The Nomadic Sacrifice
Author: Martino Nicoletti
Description: In the heart of the Himalayas, officiants belonging to Tibet’s ancient religion, Bon, undertake a long ritual pilgrimage through wild and inhospitable places inhabited by mountain deities, water genii, ferocious demons and dangerous ghosts. As the pilgrimage unfolds, having attracted the spirits’ attention with wildly provocative acts and evoking their presence by reciting a ritual text and the sound of magical musical instruments, the practitioners celebrate the meditative sacrifice of their own body (chod), offered to a whole host of invisible beings as spiritual nourishment during a singular ritual banquet. Texts, diary excerpts and photos recount this archaic ritual, deeply rooted in the notion of Universal Compassion and chiefly aimed at severing the practitioner’s attachment to his physical body and overcoming identification with his own illusory ego. The work is also enriched by the sacred ritual text The Secret Wisdom Dakini (Khandro Sangba Yeshe), translated for this volume by Geshe Gelek Jinpa, and by a DVD containing a short Super-8 film by the author, as well as the liturgical chod chant performed by the monks of the bonpo monastery Triten Norbutse in Nepal. ABOUT THE AUHTOR: Martino Nicoletti PhD (Perugia, 1968), ethnologist and visual artist, has been engaged in visual anthropology, visual arts and ethnography of southern and south-eastern Asia for over twenty years and has undertaken numerous field-work researches within the framework of projects funded by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the University of Perugia, the University of Rome II (Tor Vergata), Cambridge University and the University of the West of Scotland. He is the author of numerous books on the religions of the Himalayas, multimedia publications, photographic volumes and literary works. He lives in Glasgow.