Monday, March 24, 2014

The Ghost Dance (Native American Buddhism)

Hendon Harris, Wisdom Quarterly, Xochitl, CC Liu, Ashley Wells (eds.)
Native Americans are the indigenouss people of what is now the USA (
Lama in ritual costume and American bison mask performs ghost dance at Taer Monastery in Xining, NW China, Qinghai Province, Feb. 5, 2012. The ghost dance is performed across Tibetan regions to ward off disasters and bring luck and fortune (Zhang Hongxiang/Xinhua).
Tibetan ritual, California (Sacramento Bee)
There is a link between the Native American "Ghost Dance" (Nanissáanah), which so frightened the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) in the late 19th century, and the Tibetan Buddhist Ghost Dance tradition troubling China today.

The basis for the Native American Ghost Dance, the sacred circle dance, is a traditional ritual used by many Native Americans since prehistoric times.
Lakota chief (PRIR, 1899/W)
A new form was first practiced among the Nevada Paiute in 1889. The practice swept throughout much of the Western United States, quickly reaching areas of California and Oklahoma.
Psychologist Michael Katz, in his book Tibetan Dream Yoga, writes: "The last known enactments of the Ghost Dance were held in the 1950s among the Shoshoni. A contemporary Native American leader, Mary Thunder, upon seeing the [Tibetan] Vajra Dance performed, commented on the similarity of the two dances."
The Ghost Dance is a spiritual ritual to regain the tribe's pre-invasion life (
When the Tibetan Ghost Dance was performed at Taer Monastery, Chinese media reported, "The ghost dance is performed across Tibetan regions to ward off disasters and bring luck and fortune."
Buffalo in Tibet? (Eadweard Muybridge)
"According to the prophet [of peace] Jack Wilson (Wovoka)'s teachings [which prophesied a peaceful end to white expansion, while preaching goals of clean, honest living and cross-cultural cooperation by Native Americans], proper practice of the dance would reunite the living with the spirits of the dead and bring peace, prosperity, and unity to native peoples throughout the region" (James Mooney, The Ghost Dance Religion and Wounded Knee, NY: Dover Publications, 1896).

It is characterized by a revival of many traditional beliefs and by the fervent expectation that a time of perpetual bliss was immanent (
White postmortem photography (GG)
The call to return to the Ghost Dance was a call... [to the Native people, to the First Nations, to resist British colonial imperialism, American expansionism, displacement, and genocide. The same holds true when Tibetan Buddhist dancers perform the same ritual, frightening Chinese officials who in Tibet are the imperial forces, expansionists, and perpetrators of displacement and a cultural genocide.]

No dance means war (Siege of New Ulm)
The Sioux variation on the Ghost Dance tended towards millenarianism, an innovation that distinguished the Sioux interpretation from Jack Wilson's original teachings. The Caddo Nation still practices the Ghost Dance today (Phil Cross, "Caddo Songs and Dances," Caddo Legacy from Caddo People).

Moonlight Dance: Early "Indians" of India
Ashley Wells (ed.), Wisdom Quarterly, Wikipedia edit
When the Moon appears over the hills...
Thabal Chongba is a popular Manipuri Indian folk dance associated with the Yaoshang festival. Manipuri Indians, or Meiteis, are the majority ethnic group of Manipur, India; they are made up of seven clans, who trace their written history back to 33 AD).
They know our dances in ancient India? (SW)
The literal meaning of thabal is "moonlight," and chongba means "dance" or "leap," thus "dancing in the moonlight" (Encyclopaedia of Indian Tribes, Shyam Singh Shashi, Anmol Publications, 1997). Traditionally conservative parents in Manipur, India, did not allow their daughters to go out and meet young men without their consent. Thabal Chongba therefore provided the only chance for girls to meet and talk to boys (Grapevine). In earlier times, this dance was performed in the moonlight accompanied by folk songs. The music is rhythmic beating of drums accompanied by other instruments....
We need Native boy dancers (Hans Thoma)
As soon as the Moon rises over the hills, the flute, the drums, and the cymbals start pouring out music. The boys and girls in a circle clutch each other's hands with rhythms of music slow and fast, high and low, upbeat and down. If the number is great, they may form two or three rows so everyone can participate. More
"Native Chineseans" - Tibetans post-Chinese invasion, Potala Pueblo Palace, Lhasa (WQ)

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