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tantric Buddhist ritual instrument known as a kangling. Made
from a human femur. The Kangling has the classic form with metal
band around the mouth piece and another metal band just on
the other side of where the kangling is usually gripped in the
center. The sound holes are located on the lateral and
medial condyle. The metal is copper. The Kangling was part
of the ritual kit of a Lama in the Nepal / Tibet border area.
people mistakenly believe that Tibetan Buddhism is a macabre
religion with ghoulish deities and a strange obsession with
bones, blood and gore. This is a complete misunderstanding of
the symbolism involved in the tantric rituals. The fact is that
there is an emphasis on each of our own impending deaths, but
this is not a morbid fixation, but rather an impetus to make the
most of life while we have the opportunity. The belief is that
since death is inevitable, one should be mindful of the
important things in life - cultivating kindness and compassion
for all sentient beings, and practicing virtue and meditation -
techniques to discipline the mind and elevate consciousness.
people have an aversion to bones and blood and such because,
when it comes down to it, this makes them think of their own
mortality, and they don't want to think about that for a second.
So among worldly people there is a certain degree of repulsion
for such things. On the other hand, the tantric Buddhist
approach is to view them, contemplate them, even handle them and
use them - its all about using the symbols of death as a means
for understanding what life is really about. Utilizing death to
come to terms with life is "skillful means" - a very important
concept in Buddhism as many of you are no doubt very aware.
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