Neichung – Buddhist oracle

As in many ancient civilizations of the world, the oracle is still an important part of Tibetan life. The people of Tibet rely on oracles for very different situations. The purpose of oracles is not only to predict the future. They are also protectors of the common people, and some of the oracles have healing powers. However, first of all, the oracles are called upon to protect the principles of Buddhism and their followers.

Generally in the Tibetan tradition, the word “oracle” is used to refer to the spirit that enters the bodies of mediums. These mediums live simultaneously in the world of reality and the world of spirits, and therefore can act as a bridge, a “physical shell” for the incoming spirit.

Many years ago, hundreds of oracles lived in the lands of Tibet. Currently, only a small number of oracles continue their work. The most important of all the oracles is Neichung, through which the guardian spirit of the Dalai Lama XIV Dorje Drakden speaks. In addition to protecting the Dalai Lama, Neichung is also an adviser to the entire Tibetan government. Therefore, he even holds one of the government positions in the hierarchy of the Tibetan government, which, however, is now in exile due to the situation with China.

The first mention of Neichung can be found in 750 AD, although there are versions that it existed earlier. Just like the search for a new Dalai Lama, the search for Neichung is a very important and complex process, because all Tibetans must be convinced that the chosen medium will be able to accept the spirit of Dorje Drakden. For this reason, various checks are arranged to confirm the chosen Neichung.

The method of discovering a new Neichung is different each time. So, in the Thirteenth Oracle, Lobseng Jigme, it all started with a strange illness that manifested itself at the age of 10. The boy began to walk in his sleep and he began to have seizures, during which he shouted something and spoke feverishly. Then, when he turned 14, during one of the trances, he began to perform the Dorje Drakden dance. Then, the monks of Neichung Monastery decided to conduct a test. They put Lobsang Jigme’s name with the names of other candidates in a small vessel and spun it around until one of the names fell out of the vessel. Each time it was the name of Lobseng Jigme, which confirmed his possible chosenness.

However, after finding a suitable candidate, checks begin each time. They are standard and consist of three parts:

· In the first task, which is considered the easiest, the medium is asked to describe the contents of one of the sealed boxes.

· In the second task, the future Oracle needs to make predictions. Each prediction is recorded. This task is considered very difficult, not only because it is necessary to see the future, but also because all the predictions of Dorje Drakden are always poetic and very beautiful. They are very difficult to fake.

· In the third task, the breathing of the medium is checked. It should carry the smell of nectar, which always accompanies the chosen ones of Dorje Drakden. This test is considered one of the most specific and clear.

Finally, the last sign revealing that the Dorje Drakden is indeed entering the body of the medium is a slight imprint of the special symbol of the Dorje Drakden, which appears on the head of the chosen one within a few minutes after leaving the trance.

As for the role of Neichung, it is difficult to overestimate it. Thus, the XNUMXth Dalai Lama, in his autobiography Freedom in Exile, speaks of Neichung as follows:

“For hundreds of years, it has become a tradition for the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government to come to Neichung for advice during New Year celebrations. In addition, I go to him to clarify some special issues. <...> This may sound strange to Western readers of the XNUMXth century. Even some “progressive” Tibetans don’t understand why I keep using this old method of enlightenment. But I do this for the simple reason that when I ask the Oracle a question, his answers always turn out to be true and prove it after a while.

Thus, the Neichung oracle is a very important part of Buddhist culture and the Tibetan understanding of life. This is a very ancient tradition that continues today.  

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