Endangered dance - CHAM
“The very core of the dances is to be a representation
of the activity of the mind essence beyond conceptual thinking.”
His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche
Cham dances are mystical dances offering moral instruction
relating to compassion for sentient beings
and are held to bring merit to all who see them.
Monks meditate for up to a month in preparation for the dances, during which time they visualize and recite mantras invoking specific protective deities.
Then, for as long as a week, they perform prayer ceremonies, make offerings, and invoke the deities to aid in benefiting all sentient beings.
During the dances the monks draw the negative, destructive minds, called maras, into am effigy made of barley dough. In the culmination of the ritual the dance master cuts open the effigy, releasing the negative energies which he draws inside of himself in order to show the negative forces, or maras, the way of peace and liberation, thus transforming them into inert, or even positive energy.
The practice of Cham was once most widespread in Tibet,
but continues today in a relatively pristine culture in the kingdom of Bhutan.
Cham also is practiced in Mongolia and the Indian regions of Ladakh and Zanskar.
Some cham dances are the products of mystical visions or dreams
where an entire dance in all its detail would appear outside of time to a great leader.
The introduction of dances is rare, and its occurrence is historically significant.