Sunday, August 26, 2012

Introduction To Tantric Skull (Kapala)

A Tibetan Skull

Two half skulls:
the right skull is a rare one-sectioned skull, the left skull is used in subjugation ritual.

Tantric skull or kapala is an important ritual element in Tibetan rituals. A kapala symbolizes "impermanent". It acted as a container for consecrated liquid or 'nectar'. Not all kapala can be used however. Traditionally before one gets a kapala from his or her guru, this person must pray for an auspicious sign before sleeping. If no good signs are available, then this kapala cannot be used.

Skulls with various sections carry different meanings:

  1. One-sectioned skull is the most valuable because practitioners believe one-sectioned skull are those of highly realized persons such as those of Bodhisattvas. It is a 'ksaitreya' and controls of all people, land and property.
  2. A two-sectioned skull is a 'vaishya', it works for the king and knows how amass food.
  3. A three-sectioned skull is a 'brahmin', it stimulates the realisation of Mantra.
  4. A four-sectioned skull is a 'shudra' and thus amasses an entourage.
  5. A five-sectioned skull is an outcast, it is a skull cup suitable for a fierce person as it wins disputes.
  6. A six-and more sections stimulate illness. They are normally use in destruction Mantras.
Some gurus forbid the use of skull after 4 pm as they believe that is the time when the demons are most active and may be harmful to the uninitiated. A tantric skull must be evoked before use: mantra and mudra must be performed, and prior to picking up the skull; some rice or flower need to be thrown to the skull. It is forbidden to pick up the skull directly as it is deem disrespect.

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