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Records of the Customs




Primitive Religious Belief

    The daily life of Lhoba people, including marriage and death, are all connected with their belief in animism. They believe there are ghosts (souls) for beasts, mountains, trees etc. Lhoba people call all such ghosts "wuyong". They believe there are many kinds of Wuyong and Wuyong is in everywhere. They particularly worship the god of mountain. In their consciousness, everything is under the control of Wuyong. When they come back after hunting or traveling outside, they would first hold ceremonies to offer sacrifices such as chickens or wines to the god of mountain. Among the things worshipped by Lhoba people, they worship the earth and forest most. For all activities concerning cutting, soiling, planting, weeding and harvesting, they would hold ceremonies. Lhoba people believe that fierce animals such as tigers, panthers, bears, snakes or knives, the Sun and the Moon could all be used as the totem for their worshipping. By combining totem worshipping with myth, they created all kinds of religious activities.
    Lhoba people have no obvious religious belief, but they believe in ghosts and gods. Their minds are overshadowed by all kinds of ghosts and gods. Whatever is encountered, they would try to find a solution from fortunetellers. For the existences of floods, snowslides, earthquakes, mud-rock flows and epidemics, they call all of them "Wuyong", i.e.ghosts. Wuyong is everywhere. The daily life of the Lhoba people, in many places, are controlled by Wuyongs. In their point of view, wuyongs are divided into good wuyongs and bad wuyongs; when they hold ceremonies, they respect good wuyongs; but they dare not offend bad wuyongs; otherwise disasters would come to them. When they meet disasters or misfortunes, they would invite witches that they call "niubu" to settle the problem for them. Niubu is the messenger in-between man and god. Niubu's soul can enter the field of gods and he can talk with all kinds of wuyongs. He can beg for those who offend gods and can help them to get rid of misfortunes.
    Lhoba people worship production organs. They particularly worship the production organs of man. In the fields or on their doors, they hang a production organ made of wood. Such habits gradually change into sexual worshipping and production organ worshipping, as well as the derived production organ worshipping culture. They believe production organ can press down bad wuyongs and it is also an indication that they would have a growing family. In February each year, male villagers would march to their fields naked under the leadership of witches. Some people would hold high a model of man's production organ to pass through the fields where seeds would be planted. They would dance to indicate sexual actions and beg for the growth of their family and a good harvest.
    Lhoba people's understanding for death is idealistic. They believe souls are attached to the body and the body is controlled by the soul. On the other hand, a person's soul is very easily harmed by Wuyongs in nature. If a person is ill, his soul cannot attach to his body soundly; therefore, his relatives would ask a witch to tie the person's soul to his body with the hair of an ox, so that other ghosts would not induce his soul. Death is a terrible topic for them. Death to Lhoba people means disappear of a person's body; beside the method to bury a dead body in earth, they have another method of burying a dead person, in a tree.         This means that they would put the dead body in a vine case, and then hang it on a tree. They believe, after a person dies, his body will become a worm and his soul would go to the paradise. They would wrap the dead body with white cloth. They would use nothing with wools, because they fear the dead person will become an animal in the next life.         
    From the above, we can see that Buddhism affects the Lhoba people's religious point of views, only that their belief is more vague, more specific and more localized.







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