Dharmapala Thangka CentreTibetan Antiques

Tibetan Zanpars



Annotation: as mentioned above the texts belonging to the various forms are missing or did never even exist, only general statements van be made concerning Zanpar rituals.

A ceremony lasted one or two hours and should take place in the evening as after sunset was more probable that the demons would appear. The mantras that were sung come from an astrology book. The instruments used in the rituals were a Phurba [nail for demons], a Vajra [diamond scepter] were used to kill that demons that were pictured at the Torma. The various pictures on the Zanpar resemble the visual forms that which demons or ghosts assume in the dreams of people, even sometimes taken for real in the imaginations of the people. At the end of the ritual the Tormas that had been made by help of Zanpars were thrown in the middle of a way crossing. The demons came from all directions. When the Torma was dropped at a crossing it was secured that the demons were expelled in all directions.

These few hints offer a survey of the complexity of the rituals necessary to solve the various problems of the people such as illness, fate or curses. On a usual day they were many situations that hindered a strict observance of the rules and fulfillment of duties so that the tribute and admiration due to the demons could not be performed as demanded by the rules. So these demanded a compensation for the mistakes done. Therefore it was necessary to have a large assortment of Zanpars. For a part of the demons there were also other ghosts and spirits that would get angry in case of people not paying the respect done to them.

But also in friendly times with no conflicts with any spiritual beings it was advantageous to be on good terms with them.