The Tamangs who live in Kathmandu enjoy their own tradition and a well-developed system of rituals.
They have their lamas, or Buddhist priests taught – usually from the youngest childhood years – according to the tradition of the Nyingma school of Mahayana Buddhism.
In addition, it is known that the man bearing the name Lama belongs to the Tamang caste. History presents several versions about how and when they appeared on the lands of Nepal. It is known for certain that for several hundred years, the Timal region has been inhabited and is considered to be the indigenous lands of this people.
Sonam Lama, whom I want to present today comes from this region. As a child, he remained under the strict care of his uncle, Karma Choldri, whose Tibetan name was Tulku Rapten, drawing teachings from him.
It is thanks to him that he has extensive knowledge of Tibetan medicine as well as cosmology of Tibetan Buddhism and rituals in the Nyingma tradition. To people who come to him with their problems, lama offers comprehensive solutions covering traditional Tibetan knowledge and medicine with a special application of shamanic rituals. Arriving to a small living room, where the Lama welcomes the guests, I had the opportunity to witness a very interesting ritual associated with good luck.
Among the many different tangha depicting the Buddhist forms in the Nyingma tradition, the main place in the Lama Clinic is a tangka depicting His Holiness Penor Rinpoche, recognized as the leaseholder of the Buddhist tradition of Palyul Nyingmapa. In addition, the room is filled with Tibetan ritual texts, devotional articles and boxes of herbs of Tibetan medicine.
Sonama Lama currently lives in Kathmandu near the Boudanath stupa. There are many Tamangs and people of Sherpa caste, as well as Bohun – Brahmin, the caste of Hindu teachers.
All three of these communities co-exist harmoniously here, and sometimes they live in one common space. Several times asking about some vague issues for the Nepali, I was sent to Sonam Lama. One day a brahmin family defined the phrase: “he knows everything.”
To know everything is an ordinary practical ability to understand the nature of surrounding phenomena and see the consequences of cause and effect. In the Vedic country, such practical skills are called siddhi. This siddhi allowed Sonam Lam to maintain his family of nine children, because there are always people who need help from someone who sees. In addition, there were basic skills related to knowledge of Tibetan medicine and Buddhist rituals.
Lama with her wife has five sons and four daughters . The age difference between them is not large – they were born successively every 1 or every 2 years. All children are already grown up, the youngest daughter of Yulsang is sixteen. The remaining eight children – three older daughters and five sons already have their families. The sons serve – like a father – as lamas in the Nyingma tradition. The youngest of them studied in Mysore in Karnataka, India and currently resides there. The other two live in the Jorpati region near Baudha, two others in the countryside near Kathmandu.
The lama’s house is full of children, their own and neighbors’, who just come to him with their worries. Lama lives with his wife Thulimaya, whose function is to take care of the small Buddha’s temple on Tinchuli Chowk on the estate. Just as the sons take over priestly priesthood, the daughters and daughter-in-law take over the social function of the mother….