Temples Pinning down the Demoness
Many metaphoric fables, most of them are about Buddhism's taming of Tibet, are the result of Buddhism's interaction with the pre-existing bon-- a shamanistic folk religion of spirits, ghosts and demons-- combined with the wild and inhospitable nature of the Tibetan terrain. Usually, the story of a vast, supine demoness whose body straddled all of the high plateau accompanies those early story of the introduction of Buddhism to Tibet.
The presence of this demoness was divined by the famous Princess Wencheng, who was the Chinese wife of King Songtsen Gampo. Considering the Chinese geomantic calcuulations, she established the form that the demoness's heart lay beneath a lake in the center of Lhasa, and in the far away place outer dominions of the high plateau lay her torso and limbs. Through the traditions of Tibetan fables, the demoness can be seen as a symbol of the physical hardships of Tibet, as well as the existing Bon clergy's hostility towards Buddhism. However, it is impossible for to both to root there without being tamed. As a result, people decided that the demoness would have to be pinned down.
People began by draining water from the lake in Lhasa. Then, a central temple, the Jokhang, should be built to replace the heart of the demoness with a Buddhist heart. Due to the large scale of the demoness, only a stake through the heart was not enough to soothe the demoness. For that purpose, people then put a series of lesser temples, all in three concentric rings, to pin the extremities of the demoness.
Totally four temples are there in each ring. Each of the four has something special. Known as the runo temples, the first kind of those temples form a protective circle around Lhasa. They can also pin down the demoness'hips and shoulders. Some famous temples belonging to this group are Trandruk Monastery in the Yarlung Valley and Katsel Monastery on the way to Drigung. The second group pin the knees and elbows of the demoness. They are known as the tandrul temples, among which is Buchu Monastery near Bayi in eastern Tibet. The temples pinning the hands and feet are the last group know as yandrul temples. We can found those temples in some place as far way as Bhutan and Sichuan. Unfortunately, the exact location of two of them still remains unknown. However, tourists can go to the Tibet Museum and see a representative image of the demoness and the temples pinning her down.
Copy right: Tibettravel.Org
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