Erenlai - A Spiritual Treasure Map 給心靈的藏寶圖
A Spiritual Treasure Map 給心靈的藏寶圖

A Spiritual Treasure Map 給心靈的藏寶圖

 

The rich wisdom found in Chinese religious and spiritual traditions is not just a treasure of the past. Let us re-discover and illuminate what China has to offer to the global spiritual quest of the modern world.

從中國到世界的天涯海角都有古老的哲思,值得活在現代社會的我們重新去探索。這些寶藏是靈魂的食糧,也是生命最底層的渴望。在生而為人的這條路上,你找過到那張給心靈的藏寶圖嗎?

 

 

週一, 02 四月 2007

在世界最高城欢度藏历新年

梁准 撰文 摄影

理塘海拔4014米,素有“世界最高城”之称。
理塘长青春科尔寺,是康巴地区最大的格鲁派(黄教)寺院,这座寺院由三世达赖索南嘉措于公元1851年创建。七世达赖格桑嘉措、十世达赖楚臣嘉措均出生在理塘,并在长青春科尔寺受戒学习。
每年藏历新年,长青春科尔寺都会举行规模宏大的法会、辩经、展佛、酥油花展等活动,虔诚的信众们扶老携幼,络绎不绝从四面八方汇集到这里,燃灯拜佛,供养菩萨,转经诵经,聆听佛言佛语,祈祷平安吉祥!
法会:藏传佛教认为诵念佛经对祈祷有着非凡法力,诵读佛经是僧人们平时修行的主要内容之一。藏历新年法会期间,数千僧人云集长青春科尔寺,诵经祈祷,浑厚整齐的诵经之声回旋在寺院上空,穿透时空。
辩经:是藏传佛教一种学习方式,僧人学习佛经后,为了加深对佛经的真正理解,通过问答的形式交流学习心得,领悟佛法。辩经能巩固僧人的学习成果,培养僧人敏锐的思考和判断力,以及流畅而富有逻辑的语言表达能力,藏传佛教格鲁派的各大寺院都极重视这种学习方法,辩经亦是格鲁派寺院中各级学位考试的主要手段之一。
僧人辩经的动作固定而夸张,每一个动作都有其特殊意义,比如在每一个提问前都要先大喝一声“底”,再将右手向后高高扬起,和左手相拍发出清脆的响声,然后将右手向下伸向对方后拉起。那一声“底”相当于开启智慧之门,因为佛教中,文殊菩萨是智慧的象征,而文殊菩萨的心咒是“嗡阿热巴杂拉底”,“底”音可以启请心中的文殊菩萨,开启我们的智慧。高高向后扬的右手说明文殊智慧就在身后。两手相拍,有三层意思,一为一个巴掌拍不响,世间一切都是众缘合和的产物;二为掌声代表无常,一切都稍纵即逝;三为清脆的响声敲醒你心中的慈悲和智慧,驱走你的恶念。右手向下后又拉回,是希望通过自己内心的善念和智慧,拯救苦难中的众生。
整个辩经场面严肃、紧张而热烈。
展佛:也称晒佛,藏语称之为“贵格献”,就是每年一次将寺院珍藏的巨幅佛像唐卡请出,供信徒膜拜
瞻仰,信徒们相信,能亲眼目睹佛的容光,可以积累无上的功德。藏历正月十四日,长青春科尔寺在大殿(藏语措钦)上展示佛像,释迦牟尼佛像在僧众的诵经声和信众们的欢呼声中徐徐露出祥和容颜。当佛像展现在人们面前时,人群顿时沸腾起来,人们或低头诵经,或磕头致礼,或举头瞻仰,更有许多人将钱包入哈达中,抛向佛像下面表示供养,展佛仪式结束后,人们争先恐后,蜂拥而上,用额头频频触及佛像,以表达对佛主的虔诚之心。了却了瞻仰佛像的心愿,人们脸上荡漾着欢乐的、心满意足的微笑。
酥油花展:酥油花是藏文化中独具特色的酥油塑造艺术。最早产生于西藏苯教,有一千三百多年历史。
关于酥油花的起源有两个传说,公元641年,文成公主进藏和藏王松赞干布完婚时,带去释迦牟尼佛像一尊,供奉在大昭寺内。按照佛教礼仪,敬献于佛像前的供品需要有鲜花、果品、净水、明灯、熏香、涂香等六种,亦称为“六供”。但时值冬日,“六供”中的鲜花无处觅得,藏民们只好用酥油塑成花朵供奉在佛像前,以后便用酥油塑制出各种各样的酥油花。
也有传说认为酥油花始创于藏传佛教格鲁派宗喀巴大师。1409年正月,宗喀巴大师在拉萨大祈愿法会上做一奇梦,梦见荆棘变明灯、杂草变鲜花,释迦牟尼佛的法相在花朵和彩云的簇拥下放出万道霞光,无数奇珍异宝,五光十色,灿烂夺目。大师醒来后为了再现胜境,立即组织艺僧用酥油塑成各种花卉树木、珍禽异兽,再现梦境,连同酥油供灯奉献在佛祖面前。从此,酥油花这种特殊的雕塑艺术便流传于世。
每年藏历新年的前一、两个月,长青春科尔寺的艺僧们便聚集在香根殿,开始酥油花的制作。酥油花的制作分为五道工序。第一是扎“骨架”,根据所表现的内容,用加工的柔软草束、麻绳、竹竿、棍子等物扎成大大小小不同形态的“骨架”,即成为塑造形象的基本模型。第二是做“胚胎”,塑造的第一道原料是将陈旧酥油花砸碎,掺上滚烫的草木灰,使陈旧的酥油变软后,再用力碾压反复捶打,然后剔除里面的杂质,制成韧性好、弹性强的黑色油泥,藏语称为“加莫勒”。此后将“加莫勒”裹在骨架上,做成一个个粗线条的造型,近似面塑或泥塑。第三是“敷塑”,其原料是在加工成膏状的白色酥油中按照比例兑入各色矿物质颜料,碾压搓拉,加工成五颜六色的油塑原料,仔细地敷塑在做好的胚胎上,有的还要用金箔拓、用银粉描,做好的塑品件件都栩栩如生,惟妙惟肖。若要塑造鲜艳柔嫩的红花绿叶,或是玲珑剔透的玉石宝玩,则直接用彩色胚料一次性塑成。为了防止塑制中因手温而使酥油胚料融化变形,艺僧们不仅要将作坊里的温度控制在零度,每人身边还要放置一个盛有冰块的水盆。他们的双手要不断伸进刺骨的冰水,以降低手的温度,用冻得麻木的手去塑制。第四道工序是“装盘”。塑好的酥油花要按设计的总体要求,一个个地用细铁丝各自安装到位,固定在几块大木板上,组装为一体,俗称“酥油花架”。件件悬空,高低不同,错落有致。展出时,“酥油花架”会用高杆立起,最高可达十几米。第五是收尾工程即称为“固形加持”。大活佛在酥油花前,要对整个酥油花架进行检查和细节调整,然后僧人们念经加持,并在酥油花上撒一些圣水和吉祥米,使之超脱于一般意义的工艺品。
在长青春科尔寺艺僧们的妙手之下,无论是佛像人物、鱼虫禽兽、树木花草还是亭台楼阁,无不色彩绚丽,神形兼备,活灵活现。
藏历正月十五的酥油花展,使得长青春科尔寺人山人海,热闹非凡。
供养:藏历新年间,长青春科尔寺的僧人会接受信众诚心诚意的供养。
自发供养僧众的施主在寺院侧门外自动排成两行,每人手里都拿着一叠厚厚的钞票。
身着红色袈裟的僧人在大殿前自动排成两队,嘴里念念有词,诵经声如雷贯耳,祈祷施主吉祥如意。
对施主而言,供养僧众,发放布施既与佛法结缘,又行了菩萨六度,可为自己和家人培植不可思议的功德和福报,钱不拘多少,一元,两元,恭敬地发到一个又一个僧人手中。
排队鱼贯而出的僧人们则怀着感恩之心,兴高采烈,满心欢喜接受信众的供养。
也有施主向僧众供养酥油,僧众用此酥油添灯供佛。
因藏区全民信仰佛教,长青春科尔寺的所有节庆活动都洋溢着浓厚的宗教气氛,世界最高城理塘的藏历新年,是一个庆祝与祈祷兼具,僧俗信众,普天同庆的欢乐祥和的民族节日。

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週五, 30 三月 2007

在世界最高城歡度藏曆新年

理塘海拔4014米,素有「世界最高城」之稱。
理塘長青春科爾寺,是康巴地區最大的格魯派(黃教)寺院,這座寺院由三世達賴索南嘉措于西元1851年創建。七世達賴格桑嘉措、十世達賴楚臣嘉措均出生在理塘,幷在長青春科爾寺受戒學習。
每年藏曆新年,長青春科爾寺都會舉行規模宏大的法會、辯經、展佛、酥油花展等活動,虔誠的信衆們扶老携幼,絡繹不絕從四面八方彙集到這裏,燃燈拜佛,供養菩薩,轉經誦經,聆聽佛言佛語,祈禱平安吉祥!
法會:藏傳佛教認爲誦念佛經對祈禱有著非凡法力,誦讀佛經是僧人們平時修行的主要內容之一。藏曆新年法會期間,數千僧人雲集長青春科爾寺,誦經祈禱,渾厚整齊的誦經之聲迴旋在寺院上空,穿透時空。
辯經:是藏傳佛教一種學習方式,僧人學習佛經後,爲了加深對佛經的真正理解,通過問答的形式交流學習心得,領悟佛法。辯經能鞏固僧人的學習成果,培養僧人敏銳的思考和判斷力,以及流暢而富有邏輯的語言表達能力,藏傳佛教格魯派的各大寺院都極重視這種學習方法,辯經亦是格魯派寺院中各級學位考試的主要手段之一。
僧人辯經的動作固定而誇張,每一個動作都有其特殊意義,比如在每一個提問前都要先大喝一聲「底」,再將右手向後高高揚起,和左手相拍發出清脆的響聲,然後將右手向下伸向對方後拉起。那一聲「底」相當于開啓智慧之門,因爲佛教中,文殊菩薩是智慧的象徵,而文殊菩薩的心咒是「嗡阿熱巴雜拉底」,「底」音可以啓請心中的文殊菩薩,開啓我們的智慧。高高向後揚的右手說明文殊智慧就在身後。兩手相拍,有三層意思,一爲一個巴掌拍不響,世間一切都是衆緣合和的産物;二爲掌聲代表無常,一切都稍縱即逝;三爲清脆的響聲敲醒你心中的慈悲和智慧,驅走你的惡念。右手向下後又拉回,是希望通過自己內心的善念和智慧,拯救苦難中的衆生。
整個辯經場面嚴肅、緊張而熱烈。
展佛:也稱曬佛,藏語稱之爲「貴格獻」,就是每年一次將寺院珍藏的巨幅佛像唐卡請出,供信徒膜拜瞻仰,信徒們相信,能親眼目睹佛的容光,可以積累無上的功德。藏曆正月十四日,長青春科爾寺在大殿(藏語措欽)上展示佛像,釋迦牟尼佛像在僧衆的誦經聲和信衆們的歡呼聲中徐徐露出祥和容顔。當佛像展現在人們面前時,人群頓時沸騰起來,人們或低頭誦經,或磕頭致禮,或舉頭瞻仰,更有許多人將錢包入哈達中,抛向佛像下面表示供養,展佛儀式結束後,人們爭先恐後,蜂擁而上,用額頭頻頻觸及佛像,以表達對佛主的虔誠之心。了却了瞻仰佛像的心願,人們臉上蕩漾著歡樂的、心滿意足的微笑。
酥油花展:酥油花是藏文化中獨具特色的酥油塑造藝術。最早産生于西藏苯教,有一千三百多年歷史。
關于酥油花的起源有兩個傳說,西元641年,文成公主進藏和藏王松贊干布完婚時,帶去釋迦牟尼佛像一尊,供奉在大昭寺內。按照佛教禮儀,敬獻于佛像前的供品需要有鮮花、果品、淨水、明燈、熏香、塗香等六種,亦稱爲“六供”。但時值冬日,「六供」中的鮮花無處覓得,藏民們只好用酥油塑成花朵供奉在佛像前,以後便用酥油塑制出各種各樣的酥油花。
也有傳說認爲酥油花始創于藏傳佛教格魯派宗喀巴大師。1409年正月,宗喀巴大師在拉薩大祈願法會上做一奇夢,夢見荊棘變明燈、雜草變鮮花,釋迦牟尼佛的法相在花朵和彩雲的簇擁下放出萬道霞光,無數奇珍异寶,五光十色,燦爛奪目。大師醒來後爲了再現勝境,立即組織藝僧用酥油塑成各種花卉樹木、珍禽异獸,再現夢境,連同酥油供燈奉獻在佛祖面前。從此,酥油花這種特殊的雕塑藝術便流傳于世。
每年藏曆新年的前一、兩個月,長青春科爾寺的藝僧們便聚集在香根殿,開始酥油花的製作。酥油花的製作分爲五道工序。第一是扎「骨架」,根據所表現的內容,用加工的柔軟草束、麻繩、竹竿、棍子等物扎成大大小小不同形態的「骨架」,即成爲塑造形象的基本模型。第二是做「胚胎」,塑造的第一道原料是將陳舊酥油花砸碎,摻上滾燙的草木灰,使陳舊的酥油變軟後,再用力碾壓反復捶打,然後剔除裏面的雜質,製成韌性好、彈性强的黑色油泥,藏語稱爲「加莫勒」。此後將「加莫勒」裹在骨架上,做成一個個粗綫條的造型,近似面塑或泥塑。第三是「敷塑」,其原料是在加工成膏狀的白色酥油中按照比例兌入各色礦物質顔料,碾壓搓拉,加工成五顔六色的油塑原料,仔細地敷塑在做好的胚胎上,有的還要用金箔拓、用銀粉描,做好的塑品件件都栩栩如生,惟妙惟肖。若要塑造鮮艶柔嫩的紅花綠葉,或是玲瓏剔透的玉石寶玩,則直接用彩色胚料一次性塑成。爲了防止塑制中因手溫而使酥油胚料融化變形,藝僧們不僅要將作坊裏的溫度控制在零度,每人身邊還要放置一個盛有冰塊的水盆。他們的雙手要不斷伸進刺骨的冰水,以降低手的溫度,用凍得麻木的手去塑制。第四道工序是「裝盤」。塑好的酥油花要按設計的總體要求,一個個地用細鐵絲各自安裝到位,固定在幾塊大木板上,組裝爲一體,俗稱「酥油花架」。件件懸空,高低不同,錯落有致。展出時,「酥油花架」會用高杆立起,最高可達十幾米。第五是收尾工程即稱爲「固形加持」。大活佛在酥油花前,要對整個酥油花架進行檢查和細節調整,然後僧人們念經加持,幷在酥油花上撒一些聖水和吉祥米,使之超脫于一般意義的工藝品。
在長青春科爾寺藝僧們的妙手之下,無論是佛像人物、魚蟲禽獸、樹木花草還是亭臺樓閣,無不色彩絢麗,神形兼備,活靈活現。
藏曆正月十五的酥油花展,使得長青春科爾寺人山人海,熱鬧非凡。
供養:藏曆新年間,長青春科爾寺的僧人會接受信衆誠心誠意的供養。
自發供養僧衆的施主在寺院側門外自動排成兩行,每人手裏都拿著一叠厚厚的鈔票。
身著紅色袈裟的僧人在大殿前自動排成兩隊,嘴裏念念有詞,誦經聲如雷貫耳,祈禱施主吉祥如意。
對施主而言,供養僧衆,發放布施既與佛法結緣,又行了菩薩六度,可爲自己和家人培植不可思議的功德和福報,錢不拘多少,一元,兩元,恭敬地發到一個又一個僧人手中。
排隊魚貫而出的僧人們則懷著感恩之心,興高采烈,滿心歡喜接受信衆的供養。
也有施主向僧衆供養酥油,僧衆用此酥油添燈供佛。
因藏區全民信仰佛教,長青春科爾寺的所有節慶活動都洋溢著濃厚的宗教氣氛,世界最高城理塘的藏曆新年,是一個慶祝與祈禱兼具,僧俗信衆,普天同慶的歡樂祥和的民族節日。



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週二, 27 三月 2007

庭園、公園與菜園

西歐建築師路西安•克若(Lucien Kroll)曾經說過:「世上沒有壞庭園。」人類在創造花園的時候,都將自己的夢想、對大自然的情誼與尊重、個人的美學風格以及自己最好的一部分放進去。隨著年代與空間的不同,庭園、公園與菜園都呈現不同的多元風貌。在中國式及日本式的庭園,我們可見到一道橋、一座小湖、幾棵樹、奇石錯落,我可以從庭園看出東方宇宙觀所提煉出的景致。不管東方或西方、不論北半球或是南半球,菜農都以愛心照顧菜園,有時種植一兩朵小花加以陪襯。法國凡爾賽宮內的公園井然有序,英國城堡內的園景採用不對稱造景,偶遇叢木裏的私密空間,讓人彷如回到家一般安心…

庭園規劃的秩序反映出每個文化的精神內涵,更傳達了不同文化的宗教觀。塞內加爾的庭園傳統上大都和村莊相連,往往分出下列四個類型。國王的庭園是一個禁地,裏面種植珍貴的品種;實用庭園,村民以有毒液的植物所圍起的菜園;公共庭園,村莊的中央有一口井,旁邊有一棵樹,人們圍著樹談天說地;神木,居住著護佑村莊的神靈…某些亞瑪遜河流域的印地安人是庭園達人,他們會在自己的庭院裏面種植野生植物與家用植物,庭院裏植栽分佈幾乎就是家附近森林的縮小版圖。他們認為神靈是森林的園丁,而森林就像是容納超自然生物的庭園。

根據《聖經》的記載,上帝不正是種植了一個灌溉樂園,然後把人類安置在庭園裏?耶穌不也在園子裏復活的嗎?抹大拉的馬利亞(Marie Madeleine)不是看到復活後的耶穌,還以為祂是園丁嗎?當《聖經》提及耶穌的時候,常常與兩種職業人的形象息息相關,一個是園丁,一個是制陶人。這兩項工作都需要懂得細心照顧、長久的耐心以及智慧…

我們可以從某些跡象看出文明危機的徵兆,那就是成排的大溫室所種植的小黃瓜、草莓、水生蕃茄。這些果實不受日曬,也沒有味道;企業公司在運送時用玻璃紙包裝,大量消耗可用能源。我夢想一個更有人味的世界,希望每戶人家都有一個小庭園。每個人用雙手耕種水果與蔬菜,體會春日裏植物茁壯的欣喜以及收成的快樂。大家學習引水灌溉、施用天然肥料、留住昆蟲與鳥兒在園裏優遊、假日時分邀請友人在樹蔭下棲息。

只有在照顧菜園時,我們才能學會如何照料世界。我們是否也應該給自己機會,讓地球變成一個大庭園,讓生命變得更簡單自在呢?

週四, 22 二月 2007

The Hagiography of St Francis Xavier

From Mission History to Hermeneutic Strategies...

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週四, 22 二月 2007

李金远的天路历程

纪念一代伟人利玛窦到北京四百周年

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週四, 22 二月 2007

李金遠的天路歷程

紀念一代偉人利瑪竇到北京四百周年

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週六, 10 二月 2007

无海的灯塔

【海的深渊】

无海的灯塔立在灰蒙的荒野上
浪头拍打著回音树
未知的字句流入
有毒的混杂汁液

小孩用头撞锁
男人看起来异常地高
身体的中央出现海的深渊
陷入惊恐的锚
因沉浸在欲望中而垂死
做船员的朋友

【黑色丝绸】

无法捕捉的丝绸
翻卷起落的海面
庆贺一场场的婚礼
迎娶白纱覆地的妻子
睡意在黎明兴起
夜晚窥视红色小舟

【过】

对抗玻璃如磐石
生命在远方
生继承空

不定感生柔情
意志坚定

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週六, 10 二月 2007

無海的燈塔

【海的深淵】

無海的燈塔立在灰濛的荒野上
浪頭拍打著回音樹
未知的字句流入
有毒的混雜汁液

小孩用頭撞鎖
男人看起來異常地高
身體的中央出現海的深淵
陷入驚恐的錨
因沉浸在欲望中而垂死
做船員的朋友

【黑色絲綢】

無法捕捉的絲綢
翻捲起落的海面
慶賀一場場的婚禮
迎娶白紗覆地的妻子
睡意在黎明興起
夜晚窺視紅色小舟

【過】

對抗玻璃如磐石
生命在遠方
生繼承空

不定感生柔情
意志堅定


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週日, 04 二月 2007

Nuosu Religion: Rituals, Agents and Beliefs

Religion can be approached and defined from a variety of standpoints. I choose here to pragmatically study Nuosu religion as a complex of rituals; the agents that participate in them; and set of beliefs that somehow underline these rituals while their maintenance is supported by this very performance. In one approach, Nuoso religion can thus be described as a set of rituals proper to the Nusou people living on the Liangshan territory.

- A - Rituals

Although all Nuosu rituals conform to some patterns and sequences that identify them indeed as rituals, they are also characterized by their variety, a variety that answers to the diversity of the situations that require their performance. It is not enough to say that rituals in Liangshan are performed first and foremost when death and illness occur. Their particular configuration will depend on the cause of death and the situation of the deceased at the time he/she leaves this world and on still other considerations when rites are performed years after the death for ensuring his/her incorporation into the ancestors’ world. Likewise, rituals will vary according to the nature of illness and the rituals’ sequence will further unfold when the cause of illness is ritualistically determined. Not only are rituals diverse and numerous, they also organize themselves into sequences determined by the situations to which they respond.

Besides birth, death and illness, there is an indefinite number of situations that might call for a ritual. New Year (in November) and the Torch Festival (in July) are two obvious occurrences. Cleansing rituals (xuox-burr) regularly occur on a basis that varies according to families and districts. Other ritual occurrences might include: curses enacted as a vengeance; determination of a culprit’s identity, attempts at reconciliation between spouses; inauguration of a new house… In recent times, small-scale rituals are occasionally performed for ensuring success at exams or the safety of a car and its driver for instance.

Rituals can be summarily divided into two kinds: “below the road” rituals include all rituals that deal with death and the well-being of the ancestors. “Above the road” rituals include all other rituals. From this perspective, it can be said that rituals provide at the same time for the long-term sustenance of the community of the living and of the dead from which the living derive their existence and identity, and for flexible answers to a variety of existential and social situations, susceptible to be redefined according to circumstances.

- B - Agents

The most revered religious agent in Yi religion is called bi-mox. His importance is attested by the fact that Nuosu religion is sometimes called “bi-mox religion”, in the same way as Naxi religion is called “dongba religion.” The chanting of written scriptures is usually described as being the main characteristics of bi-mox’s activity. One becomes a bi-mox by virtue of patrilineal descent. Though necessary, this condition is not sufficient. A long apprenticeship under the guidance of the father or another member of the father’s clan is also required. Summing up, bi-mox mediate between the human and the supernatural world thanks to (a) their lineage, (b) their knowledge and chanting of written, fixed scriptures, (c) the efficacy of these scriptures themselves and of the ritual instruments that the bi-mox possess and use, (d) personal skills, that vary from one practitioner to another.

Bi-mox are usually contrasted with su-nyit. Both can perform similar deeds, with the fundamental restriction that rituals linked to death and to the subsequent destiny of the soul are strictly reserved to bi-mox. If lineage and knowledge of scriptures are the mediations that bi-mox make use of, su-nyit work through a process of “immediacy.” That is to say, the direct election that protecting spirits (wa-sa) make of them allow them to enter into a direct battle with malignant ghosts. Su-nyit, it is usually said, do not rely on a lineage but on election. They do not chase the ghosts by the power of the scriptures (as a rule they are illiterate), but by “seeing” them and beating the drum.

Such opposition has to be qualified. Though bi-mox are literate, the chanting of the scriptures rely above all on memorization. Similarly, the language and formulas used by the su-nyit is very similar to the ones of the bi-mox, as it also relies on a socialization process. It is very frequent to meet with su-nyit whose family has been in the trade for a number of generations, though election takes place for each member of the lineage. Even when this is not the case, su-nyit place themselves within a “guild” genealogy that they chant at the beginning of the ritual. Finally, meeting with people who can perform in quality of bi-mox and su-nyit (ni-bi-zhz) is not rare, which indicates that the distinction is far from being absolute.

Besides bi-mox and su-nyit, non-“qualified” religious intermediaries play a role in performing rituals. As a matter of fact, each family chief performs on various occasions, the Yi New Year and Torch Festival being the most conspicuous ones. The form taken by these ceremonies, that include chanting and sacrifices, do qualify them as full-fledged religious rituals. On an even simpler basis, everyone can perform a basic ritual with a few words, an egg or a glass of alcohol, if something specific frightens him, for instance. This kind of simple practice is called yy-hox-pyt. Finally, some elders or people with special skills are able to perform a large number of rituals, for instance those commonly grouped together under the term of va-xi. Performing a va-xi requires some skills (the ceremony lasts around two hours, the killing of a rooster is involved as well as various offerings and the use of “hot stones” for cleansing) but va-xi practitioners do not benefit from the help of protecting spirits as is the case for bi-mox and su-nyit. Vaxi is performed if bad words and curses against a family have been overheard, if one has reason to fear the approach of illness, if one has had bad dreams, if some troubling event has occurred, such as the sow eating the piglets, the hen attacking its eggs or a dog climbing on the roof of the house. Other types of va-xi rituals are meant to solve quarrels and disagreements. Religious specialists also include people able to find lost things through various divinatory skills.

- C - Beliefs

Nuosu religion thus appears as an integrated whole of practices giving its structure and meaning to the time-space of human existence. At the same time, it is not so easy to identify the set of beliefs that informs this structure of meaningful practices. Looking at the beliefs explicitly or implicitly stated in bi-mox writings is a necessary task (which is far from being complete) but not a sufficient one. There is a gap between the corpus of creeds and myths proper to a given place and the more systematic outlook expressed by the ritualistic writings. Such a gap is somehow harder to perceive in areas that are bi-mox strongholds (this is markedly the case in Meigu county), but can be very visible in areas where contacts and traditions are more diversified. Answers as to the nature (and number) of the human soul as its degree of immortality, the place of rest of the ancestors, the nature of ghosts and spirits vary to a much greater extent than usually recorded. What remains constant is that the stress is indeed on the ancestors (the only kind of spirits that can be truly known or identified) and on ghosts. The latter can be seen as “counter-ancestors” in the sense that, even if it is said that not all ghosts are souls unable to enter into the ancestors world, the other types of ghosts usually recorded are those of animals whose “blood lineages’ belong to the same class as human beings (cats and horses most notably)

Although there are differences in rituals and beliefs from one place to another, one can identify a “world-vision” that is proper to Nuosu religion. The plasticity proper to any “world-vision” makes it for me a more appropriate term than the one of “set of beliefs.” A good starting point for entering into this world vision might be the following: after a person has died, rites are meant to help him/her not to be devoured, nor to be devourer. To devour or to be devoured are actually the two sides of the same coin: the “devoured” spirit is the one which has fallen prey to the ghosts and becomes itself a ravenous ghost, as it tries to compensate for what has been preyed upon it. The ritual of cremation and the making of a “bamboo soul” are meant to spare the soul such a destiny. The large-scale rites for the final sending-off to the ancestors’ world will eventually allow the soul to access a place where it can find a plentiful supply of food without having to prey upon the world of the living. Once at its resting place, the ancestor can ensure peace to his/her descendants.

In contrast, a ghost is a glutton. (And a glutton is especially at risk to become a ghost.) The gluttony of the ghosts is the reason that makes people ill, and people must avoid at any price to become themselves hungry ghosts. Consequently, the healing process is communitarian in nature. By attending the healing ritual, the family and the neighbors call back the sick from the world where the ghosts are leading him towards the human universe, where meals are taken together. Togetherness is part of the ritual efficacy. Broadly speaking, to heal the social body and to heal the sick body are to be seen as joint operations, as ghosts are the powers that break living connections, be it within the flesh or within the community. They break living bodies into pieces. The goal of the ritual is always to reassemble what has been driven apart. Most notably, by ensuring the proper “consumption” of the deceased (as long as the circumstances of his/her death allow it) through the cremation process and the rites that follow during the years, one allows him/her to join a new community. From there, the deceased can protect the community of the living from the improper gluttonous behavior of the ghosts – those who have not been properly “consumed.”

Summing up, meal can be the ultimate metaphor for ordering Nuosu religious rituals, agents and world vision into a whole. Meals are about the survival, cohesiveness and prosperity of the community. The performing of a ritual is like the preparation and enactment of a meal that will restore physical and social forces against divisive agents. Finally, the passage that leads from this world to the afterlife can be adequately represented by the cooking and consumption process.


週一, 22 一月 2007

To Live is to Give

“Network”, it can be said, is a loosely used word that refers to loosely structured ways of exchanging information, supporting each other and/or leading common actions. It links people and groups at various levels, local or global, sometimes for their own mutual benefit, sometimes in the interest of a cause that transcends and unites the members of the network.

The reach and efficiency of networks has been greatly enhanced by the Internet. This might be partly because the Internet allows for horizontal relationships, and that horizontal relationships are very much at the core of networking, distinguishing networks from other organizational structures.

Exchange of knowledge is another characteristic of networks. This is already true of “social networks”, exemplified by the Old Boys associations. For sure, social networks primarily provide emotional and cultural support, but they constitute also the port through which information that might help one to change one’s career path or get valuable tips on the stock market are exchanged. Information becomes even more central when we come to what can be labeled as “knowledge networks”: this kind of networks is basically a space for discussion that helps to determine research directions (for an academic community) or action strategies (for an association of people and groups committed to a social or environmental cause for instance.) For putting it another way, it is only within knowledge networks that “information” truly becomes “knowledge”, i.e. is crystallized into a body of consistent and mutually reinforcing assumptions. It is also within knowledge networks that knowledge receives a meaning that leads a group to enact value judgments and maybe to decide on a course of action.

The need to connect together scientific assessments, policymaking and grassroots activism explains the spread of knowledge networks. Also, the globalization of issues such as environment, violence, international trade and workers’ rights induces people to connect to groups that share similar concerns in various cultural and political contexts. International networks are partly a product of the eroding power of the Nation-State, and partly a response to the increased influence of other players, such as multinational companies.

Willemijn Verkoren has identified a few conditions under which knowledge networks can function correctly (International Journal of Peace Studies, 11-2, 2006). I rephrase here in my own way those that seem to me more important:
1) The network does not exist in isolation; exchanges going through the network and real life activities are linked in a sustainable way.
2) The purpose of networking is clear, as are the possibilities offered by the network and the limits of what it can achieve.
3) Capacity for learning, room for discussion, and openness in membership, discussion and sharing are requisites for the efficacy of the network.
4) While being able to operate autonomously, the network must be linked to a wider environment, to enable it to give and to receive.
5) Results of the interaction have to be visible at some stage.
6) To facilitate and moderate a network requires time and expertise.
7) Finally, the flexibility of the network helps it to facilitate exchanges, action and empowerment without trespassing over its boundaries, rather than aiming to become an all-encompassing knowledge system.

In the field of social action, there might be not stronger incentive to the spreading of the knowledge network model than the concerns raised around the sustainability of our economies and the current world governance system. The debate on climatic change shows that scientific conclusions are themselves reached through the nurturing of a permanent network of information and debate. The policy debate is nurtured by different (and often diverging) networks of citizens, experts and companies. Interconnection between these groups helps to go from traditional lobbying to innovative networking, and the growing debate on facts and values is conducive of such interconnections. Technical expertise is not sufficient for tackling such a broadly-shaped issue, and groups of citizens will continue to debate on consumption models, the resurgence of values such as frugality and solidarity, hopefully advancing towards formulations and insights that will develop a cultural model in line with the technical imperatives linked to the issue at stake. The mobilization of cultural resources for nurturing sustainable development - a mobilization achieved through a dialogue on core values, sharing of success stories and exchange of strategic analyses - is exactly what a knowledge network might want to achieve.

Maybe it would be useful for all of us to reflect on the following questions:
- What are the knowledge networks that I am presently engaged into?
- Are these networks akin to my real interests and current concerns, or should I try to engage into new ones?
- May I possibly be active in a web of relationships that could happily develop into a real knowledge network, sharing information among its members and with other networks, provided that I encourage the group to take the necessary steps for becoming more reflexive and participatory?
- What kind of knowledge networks does my environment need, and may I be instrumental in fostering such alliances?

May our online interactions and our real life activities follow more and more the model sketched here, so as to overcome the feeling of impotence that often overwhelms all of us. Our participation in some kind of knowledge networks should encourage us to become active citizens of a world whose destiny will finally be determined by the quality of the networking we enter into and the course of actions that naturally follows.
International Institute for Sustainable Development: about knowledge networks

週五, 22 十二月 2006

時間崩塌

時間崩塌
壓縮空間
氣息稀少 抽空 無法潛移
窒息脅迫 吼叫 遠離
來與去平衡
空取得生命 化為濕潤的大地

Le temps se serre
Le temps se serre contre lui-même
comprime l’espace

Le souffle circule difficilement
se raréfie et s’appauvrit

L’étoffement menace
gronde et s’éloigne

Le va et vient se balance
le vide prend vie et devient terre humide

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週四, 14 十二月 2006

風的紋路

【一】

枝椏伸展
裸露的恐懼隱沒隱現
彩墨照亮恐懼

Les ramillles s’étirent
la peur décoiffée transparaît
l’encre colorée l’illumine

【二】

木探高
水舞動
形式甦醒

la poussée du bois
la danse de l’eau
réveil des formes

【三】

靈魂找到實質
在身體的印記

時間澄透

l’âme trouve sa consistance
dans les traces du corps

transparence du temps


【圖 笨篤】


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