Overview for Tantric Healing in the Kathmandu Valley.
A comparative study of Hindu and Buddhist spiritual healing traditions in urban Nepalese society, the book encompasses a full catalogue of methods and materials employed by Kathmandu Valley healers, while including a survey of those frequenting a healerâ€™s practice, the complaints they suffer from and the kind of treatment received. Since witches were still considered the main causative agents of supernatural complaints by the majority of a healerâ€™s clients, the work offers a penetrating analysis of the phenomenon of witchcraft and witch possession, especially as related to the status of Nepalese women. Finally, it explores the contemporary relevance of tantra in todayâ€™s Nepal and features, in addition, valuable suggestions regarding self-healing from the perspective of indigenous practitioners. The author, Angela Dietrich, presents a veritable gold mine of information collected about tantric healing modes and materials. In the process, she rebuts the thesis that in the face of modernisation and westernisation tantric beliefs and practices are on the decline. On the contrary, she claims that due to the steady stream of migrants from rural areas bringing with them their own indigenous culture, coupled with the endurance of the Newar culture of the Valley, these beliefs and practices continue mostly unabated. The continuation of tantric healing is being, in addition, facilitated through the steady deterioration of living conditions due to the continuous increase in pollution and environmental degradation producing symptoms not amenable to normal medical treatment. Other pressures stem from the unprecedented and relentless stream of migrants into the valley, and the widening gap between rich and poor, the latter being in the vast majority and comprising the main clientele of a healer. Thus, it is hardly surprising that, as her data stands, she has been able to demonstrate the continued prevalence of beliefs regarding witchcraft and the equally wide currency of spiritual healing practices cutting across such variables as caste, class, gender, ethnicity and education.
Angela Dietrich (Author)
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