Divining with Achi and Tārā

Comparative Remarks on Tibetan Dice and Mālā Divination: Tools, Poetry, Structures, and Ritual Dimensions


Divining with Achi and Tārā is a book on Tibetan methods of prognostics with dice and prayer beads (mālā). Jan-Ulrich Sobisch offers a thorough discussion of Chinese, Indian, Turkic, and Tibetan traditions of divination, its techniques, rituals, tools, and poetic language. Interviews with Tibetan masters of divination introduce the main part with a translation of a dice divination manual of the deity Achi that is still part of a living tradition. Solvej Nielsen contributes further interviews, a mālā divination of Tārā and its oral tradition, and very useful glossaries of the terminology of Tibetan divination and fortune telling. Appendices provide lists of deities and spirits and of numerous identified ritual remedies and supports that are an essential element of a still vibrant Tibetan culture.

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Jan-Ulrich Sobisch, formerly professor for Tibetan Studies at Copenhagen University, now researcher at the Ruhr-University Bochum, is best known for his work on Tibetan vow theories, Tibetan tantric transmissions, and his exploration of the dGongs gcig teachings of the Drikung Kagyü tradition.
Acknowledgments List of Illustrations Abbreviations
1 Introduction  1 Dice for Divination—One of Many Tools of Randomization  2 Poetry in the Prophecy  3 Chinese Buddhist Divination Poetry  4 Poetry in the Turkic Irk Bitig  5 Poetry in Turfan Fragments  6 Brief Poetical Elements in the Sanskrit Pāśakakevalī  7 Poetry in a Tibetan Dunhuang Divination Manual  8 Poetry in Mipham’s A ra pa tsa na  9 Structure and Nucleus of the Achi Mo  10 Poetry in the Achi Mo  11 More on the Divinations’ General Prognoses  12 The Detailed Prognoses and Their Categories  13 Ritual Remedies and Supports  14 Remedies in the Book of Consecration  15 Remedies in Tibetan Dunhuang Texts  16 Remedies in the Pāśakakevalī  17 Remedies in Later Tibetan Mo Texts  18 Ritual Proficiency
2 Interviews  1 Interview with Khenchen Nyima Gyaltsen Rinpoche  2 Interview with Lho Ontul Rinpoche
3 Translation of the Achi Mo  1 The Sādhana  2 Tibetan Text and Translation of the Divination Manual of Achi
4 Mālā Divination  1 Phreng Mo: A Popular Tibetan Way of Divining with a Mālā  2 Tibetan Text and Translation of the Divination Manual of Tārā  3 Interviews with Khenchen Nyima Rinpoche and Dorzin Dhondrup Rinpoche  4 Explanations from Khenchen Nyima Gyaltsen Rinpoche  5 Explanations from Dorzin Konchog Dhondrup Rinpoche  6 Some Variations and Similarities  7 Special Terminology of Tibetan Divination  8 Terminology of Fortune and Misfortune in Tibetan Buddhist Mo Divination
Appendix 1: Glossary of Deities and Spirits Appendix 2: Alphabetical List of Ritual Remedies and Supports Bibliography Index
All interested in divination techniques in general, and in particular in Tibetan prognostics (mo), poetry, and the ritual dimensions of divination and fortune.
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