The Crying ear

KhumbuNepal photo by Rutabagas US

I read the article “Sorrow on the mountain” in the November issue of National Geographic Magazine.

It tells the story of April 18, 2014 when a massive avalanche went down the upper Khumbu Icefall on Mount Everest- killing 16 mountain workers of which 13 were Sherpas and injured eight others. A survivor – Nima Chhiring Sherpa says “my ear was crying” or as they call “kan runu” – a sign of warning in his tradition.

I was fascinated by this phenomenon in which a high pitched, buzzing sound is heard. This same sort of sound is now being experienced by many people across the world who are experiencing a spiritual awakening. This information was no accident, I had to know more….

So I did some research and here is what I learned…

Sherpas are Buddhists from the Tibetan Nyingma tradition with largely unchanged practices going back to the teachings of Guru Rinpoche. As such they observe the basic Buddhist principles along with practices from the earlier Bon religon.*

Bon practices involve rituals to please the Gods of the lands and mountains. It is said that Guru Rinpoche was transported for three days in meditation at Khumbu, to another cave near Khumjung to battle demons that lay there. He succeeded in destroying many Demons and converting others to Buddhism. From that time onwards the whole area has been a special refuge or sacred place.*

These Nature Spirits are now bound by Oath to protect the values of Buddhism and offer protection from natural disasters and bad fortune through Bon ritual.*

The Goddess Jumo Miyo Lang Sagma resides on Mount Everest*


The Goddess Khumbu Yul -Lha is the the protector of Khumbu Sherpa*

I can only imagine that given the popularity of Everest hikes that more than a few corners have been cut in observing the respect and gratitude deserved to such powerful Deities….this is only one example in which humans have upset the delicate balance of Nature.

The Himalayan Buddhists and Bon traditions have a particular attraction to me -so I will write more at a later date.


Sorrow on the Mountain – National Geographic, November 2014

Available to view in full at:

* Protected Landscapes and Cultural and Spiritual Values, Edited by Josep-Maria Mallarach, Josep Maria Mallarach i Carrera, 2008


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