The term dongba (Nakhi: ²dto¹mba, Chinese: 东巴; pinyin: dōngbā; literally: 'Ba of the East') refers to the religion and the priests of the Nakhi people of Southwest China, who are masters of traditional culture, literature and Dongba symbols.
Role in society
The dongba as priests are believed to have originated from the Tibetan Bon religion. They play a major role in Nakhi culture and preach harmony between man and nature. Their costumes show strong Tibetan influence, and pictures of Bön gods can be seen on their headgear.
Dongba conduct religious rituals to propitiate the spirits, as they were believed to be living in every part of the natural world. The core of the Dongba religion is based on the belief that both man and nature are two half-brothers born of two mothers and the same father. This creates revenge from heaven, which falls upon humans who use up too much natural resources.
Prior to Tibetan influence, it is suggested that the original Nakhi priests were female llü-bu. At that time, statues or religious images could be widely seen everywhere.
A complete annotated translation of ancient Nakhi Dongba Books (traditional Chinese: 纳西东巴古籍译注全集), in 100 volumes, has been published.
Xu Duoduo. (2015). A Comparison of the Twenty-Eight Lunar Mansions Between Dabaism and Dongbaism. Archaeoastronomy and Ancient Technologies, 3 (2015) 2: 61-81 (links: 1. academia.edu; 2. Archaeoastronomy and Ancient Technologies).
- On the Twenty-Eight Lunar Mansions Systems in Dabaism and Dongbaism and on the analysis of the two writing systems according to an innovative interpretation, cf. XU Duoduo. (2015). A Comparison of the Twenty-Eight Lunar Mansions Between Dabaism and Dongbaism. «Archaeoastronomy and Ancient Technologies», 3 (2015) 2: 61-81 (links: 1. academia.edu; 2. Archaeoastronomy and Ancient Technologies)
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