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Theosophical Encyclopedia

Dugpa

A Tibetan term for a sorcerer or “Brother of the Shadow.” It literally means “Red Caps,” a Tibetan Buddhist sect whose practices have been adulterated with the native Bon religion prior to the 14th century. According to Helena P. BLAVATSKY, when Tsong-ka-pa reformed Buddhism, strict rules were imposed on the Gelukpas or the “Yellow Caps.” This resulted in the split of the two sects, and the Dugpas gave themselves over “more than ever to sorcery, immorality, and drunkenness” (Theos. Glossary).

Dugpas therefore are human beings, and not demons or elementals. Blavatsky wrote that they were found more in Western Tibet and Bhutan. They perform their rites during the New Moon period, when certain benign influences are at their lowest. The Mahatma KOOT HOOMI wrote that dugpas can lay objects in mountain paths, such as rags impregnated with evil magnetism that, when stepped upon, can cause psychic shock that may cause a traveler to fall over a precipice.

On the other hand, the Mahatma stated that Adepts also keep dugpas (or ex-dugpas) to test candidates for discipleship, “to do our scavengers’ work, and to draw out the latent vices — if there be any” (ML, p. 232) “with the sole object of drawing out the whole innernature of the chela, most of the nooks and corners of which would remain dark and concealed for ever, were not an opportunity afforded to test each of these corners in turn” (ML, p. 223). One such probationer tested was Edmond FERN, who failed and was later expelled from the Theosophical Society.

Blavatsky stressed that it is essential for aspirants to maintain purity if dugpaship is to be avoided.

V.H.C.

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