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the new moon.1 The twelve months, in Tibetan Dava, are called the first, second, third month, &c, from one to twelve, or also by the names of the cyclic animals with the word "Dava" added.2 The months are subdivided into thirty days, in Tibetan Tsei, which are quoted by their numerals, and into weeks, in Tibetan Gungdun. Within the week the days bear the names of the sun, moon, and five planets.3 Certain symbolical signs are also connected with the different days, as in the following enumeration:
The days are subdivided into twenty-four hours, each hour into sixty minutes, in Tibetan Chusrang.
1 So my brother Hermann, the Chinese description of Tibet, and Hue. Turner, however, was informed that the first month was January; "Embassy," p. 321.
'Cunningham's "Ladak," p. 390. Csoma and Schmidt, Dictionaries sub voce zla.
3 In the Chinese description of Tibet it is said that the five elements are introduced in the denomination of the days of the week, but I have found nothing at all tending to confirm the statement.
t CHAPTER XVII.
DESCRIPTION OF VARIOUS TABLES USED FOR ASTROLOGICAL PURPOSES.
Importance Attributed To Astrology.—I. Tables Por Indjcating Lucky And Unlucky Periods. 1. The elements and cyclic animals. 2. The spirits of the season. 3. Figures and oracles for determining the character of a given day.—II. Tables for Direction In Important Undertakings 1. The square tortoise. 2. The circular tortoise. — III. Tables Op Destiny In Cases of Sickness. 1. The human figures. 2. Allegorical figures and dice.—IV. Tables Op Marriage. 1. Table with numerals. 2. Table with cyclic animals--- V. A Soothsaying Table With Numerous Figures And Sentences.
Importance attributed to astrology.
The Tibetans, like all primitive nations, attribute to the position of the sun in reference to the constellations, to the planets, to the direct active interference of gods and spirits, and such like, a very considerable influence upon the welfare of man in this and in future existences. To their priests, the Lamas, they ascribe the faculty of deciding what circumstances are to be considered as favourable, and what unfavourable, for counteracting the effect of influences prejudicial to man, and for obtaining the assistance of benevolent spirits. These ends they seek to IMPORTANCE ATTRIBUTED TO ASTROLOGY. 291
attain by the performance of certain ceremonies and the presentation of various offerings; and nearly every individual case requires to be accompanied by a ceremony,1 the efficacy of which does not, however, depend upon its being performed by any particular Lama, although the services of a Lama in great repute for sanctity are considered to increase the chances of the ceremony's producing the desired effect. But with respect to the science of "divination," having for object the determining of the character of a day, the residence for the time being of the gods, &c, the Lamas are not held to be equally endowed, one as the other. Those who have made a particular study of astrology, are applied to in all important cases having reference to the public welfare, as well as on such occasions as the marriage or the death of men of rank and wealth; whilst for subjects of minor importance every Lama is considered well-informed enough to give the required decision. In every monastery there is at least one divining Lama, who is then styled "the astrologer;" and larger ones even have one of the famous Choichong astrologers.2 These latter have a particular school in the monastery Garmakhya at Lhassa, whilst the ordinary astrologers are instructed in the science by an elder priest; the principal part of their preparatory labours is the profound study of numerous mystical works.
The decisions of the astrologers are pretended to be
1 Some of the ceremonies, considered the most efficacious, and therefore the most frequently performed, have been described in Chapter XV.
2 See p. 156.
s the result of mathematical calculations, combined with due observation of the phenomena to be taken into consideration for the case in point. The corresponding phenomena and their value vary considerably; there are, however, certain rules respecting the different modalities, and the explanation of these rules forms the subject of numerous books on astrology. The deference paid to the Lamas in such things depends to a great extent upon the observance of secrecy with reference to the combinations employed and the ceremonies performed; these things are kept a perfect secret to Tibetans as well as to Europeans; and even Chibu Lama, who, in his intercourse with Europeans, had laid aside many a superstition, showed great reserve in communicating to my brother Hermann the clue to symbolical designs, or such like; although neither Chibu nor any other Lama ever showed any particular hesitation to sell such objects, when no detailed explanation was demanded. The St. Petersburg libraries, also, contain but few in which the rules for their interpretation are given. Even the different provinces have each its own peculiar principles of divination, and are but indifferently acquainted with the operations practised by, and the formularies in use among their neighbours. Many of the tables and symbolical diagrams described further on proved quite a novelty to the Lama Gombojew, when he was requested to transcribe for me into capital letters those sentences which in the original were written in the small characters.
To the difficulties of obtaining information was added that arising from the vagueness with which all natives IMPORTANCE ATTRIBUTED TO ASTROLOGY." 293
speak when attempting any explanation, even of subjects far less mystical than astrology and divination. This may be offered as an excuse for the following details not being so complete and satisfactory as might be desired. And, besides, I could not well alter them much, as in their existing state they were best calculated to make us acquainted with the notions of the Tibetans concerning the natural phenomena and the functions of their gods.
Tables used for the following purposes .shall be described:
1. Tables for indicating lucky and unlucky periods.
2. Tables of direction, to determine towards what part of the compass the face of a man is to be turned when praying, and what direction his feet must take when he is about to set out on an important undertaking.
3. Tables of destiny, consulted in cases of illness.
4. Tables of marriage, employed to arrive at a knowledge of the chances of happiness afforded by some proposed matrimonial alliance.
5. A soothsaying table, with numerous figures and sentences.
TABLES FOR INDICATING LUCKY AND UNLUCKY PERIODS.
1. The elements and cyclic animals.
Rules and regulat ions connected with or having reference to the calendar, as is the case with the table here described,