Thursday, December 20, 2012

Circumambulation: Clockwise & Counter Clockwise


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"Circumambulation (from Latin circum around + ambulātus to walk) is the act of moving around a sacred object....Circumambulation of temples or deity images is an integral part of devotional practice (known in Sanskrit as pradakśiṇā)."

"...Then the other eight warriors gathered around him and sang a song of praise, showering him with flowers. They circumambulated him right and left. ....."

Bön...... "The Bönpo in the Northern Hemisphere traditionally circumambulate (generally) in a counter-clockwise and 'widdershins' direction, that is a direction that runs counter to the apparent movement of the Sun within the sky from the vantage of ground. This runs counter to the prevalent directionality of Buddhism (in general) and orthodox Hinduism. This is in keeping with the aspect and directionality of the 'Sauvastika' (Tibetan: yung-drung), sacred to the Bönpo. In the Southern Hemisphere, the Bonpo practitioner is required to elect whether the directionality of 'counter-clockwise' (deosil in the Southern Hemisphere) or running-counter to the direction of the Sun (widdershins in the Southern Hemisphere) is the key intention of the tradition. The resolution to this conundrum is left open to the practitioner, their 'intuitive insight' (Sanskrit: prajna) and their tradition."....Circumambulate (generally) in a counter-clockwise direction.......Followers of the Jain and Bönpo religions circumambulate Mt Kailash in a counterclockwise direction.

"Kora is both a type of pilgrimage and a type of meditation in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Kora is performed by making a walking circumambulation around a temple, stupa, or other sacred site. Some traditional kora important to the Tibetan tradition include circumambulating Namtso Lake and Mount Kailash, both sacred sites in Tibet. Kora is also performed around Swayambhunath and Bodhnath, two important stupas in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal.....Kora may be performed while spinning prayer wheels, chanting mantra, counting mala, or repeatedly prostrating oneself. In this way kora functions as a mind-calming meditative exercise. In accordance with Buddhist tradition and belief, kora is always performed in a clock-wise direction.

Sufism...."Everything in this creation is spinning counter-clockwise, from our atoms and the electrons that spin around the nucleus to the earth which spins around itself and moves counter-clockwise around the sun. As everything is spinning in that love of the Divine and in submission to the Divine power that is powering all of creation, Sufi Masters were teaching us to mimic that reality. Therefore, in Sufi whirling the body represents the earth and the heart represents the sun. As the earth rotates around the sun, the Divine is showing you that when you are moving towards that process of enlightenment .."...

"Navbahar, the main monastery at Balkh became the center of higher Buddhist study for all of Central Asia.....An Arab author, Omar ibn al-Azraq Al-Kermani, wrote a detailed account of Navbahar at the beginning of the 8th century that is preserved in a later 10th-century work, the Kitab al-Buldan by Ibn al-Faqih al-Hamadhani. He described Navbahar in terms strikingly similar to the Kaaba in Mecca, the holiest site of Islam. He described that the main temple had a stone cube in the center, draped with cloth, and that devotees circumambulated it and made prostration, as is the case with the Kaaba. The stone cube referred to the platform on which a stupa stood, as was the custom in Bactrian temples. The cloth that draped it was in accordance with Persian custom of showing veneration that applied equally to Buddha statues as well as to stupas.....

FIVE RITES....."The Five Tibetan Rites is a system of exercises reported to be more than 2,500 years old which were first publicized by Peter Kelder in a 1939 publication titled The Eye of Revelation....."when performing the First Rite, spinning must always be performed in a clockwise direction. He also states that Bradford clearly recalled that the Maulawiyah, otherwise known as "Whirling Dervishes", always spun from left to right, in a clockwise direction......No mention is made of the orientation of the palms, although the original illustration of the Rite in the 1939 edition of The Eye of Revelation clearly depicts both palms as facing toward the ground...... Here arises a point of contention: the Whirling Dervishes spin in the counter-clockwise direction, with the left palm facing down, towards the earth, and the right palm facing up, towards heaven. However, this discrepancy may find partial resolution in the fact that Tibetan Buddhist yoga regards clockwise rotation to be favorable, whereas counter-clockwise rotation is considered to be unfavorable."....

Mount Kailash.... "Thousands make a pilgrimage to Kailash, following a tradition going back thousands of years. Pilgrims of several religions believe that circumambulating Mount Kailash on foot is a holy ritual that will bring good fortune. The peregrination is made in a clockwise direction by Hindus and Buddhists. Followers of the Jain and Bönpo religions circumambulate the mountain in a counterclockwise direction."

Hindu....."In many Hindu temples, the temple structure reflects the symbolism of the Hindu association of the spiritual transition from daily life to spiritual perfection as a journey through stages. Ambulatory passageways for circumambulation are present through which worshipers move in a clockwise direction, starting at the sanctuary doorway and moving inward toward the inner sanctum where the deity is enshrined. This is a translation of the spiritual concept of transition through levels in life into bodily movements by the worshipers as they move inwardly through ambulatory halls to the most sacred centre of spiritual energy of the deity. Circumambulation is done in a clockwise direction and in an odd rather than even number of times. Circumbulatory walking around the shrine, by keeping time, is a common form of Hindu prayer. The circumbulary pathway made of stone around the shrine is called the Pradakshina path."

Islam......"Tawaf (طواف) is one of the Islamic rituals of pilgrimage. During the Hajj and Umrah, Muslims are to circumambulate the Kaaba (most sacred site in Islam) seven times, in a counterclockwise direction.....Circumambulation is to go in circles around a particular object. In Islam, worshippers and pilgrims do this around the Ka'aba at Mecca. Pre-Islamic pagans used do it to please the moon god Hubal, the 360 deities and Allah (who was merely one among the many deities worshipped there). Muhammad himself used to do it, even before the 360 idols inside the Ka'aba were removed....a menstruating woman is forbidden to enter a mosque or to engage in ṭawāf (circumambulation of the Kaʿba)."

Zen Buddhism....Kinhin....."In Zen Buddhism kinhin is the walking meditation that is practiced between long periods of the sitting meditation known as zazen. Practitioners walk clockwise around a room while holding their hands in shashu, with one hand closed in a fist, while the other hand grasps or covers the fist. During walking meditation each step is taken after each full breath.

Bahá'ís....... "Perform circumambulation of both the Shrines of the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh during their pilgrimage to Haifa and Bahjí, in Israel. While circumambulating, observance of these Manifestations of God is done in complete silence and also performed on holy days such as the birth and ascension of Bahá'u'lláh as well as the birth and martyrdom of the Báb.

Freemasonry....."Vedic Circumambulation, from India, is a religious practice consisting of walking around a sacred place as a sign of veneration and piety. Vedic Circumambulation or "Walking the Way" is a form of deep veneration with origins dating to ancient India, where to circumambulate three times was a means of honoring a greatly respected person.....In Pradakshina (Jainist Circumambulation), we keep the holy object(s) always on our right side. Therefore, we circumambulate (go around) the holy place three times (Counter-Clockwise) keeping it on our right side, that is walking around from our left to the right.".....

Coriolis effect....."Water draining:a vortex appeared and consistently began to rotate in a counter-clockwise direction (the experiment was performed in Boston, Massachusetts, in the Northern hemisphere)....water rotation in home bathrooms under normal circumstances is not related to the Coriolis effect or to the rotation of the earth, and no consistent difference in rotation direction between toilets in the northern and southern hemispheres can be observed."..

Native Americans..."American Indians enact many rites of circumambulation; among the Pueblo peoples the cacique perambulates the borders of each field before it is planted.....The Wi-wanyang-wa-c'i-pi (Sundance Ceremony): The only participants allowed in the center will be Native People...... three days are spent in dance, prayer, and meditiation. The men and women enter the circle each morning, and dance without food or water. The people dance in a clockwise motion, men on the inside, women on the outside. This goes on for the first two days, the dancers resting only when really nessasary, and only are allowed to drink sage tea. On the third day, which is commonly piercing day, the heyoka (sacred clowns, backwards people, and very spiritual people) come out to dance and raise the spirits of the dancers. They dance counter clockwise and traditionally wear black and white. The heyoka often are dressed in ridiculous clothes, and spend much of their time trying to make the dancers laugh.

Ka’aba ..."Today, the Black Stone is enclosed in a massive silver frame and has been worn nearly smooth by the touches and kisses of untold millions of worshipers over the past 14 centuries. It plays a special role during the penultimate ritual of the Hajj, when pilgrims circle the Ka’aba 7 times and point to the Black Stone once every circuit....The Black Stone, or “Al-Hajarul Aswad”, is an ancient Muslim relic that according to Islamic tradition, fell from heaven to form the altar upon which the biblical Adam and Eve performed their first sacrifice. The Black Stone was venerated before the founding of Islam, and is said to have been positioned at the eastern cornerstone of the holy Ka’aba in the center of Mecca’s Grand Mosque by the prophet Muhammad himself."

"In Bhutan, the spiritual life of the Layaps and Lunaps is a fascinating demonstration of what anthropologists call religious synchronism. Buddhism was introduced into Bhutan from Tibet in the 7th century but in these communities it did not simply replace the existing animistic and shamanistic practices. The animism and the Buddhism complement each other. For example, local animistic gods and demons have been made into defenders of Buddhism and there is a happy balance between the two. In Lunana for example, there are sacred forests that belongs to the Due Shing, or demon trees. People entering this forest without the permission of these spirits will be punished. When people fall ill or suffer misfortune it is often believed that they have disturbed or displeased such spirits. The Layaps and Lunaps each have their own adaptation to this convergence of belief systems - in Lunana you must walk around Chortens (shrines) in an anticlockwise direction to please the spirits and in Laya you must move around them clockwise. If the spirit world is ever disturbed then a 'tsip', or astrologer, is consulted to appease the spirits. The astrologer for this reason can be a very influential person in the village extending his influence beyond religion to village politics.".....

"A Scotch dance, the Reel, still keeps up the memory of the old Celtic circular dance. There is, also, the Deisol, or practice of turning sun-ways, to bless the sun. This was from right to left, as with Dancing Dervishes now, or the old Bacchic dance from east to west. Plautus wrote, "When you worship the gods, do it turning to the right hand." Poseidonius the Stoic, referring to the Celts, said, "At their feasts, the servant carries round the wine from right to left. Thus they worship their gods, turning to the right." The Highland mother, with a choking child, cries out, "Deas-iul! the way of the South." A Dîsul Sunday is still kept up in Brittany.".....

"Widdershins (sometimes withershins, widershins or widderschynnes) is a term meaning to go counter-clockwise, to go anti-clockwise, or to go lefthandwise, or to walk around an object by always keeping it on the left. i.e. literally, it means to take a course opposite the apparent motion of the sun viewed from the Arctic Circle, (given the centre of this imaginary clock, is the ground, the viewer stands upon)."

Judaism....."In Judaism circles are sometimes walked anticlockwise. For example when a bride circles her groom seven times before marriage, when dancing around the bimah during Simchat Torah (or when dancing in a circle at any time), or when the Torah is brought out of the Ark (Ark is approached from the right, and departed from the left). This has its origins in the Beis Hamikdash, where in order not to get in each other's way, the priests would walk around the altar anticlockwise while performing their duties. When entering the Beis Hamikdash the people would enter by one gate, and leave by another. The resulting direction of motion was anticlockwise. In Judaism, starting things from the right side is considered to be important, since the right side is the side of Chessed (kindness) while the left side is the side of Gevurah (judgement). For example, it is a law to put on the right shoe first and take off the left shoe first (unless one is left-handed)."

"Druids.....In Scottish folklore, Sunwise or Sunward (clockwise) was considered the “prosperous course”, turning from east to west in the direction of the sun. The opposite course was known in Scotland as widdershins (Lowland Scots), or tuathal (Scottish Gaelic, lit. northerly), and would have been counterclockwise. It is perhaps no coincidence that, in the Northern Hemisphere, "sunwise" and "clockwise" run in the same direction. This is probably because of the use of the sun as a timekeeper on sundials etc., whose features were in turn transferred to clock faces themselves. Another influence may also have been the right-handed bias in many human cultures......This is descriptive of the ceremony observed by the druids, of walking round their temples by the south, in the course of their directions, always keeping their temples on their right. This course (deiseal) was deemed propitious, the contrary course, tuathal, fatal, or at least, unpropitious. From this ancient superstition are derived several Gaelic customs which were still observed around the turn of the twentieth century, such as drinking over the left thumb, as Toland expresses it, or according to the course of the sun."

Southern-hemisphere sundial in Perth, Australia. See that the hour marks run anticlockwise.

"Sundials in the Southern Perth, Australia, the hour marks run anti clockwise.....A sundial at a particular latitude in one hemisphere must be reversed for use at the opposite latitude in the other hemisphere. A vertical direct south sundial in the Northern Hemisphere becomes a vertical direct north sundial in the Southern Hemisphere. To position a horizontal sundial correctly, one has to find true North or South. The same process can be used to do both. The gnomon, set to the correct latitude, has to point to the true South in the Southern hemisphere as in the Northern Hemisphere it has to point to the true North. Also the hour numbers go in opposite directions, so on a horizontal dial they run anti-clockwise rather than clockwise.".... Sunshine in your pocket!. "Making a sundial for the Southern hemisphere.


John Hopkins.....Northern New Mexico….December 2012



  1. The circumambulation is also essential for the practices of the Tengrian (Tangraist) religion. According to the account given by the Volga Bulgarian poet Köl Gali (12th - 13th century) of the ceremonies (tayre) of the old Tengrian religion in the Volga basin they included circumambulations which were done three times in clockwise direction around the sacred objects in the sanctuaries (kärämäts). The latter were so-called "prayer mountains" (joke-tau) - artificial mounds descendent of the ancient Steppe kurgans made upon the burials of kings (similar to the Buddhist stupas) - and sacred trees called Boy Terek (lit. "high tree/poplar") representing the mythical world-tree (which from the other hand correspond to the Bodhi-trees in the Buddhist temples). The priest leading the ceremony (kelbir or "spiritual guide") held a staff topped with a ball of felt, crescent moon of metal and red horse tail (representing fire or the life-force) which corresponds to the sacred symbol (adopted also in Buddhism) of the divine triad in Mithraism and Bon - sun, moon and flame. It visually resembles the Indian letter rendering the sacred syllable "Hum". Köl Gali himself belonged to a Dervish order called El-Hum the members of which blended the old ancestral beliefs with Sufi mysticism and preach equality and universal brotherhood. According to the gloss the word "Hum" in its name was taken from the old sacred language where it meant "blessing" or "boon". The symbol of the El-Hum Brotherhood was an image of eight-spoke wheel (like the Buddhist Dharmachakra).
    The clockwise rotation correspond to the visible apparent motion of the sun and the heavens (Kök Tängri or "the Blue Sky"), while from the other hand the name of the deity (Tŋri) with its four runic letters is related to the four elements and their respective colours representing the four cardinal points of the compass in counter-clockwise direction. The latter corresponds to the higher invisible (spiritual) heavens called "the Eternal Sky" (Mengü Tängri).

  2. imortant narratio but oldest narration। have been
    found from india...