The ritual preceding the Cham—an offering of the Fifth Shamar’s abridged form of the Sixth Karmapa’s text Incinerating the Hostile—began at 11.00pm on the 24th February. Vigorous chanting accompanied by the beat of both large temple drums and hand-held drums, punctuated by a crescendo of cymbals, gyalins, great horns and the wailing of kanglins [thigh-bone trumpets] could be heard all night across the vast grounds of the Garchen, the Monlam Pavilion and Tergar Monastery. Finally, at 5.30am the ritual finished, exactly on time.
The stage was set for the next major event of the Gutor, the great Cham dance.
On one level this ritual dance, unique to Tibetan Buddhism and performed only by monastics, might seem a colourful spectacle set to a strange Read the rest of this article