Mamo Chants

February 6th—February 13th (2018)

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    In our community, we do intensive practice, including the mamo practice in which we invoke protectors and wrathful deities to clear obstacles, during the ten-day dön season. Neutral day, the day before Shambhala Day, is when we do our yearly deep cleaning at our centers, and also in our homes. On Shambhala Day itself, rather than visit the lama at our nonexistent village monastery, the lama comes to us in the form of a live broadcast from Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche in the morning. Celebrations follow throughout the day.


    Tibetans depict mamos as fierce and ugly demonesses, black in color, with emaciated breasts and matted hair. They appear with sacks full of diseases. They cause havoc with a roll of their magical dice, creating pestilence and warfare. What does this mean now, in the West? In tantric Buddhism, obstacles arise when we lose insight, and those very obstacles, in the form of döns and mamos, remind us to increase our mindfulness and awareness. The wrathful activity of the mamos becomes tamed as part of the path. It helps to know that mamos and döns are actually inseparable from our own minds—which is what makes the taming possible. Giving them names and personalities enables us to tune into their energy.