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Torma of the Paro Valley

The combination of portrayals of local deities as dough figurines varies from region to region. Here is shown an example of an ensemble from the Paro valley.



On the left edge of the house altar stands a figurine for the good luck of all holy owners of the earth, the Shibdag. Next to this, another general figurine is to represent luck from all the cardinal directions. A bowl with flour and butter is offered right next to it. A figurine of the mountain god Ödöpa is the last one of the outer group.

In the middle part of the altar stands the entire holy landscape, from the village up to the Tibetan border, which is replicated out of dough. Placed to the side of the local dignities is one of the greatest protectors of the teachings for all schools of Tibetan Buddhism: King Pehar.

However, let us begin again, going from left to right: at the beginning stands Ödöpa himself, it is to him that the ritual is mainly oriented. At his side stands Jichu Drakye, an ice-covered mountain located at the entrance to the Paro valley, the guard over the city of Paro and its surroundings. Next to this stands the aforementioned Pehar, who is worshipped in the entire sphere of influence of Vajrayana Buddhism.

The central figurine bears the name of the entire ceremony - lha bsangs*. Applications out of dough to this figurine represent the cosmos with its three levels: heaven, earth and the underworld. All of these should be cleansed of conscious and unconscious pollution. Next comes Ap Genyen, the war god (dra lha) of Bhutan, protector of the state religion and the Yül lha* of the capital of Thimphu. He is flanked by Chari Tsen, the Yül* lha of the neighboring village.

In order not to neglect or even forget any of the local land owners, the last torma* of this group is generally ascribed to the Shibdag* in general. The dough figurine to the right is dedicated to the deity Tsheringma who, according to Bhutanese beliefs, resides on the Chomolhari mountain, which is over 7000 meters high. She is also worshipped far beyond the borders of Bhutan in the entire Buddhist Himalayas and in Tibet. Another »lucky torma« rounds out the right side of this group.

A varied assortment of sacrificial offerings is placed in front of these deities such as milk, butter, water, incense, flowers or wine in a skull bowl, as well as a several butterlamps.

 

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The dough figures on the house altar represent various deities of Tibetan or Bhutanese Buddhism. Their arrangement can differ from region to region. The gods on this picture have a special meaning for the Paro valley.