Sherpa Belief

Sherpa belief is founded in a mixture of animism, Bon and Tibetan Buddhism: there are spirits, gods and goddesses present in the forests, rocks, water and of course the mountains. Many of these places are sacred and people should not enter or climb them.

Since the 1950s with many Western mountaineers passing through the area, there has been a shift towards a more pure form of Buddhism.

In Sherpa religion the relationships between people and the gods manifest in two forms: there are benevolent but remote gods and there are dangerous and destructive demons. The Sherpa beliefs and relationship towards these manifest in rituals and practice.The belief that the benevolent gods must be enticed into a closer relationship – to come into the home – by pujas and offerings. Once closer and ‘listening’ they can be persuaded, gently negotiated with and almost lured (“polite requests and subtle manipulations” Ortner p146) into providing active support / protection against the demons and to aid success. This is enacted as ritual “over and over again in daily life”

Sherpa traditionally believe one needs a powerful protector to get through life and to defend against evil. So one must work to attract the protector and get them on side, to appease, to placate, to charm them. Once on side then all will be well….

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