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Boris Dochkaev, Tachal



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Terbish, Baasanjav 


Tachal refers to a state when the deceased misses his/her living relatives and develops attachment. In order to prevent tachal, people consult with lamas as to how to bury the deceased correctly – i.e. when to take the corpse out of the house, how to treat it, how to bury it etc. During funerals people have all sorts of worries. It happens that following a funeral someone among the relatives sees the deceased in their dreams. That person may think: ‘I saw the deceased in my dreams. He asks for meat. It is tachal’. So, the relatives run and buy meat. After cooking it, they bring the meat to a temple to ask the lama to help them get rid of tachal. In this case, what happened is not tachal. According to Buddhism, in 49 days of one’s death, his/her consciousness gets reborn. That is why lamas read some prayers to calm that person. After that the person goes home and feels alright. If the deceased is reborn as a hungry ghost (preta) or a similar being, then it causes trouble to the living by demanding food or drink. Whether the case is tachal or not it should be determined by a lama or an astrologist. They look at special texts or make a divination with a rosary. In most cases, people deceive themselves by thinking that they have tachal around. I heard about this from Shal’van Gegyan when he called at our prayer house during his visit to Kalmykia.



Death, soul

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Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge

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Sponsored by Arcadia Fund, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin