Himalayan Art Resources

Subject: Rebirth Game

Divination Page

Book Review Video: Rebirth: The Tibetan Game of Liberation

This Tibetan board game, teaching the basic principles of Buddhism, was created by Sakya Pandita Kunga Gyaltsen (1182-1251) to entertain his ailing mother while she was recovering from an illness. Each player starts with a token on the opening square of the game and then moves around the board based on the role of the dice. The lower squares where a player can land represent the lower realms of existence such as hell and the ghost realms. The upper squares on the board are the various pure lands, buddha realms, the ten bodhisattva bhumis and finally enlightenment. It is claimed by some Tibetan informants that the Rebirth Game is sometimes used as a form of divination.

Jeff Watt [updated 8-2019).

(See Rebirth: The Tibetan Game of Liberation. Jody Kent, Mark Tatz. Anchor Press, 1977).