tibetan Gau~ (in the Lêpcha language of Síkkim Koro, and Kandum, if of wood), are likewise worn round the neck; and it is not unfrequent to see several fastened to the same string. Most of the

[1. Compare Pallas, "Reisen," Vol. I., p. 563. Turner, "Embassy," pp. 261, 336. I. J. Schmidt, "Forschungen," p. 168. While travelling the Lamas are loaded with many other objects. See Hooker, "Himalayan Journals," Vol. II., p. 142.

2. Pinchers are in use even amongst the rudest tribes, who go almost naked; for they need them to draw out thorns. I add as another instance of the ancient use of pinchers, that we have found them also in the oldest graves in the Franconian Hills, in Bavaria.]

{p. 175}

boxes are pointed, imitating the form of a fig-leaf; but they are also square or circular. The outside is either embossed or painted.

Wooden boxes are closed by a slide, which has not "frequently a space cut out to allow the image of the chosen tutelary god to be seen. Those of brass have the two parts fitting together like the cover and the lower part of boxes; but hinges are replaced by rings, of which one at least must be connected with each part. A string or a piece of leather can be passed through, and serves to hang up the object as well as to keep it together.

The things put into such cases are relies, images of deities, objects which are believed to be dreaded by the evil spirits, and charms.[1] I had occasion to examine the following different sorts:--

1. A square wooden box from Gyúngul, in Gnári Khórsum; the box was bound in brass. In the interior were carved on one side one of the goddesses Dolma (see p. 66), who are supposed to protect against emaciation, having on her left Chenresi (see p. 88) and Amitâbha (see p. 53) on her right. The opposite side shows Sâkyamuni with the same deities.

2. A leaf-shaped wooden box painted yellow, with red clouds. It contained a figure of Shinje (see p. 93) of tinted clay; at the bottom of the cue lay a little medal of hardened barley-paste representing Tsonkhapa

[1. Compare about the kind of charms, Csoma, "Journ. As. Soc. Beng.," Vol. IX., p. 905.]

{p. 176}

(see p. 69); it is half an inch in diameter, and was wrapped in paper covered with charms.

3. A circular box of brass with charms and a similar medal of Tsonkhapa, covered with gold paint.

4. Three conical brass boxes fastened to one string. The central box enclosed a gilt figure of Tsepagmed (= Amitâbha, see p. 129), who is supposed to grant longevity. Also a piece of copper formed to represent a thunderbolt was wrapped in a piece of red cloth as a protection from the effects of lightning. In the smallest box several slips of paper were covered with seals of the Dalai Lama printed in red, which are supposed to protect against death by drowning. I found there also grains of barley and earth. The third box contained several figures of Lha Dolma, and Tsonkhapa (all carefully wrapped in pieces of red silk) alternating with charm-papers.

The charms were all written in small characters, or running hand, but by the friction against the images and grains the papers had been almost reduced to loose fibres. All objects were strongly perfumed with musk, and had besides, like every sacred article fabricated in monasteries, an unpleasant greasy odour.[1]

[1. Drawings of the different sorts of rosaries, as well as of the amulet boxes described above, from originals obtained by my brothers, will be given in a plate accompanying the "Results of a Scientific Mission to India and High Asia."]

{p. 177}


Next: Chapter XII. Religious Buildings and Monuments