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An Improbable Tibetan Ritual : bSang Purification by Fox (Wa bsang)

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Dans le cadre du Séminaire RITUELS
Le jeudi 2 avril à 17h
Daniel Berounsky (Charles University, Prague)

donnera une conférence au Collège de France, salle 1

52 rue du Cardinal Lemoine

An Improbable Tibetan Ritual : bSang Purification by Fox (Wa bsang)


The notion of ritual purity has an immense importance among the Tibetan societies in general and stems evidently from the early non-Buddhist religious views of Tibetans. From some early textual sources one can observe that there once existed number of rituals of purification (glud, sel, dug phyung, tshan, etc.) and that several were forming diverse traditions of the particular semi-mythical ritual specialists (gshen/ bon po). The most widespread purification ritual among Tibetans is the bsang fumigation. Such ritual consists mainly in burning fragrant plants, namely juniper. In such a light an existence of a ritual text describing the burning of fox as a bsang purification ritual seems to be somehow shocking. The paper will focus on the ritual text of Wa bsang with some detail. This ritual might demonstrate that the great variability of known purification rituals was reduced to a single unified form under the pressure of Buddhism-related norms.

Daniel Berounsky is Associated Professor at the Department of South and Central Asia, Faculty of Arts, Charles University of Prague. His published research touches the topics of Tibetan rituals and some cases of deity-mediums of Amdo.