This book provides a systematic study of the Tibetan charms and amulets, mantras and cakras that have afforded their wearers protection for centuries, and which remain a living tradition today. Drawing from indigenous works of the 19th century, the author illustrates and explains 109 amulets and their accompanying mantras, as well as 102 cakras, primarily associated with the Nyingma-pa and Bon traditions. The author also employs the amulets and cakras to reveal details of the myriad gods, demons and other supernatural beings—many incorporated into Buddhism from earlier belief systems—that comprise the Tibetan pantheon.
Thor's hammer, Fatimah's hand, the sacred scarab—all occupy an ambiguous position on the borderline between magic and religion. The use of charms and amulets is as timeless and universal as humankind's belief in supernatural beings and forces, invisible but nonetheless real elements of existence. So deeply rooted in the very fabric of human culture is this belief that it almost always survives even when organized religion decays or is destroyed, as the innumerable mascots decorating the front windows of cars all over the world so vividly testify.
Perhaps there are few cultures in which the use of charms and amulets plays a more conspicuous role than in Tibet. This book illuminates a fundamental aspect of the Tibetan view of the world. The charms and amulets reproduced here are from 2 works by Kong-sprul Blo-gros mtha'yas, one of the great scholars of Tibet.
Tadeusz Skorupski received his Ph.D. in Sanskrit and Tibetan Buddhist Literature from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and has done extensive research on Tibetan studies.