Sharp Practice: The Ritual Dagger in Bön Sorcery and Vajrayana Buddhism by Robert Fitzgerald is a quick yet deeply thoughtful study of the Phurba, a stylized dagger used by practitioners of the ancient Bön animist practice and Vajrayana Buddhism.
Bön originated from the pre-historical country of Zhang Zhung, a geographical area that once included Tibet and predates Buddhism by many millennia.
It is an instrument of both destruction and manifestation, division and unity. The ritual dagger is a very versatile tool in the Bön magicians took kit and one that could and perhaps should be considered by the modern magician in their own magical practice. It can be used equally as well in white or black magic. However, as with any powerful magic the magician should be warned against its haphazard use.
“…warnings are given repeatedly that the work of the dagger is fraught with danger and perils…”
We find that the Phurba has many qualities that western occultist will resonate with as it has similarities to the magicians wand, athame, witches coffin nail, the needle of the voodoo portioner and yes even the working tools of a Freemason. The Phurba is used in rites of exorcism, binding of demonic forces and the achievement of enlightenment from dualistic thought.
“The Phurba is a multiplicity unto itself: at its most sublime it is manifest nature of mind, or buddha-nature. It is also the nail of exorcism that frees a plot of land of noxious spirits and penetrates the vile body of the enemy…the maras Demonicentities that harass and cause illness in humans.”
Of particular interest to me in this unique book is the magical workings of Nail Sorcery, whereby nails or daggers are used to curse and pin down one’s enemies.
“Other rituals using human bone kila were very popular in India, in Vedic times, and no doubt in secret up to the present day, but especially ones in which the effigy (or in some cases an actual human victim) is pinned down and stabbed repeatedly in the groin and throat. The purpose of such barbarity is clear, for with these two physical locales are vital chakric centers of power without which the victim becomes powerless, and in the case of a living human being, inevitably dies of pain and blood loss.”
Although this book shines a scholarly light on the Phurba used in Bön and Vajrayana Buddhism there are golden nuggets to be found for practitioners of all magical disciplines and has a rightful place in any occult library.