An interesting comment on the Tibetan dragonfly expression, bla.ma.ma.ni
Odonatologica , Volume 6 - Issue 4 p. 259- 261
According to personal information from a former member of the Dalai Lama’s Cabinet, known as ”a recognized authority on the flora and fauna of Tibet”, the Tibetan dragonfly name, bla.ma.ma.ni, as discussed in ODONATOLOGICA 6 (1977): 71-73, refers to the dragonfly’s habit to stand still in the air, thus resembling the stick or the hand of a Tibetan lama, explaining a detail on the Tibetan painted scroll, thangka. The text of the Tibetan original letter and its English translation are reproduced. Through the mediation of Mr. GYATSO TSHERING, Director of the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, Dharmsala, India, we have received an interesting comment on the above mentioned previously unpublished expression, as discussed in ODONATOLOGICA 6 (2): 71-73; 1977. The author of the comment is Mr. J. TARING, former member of the Dalai Lama’s Cabinet, now living in Rajpur, Uttar Pradesh, India. According to information given by Mr. G. Tshering, Mr. J. Taring is ”a recognized authority on the flora and fauna of Tibet”. Since Mr. Taring’s letter, dated September 7, 1977, furnishes essential additional information to that presented in the said publication, we have requested Mr. Taring for permission to publish his original letter along with its English translation. The former is given in Figure 1, and the translation of the relevant text runs as follows: ... As far as I know there is only one kind of dragonfly in Tibet (Lhasa – 12000 ft.). It is yellow in colour and is only seen during summer, usually after the rains set in. They are known as ”lamamani” because they move about the air like a lamamani’s hand, stick or rod points at the thangka, while relating and chanting the story painted on it. Lamamanis fly about in the air usually above swamps, catching mosquitoes, and they can stand still like a helicopter, or like a lamamani keeps his stick still while explaining a particular detail on the thangka..
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