In Memoriam

In Memoriam

 

Pau Karma Wangchuk

 

Wangchuk performing treatment

Wangchuk performing treatment[

It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of Pau Karma Wangchuk on the evening of January 26, 2008.

 

After his initial calling to shamanism when he was 8 years old, Pau Wangchuk spent the next eighty years of his life treating all patients who presented themselves for healing in the Tibetan refugee camp in Nepal where he settled after fleeing the Chinese invasion of 1959. In the 1980’s, stories of his healing abilities reached His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who summoned Pau Wangchuk to Dharamsala India to treat the Tibetans living in exile and to be honored by His Holiness. He continued to treat patients right up until the time of his death.

 

It was such an honor to be taken into Pau Wangchuk’s life and family and allowed to film his story. He granted me unprecedented access. But more importantly then that, he became my dear friend. I will cherish the many memories I have of our time together.

 

Pau Rhichoe

 

Rhichoe Ceremony

Pau Rhichoe Conducting a Ceremony

It is with great sadness that I share the news of Pau Rhichoe's passing in March of 2012 . Beloved husband, father and grandfather and my cherished friend. He was a man of contrasts. While doing shamanic healing…he because so wrathful that, during one of his treatment sessions, a young granddaughter began crying as soon as he went into his trance state…and continued to cry until he exited that trance state at the end of the treatment. Once he had come back into himself…she ran up to him and hugged him and asked him where had he gone. Children were drawn to his gentle soul. Animals would come and eat out of his hand. Yet, because of how wrathful his treatments were…most people avoided coming to him for treatment. For me…I loved watching him work. Upon arriving at his home, he would greet me with a warm hug and immediately pull out the old churn to begin the process of making me a cup of butter tea. He called me his daughter. What an honor!

 

Pau Nyima

 

Pau Nyima Dhondup

Pau Nyima

It is with great sadness that I share the news that Pau Nyima passed away September 19, 2013. Today as I was sitting with Tashi, she shared that Pau Nyima always spoke about his and mine special connection. That during this past summer, when he was so ill, he asked each day if I was coming. That he wanted to be able to see me one more time. And so we did….getting to sit together one last time holding hands and smiling at each other. He looked good. I actually came a week earlier then usual…how thankful am I about that decision. Tomorrow I will make my way to the camp at 4 AM. Tashi has asked that I participate as a family member in the offering of a final kata (Tibetan greeting scarf) and flower malla to his body before it is taken from the house down to the cremation place at 5 AM. What an honor. And they want me to go with the body…something that they are not allowed to do…so I will. Pau Nyima looked at life with the eyes of a child filled with wonderment. He would become so animated when he told stories that his voice would rise and fall in pitch and he would trill his 'r's' and gesture with his arms. His laugh frequently became a giggle. He called me 'Sister'…using the English word. If others were with us, he would pretend to need them to translate. But if we were alone, he'd chat with me in English and Nepali…only to go mute when the translator came back into the room. He outfitted me with all that is needed to be a Tibetan shaman…although this tradition, they believe, can only be practiced by a male in their lineage who has had a calling at puberty. He asked me once if, when I was in the airplane, the sun was above me or below me…and was the sun above the clouds. When I said that yes, the sun was above the clouds, he slapped his leg and shouted 'I knew it..that is how shadows are made!' And when I said that even when in an airplane that was high above the clouds…still the sun was much higher, he again, slapped his leg in glee and shouted 'I knew it'. He lamented that when the people of the camp were sick, they loved him…but when they were healthy they shunned him as if he was a pariah. Folks in the camp are already wondering what they will do when they become ill…now that the last Tibetan shaman has passed. All I know is that I have lost a treasured friend.

 

Sarah Sifers