Phurba (Nepal)


A phurba from Nepal

Code CA9

This is a superb, old shaman Tibetan carved wooden phurba (phurbu, phurpa) from Nepal. Phurba a special ritual dagger that is use for transfixing demons in Tibetan Buddhism. It is considered an embodiment of a fierce Buddha deity (Vajra Kila). Vajra Manifests the adamantine wisdom of selflessness in the form of the stake of absolute transcendence, the only force capable of destroying, transmuting its powerful energy into the irresistible positive force of compassion. This Phurba measures 20cm long.  The Phurba is triple sided.  It is patterned after an ancient Vedic tool, a stake used to tether sacrificial animals.  The Phurba is used ritually to create stability and areas of protected space, often staked into the ground in circles prior to rituals.  Only one initiated into its use may possess a Phurba, all others are forbidden (I’m just holding on to it for the shaman until he comes along.)

Four Shamans in Nepal

Shamanism in Nepal is thought to date back some 50,000 years and the ancient healing traditions of shamanism are still taught in the Himalayan Mountains of Nepal, Bhutan, and Northern India. These ancient traditions, however, are being threatened by the spread of modern civilization that distracts young people from the traditional study of shamanism, which requires a sustained level of discipline. During the traditional shamanic ceremony, the costumed shaman, aided by traditional drum beats and dance, enters into a trance state in which he or she travels to seek the deities and spirits who assist in the healing work.

The revised role of the shaman is one involving the treatment and curing of illnesses that cannot be cured by Western medicines and doctors. This inability of modern medicine to cure is sometimes because of a total absence due to shortages in or difficulty in getting supplies knowledge, by talking with and asking questions of development workers, doctors, nurses, or clinic aids. There is always more to be learned whether it is the use of aspirin, boiling needles or a new chant or song that has specific effects on certain spirits. It is recognized that doctors cannot cure all illnesses.  Shamans are usually called upon to solve problems that stem from planetary alignments, witchcraft, and imbalance of hot and cold within an individuals body but may be asked to aid in more mundane illnesses and injuries as well.