Friday, September 05, 2003

Awesome! I've been looking for the name of a practice by some Tibetan monks for a long time! I finally found this passage:

"Many years ago, while on leave from my post in India, some comrades and I visited Tibet. This was before it was closed by China. None of us spoke the local language so we found a young man, a local who could translate for us.

He took us to all of the usual tourist spots, and we paid him very well. Toward the end of our stay we asked to see ''something special.'' He said he knew just the thing.

The next day he took us to a flat area behind a monastery. It was spring, and although it wasn't really warm, most of the snow had melted. A row of ox-drawn carts were bringing in snow from the mountain tops.

About an hour after we arrived, a young man, dressed only in a loincloth, took a seat on a pad in the center of the now crowded area. We were the only Westerners there.

Soon, men were dumping the snow all over the poor man. He was smiling and uncaring. They continued until he was covered with snow. Then they piled more and more around and above him until he buried in it. He could have been caught in an avalance.

Drums and exotic music began to play. Singers, making strange, gutteral but oddly musical sounds played over the drums. When a half-hour had passed I started to look nervously at my friends. The young yogi could be smothered. I told our translator of my fears. He said I shouldn't worry, I should just watch.

I began to notice that pools of water were starting to form near the snow mound and pointed it out to my friend. ''Yes, yes. Now you see,'' said our interpreter.

In the next few hours the yogi was able to melt almost all of the snow. His eyes were closed and he looked blissful. Suddenly, he opened his eyes and smiled.

Let me tell you that every man-jack one of us was surprised, too! I asked how he was able to do this amazing feat. Our interpreter said it was a practice called ''tumo'' and that you had to study the technique for years to learn it.

We were disappointed that it would take so long to learn (perhaps they were just hiding the technique from us), but when we returned to our station in India I reported what had happened to my superior officer. Think of the money that could be saved by not having to buy cold weather gear for an army. Think of the lives that could be saved if people lost in the snows knew tumo.

Naturally the near-sightedness of the armed forces prevented them from doing any research."


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