The 8th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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Nechung Monastery, Nechung Gompa (Tibetan: གནས་ཆུང་དགོན་པ།, Wylie: gnas-chung lcog, ZYPY: Naiqung Gönba) or Nechung Chok (Tibetan: གནས་ཆུང་དགོན།, ZYPY: Naiqung Jog "the small dwelling", Chinese: 乃琼寺), is the seat of the State Oracle of Tibet.
Past & Present Oracles
- The present oracle, Ven. Thupten Ngodup was born in Tibet in 1958 and is a descendant of the famous master, Nyang Ral Nyima Özer (1136-1204).
It is about 10 minutes walk down from Drepung Monastery, and was the residence of the three-headed, six-armed Pehar, the chief protector of the Gelugs (Yellow Hat sect) and the seat of the State Oracle or Nechung Oracle.
History and functions
It was the seat of State Oracle until 1959 when he fled with the Dalai Lama to India who now lives in exile in Dharamsala, India. The Dalai Lamas traditionally always consulted him before making an important decision.
An alternative story is that he was brought back by a Bon general, Tara Lugong, who took possession of the meditation school near Kanchow of the Bhaţa Hor, a tribe of Uighurs, about the end of the 8th century CE.
He mumbles words which are recorded and then interpreted by monks and also blesses grain which is thrown to the crowd.
Tibetan oracles act "as a mouthpiece for the gods or spirits who possess him and speak through him, very often without his own knowledge of what is being said, answering directly the questions of those who consult him."
Nechung was almost completely destroyed during the Cultural Revolution and annexation of Tibet by China, though now, it has been largely restored and there is a huge new statue of Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) on the second floor.