Comments on “Making a kangling for chöd”


sound quality

I'm wondering whether putting wax through the central channel (the stage you omitted) might also produce clearer sound quality. I tried to research this a little but couldn't find anything definitive. All the instruments I can think of that produce a great, 'hollow-ish' sound, have smooth walls. Conch shells, for example. Maybe this affects the sound wave trajectory.



Hello again!

Dré = demon, mèl = watching?

Regarding fake aging: two main signs of fake aging are dye and knife marks. I've sent you a photo of this. As well as the dye, you can see where someone's used a knife to repeatedly hack along the bone. I've no idea why a bone with many small identical knife hack marks is supposed to look ancient, but apparently it does. Maybe the chips help retain the very antique looking dye.


Fantastic - even though my

Fantastic - even though my kangling is just a touristy one that has been minimally improved I have a huge affection for it. In fact recently in Aro Ling we've been looking at chod and kanglings. I'll have to direct the class to this page for more gloriously gruesome details.

Thank you!

Ah, interesting about the smooth walls. I'll have to check that next time I'm at a retreat where there are many kanglings to compare.

Thank you very much for the fake-aging photo! I have added it to the page. I'd forgotten about the knife-marks; I think your explanation is certainly correct.


This post is really

This post is really disgusting.

I was once told that if we had no Kangling we could use our own bare hand as a Kangling, since we would be blowing through bone anyway. I own a wooden Kangling, it's way more confortable to my own fears :)

I thought those tourist kangling's where made of plastic, they seem so artificial.

Better to build your own. Great job. The whole process is really disgusting :)

All the best,

Sherab Dorje

It looks shiny, but it'snot

Dharmadhatu's picture

Didn't expect to see this here. What a great idea! While I opted for pig's blood because it was much easier to find than the super-authentic substances you mentioned in the article, I think the leather on your Kangling is far superior to the leather on mine. I purchased the femur from Ngakma Shardröl, and when I received it, it was pretty clean already. During the sanding, I was getting a some dust in my nose, so I decided to wet the surface of the bone with some snotty spit. The mostly white-ish bone became a lovely, sickly yellow with reddish undertones in the little crevices. In some places, it almost looks like the bone has been infused with oil. This process does not appear to have damaged the bone, and I have used the same technique on some bone I bought for cemetery ornaments. The spit was used with 1200 sandpaper, and while the bone has an almost mirror finish, the natural biological features are still intact.

Do you think you'll do a Kapala page next?



Natural ingredients are usually best!

No plans to do a kapala page... This one was a ridiculous amount of work!

It was fun, and I'm glad some readers have enjoyed it, but I think I'll prioritize material that has a larger potential audience!


Thank you for this text. I will have to make/repurpose my own kangling in future, and this will be useful reference material.


caveofthesun's picture

Thank you so much for this great tutorial!!

Could I use any species femur? For my type of practice human is not essential.

Animal bone kanglings

Unfortunately, I don't really know anything about animal bone kanglings. I assume that any species (with a large enough leg) would work in terms of making a sound. As far as religious function goes—check with your teacher!

(If you don't have a teacher—you'll have to take a guess and try it out, I suppose...)

Great article - maybe interested in a reprint


I'm the editor of Sacred Hoop Magazine - a magazine about shamanism - but we include the earthier end of Tibetan Buddhism too. I took refuge with Ngak’chang Rinpoche, stayed with him privately several times in his house in Cardiff (he taught me thangka painting) and he's a subscriber to Sacred Hoop

I've been thinking of writing an article about human bone use in Tibetan Buddhism for some time - I'm in the middle of writing a book on Central Asian Buddhist and shamanic ritual objects - ritual objects are my main focus of shamanism, and thought an article in Sacred Hoop would be good to have and I have a fair few human bone objects in my own collection for practice and also I buy and sell objects via my gallery

I really loved your article - it was so funny (and accurate).

Would it be possible to have reprint permission for it to appear in Sacred Hoop.. we cant pay but we'll produce it so it looks great - we're full colour and pride ourselves in our visual presentation.

I hope to hear from you



non-human bones

caveofthesun's picture


I will try and see, I do not have a human teacher, guess my path is pretty different,
however, it is not a good way, for me, to buy such important items, they must be "found" as the way it came to me, is part of its power (emotions etc evoked). I had charnel ground initiation and have therefore an assortment of bones, but none a complete femur. Species is not important to me, as all beings are related, and I have learned loads from non-humans. Time to get my lazy self back into a charnel ground and find a femur.

Thanks again.

Maybe a deer?

Ah, that's very nice! "Found" sounds good to me (for whatever that's worth). Partly because it would create a greater connection, in the same way that crafting a kangling creates a greater connection than buying one finished.

I have a vague memory of reading that the wild animal used in Tibet was often a deer. Depending where you live, those might also be the easiest to find.

Chhi'mèd Kunzang, one of the Aro teachers, has a nice photo of a decomposing deer as his Twitter avatar:

Sacred Hoop & 3worlds

Hi Nick

Yes, Ngak'chang Rinpoche has spoken well of you (as have Lamas Namgyal and Shé-zér).

I'd be delighted for you to reprint the article. I'll contact you via the Sacred Hoop web site about some details.

Your site shows many lovely things. For any readers interested in buying high-quality Tibetan ritual items—much better than what the typical Tibetan import shop has—or seeing photographs, I recommend it.

(Sorry to be so slow to reply, btw—I had a busy weekend.)



Grotesque yet edifying

Matt Helmick's picture

One of the most grotesque yet most edifying things I've read in quite a while. Great article--pointing to the essence of tantra that sanitized Western presentations often avoid!


Menstrual Revification

Alex Hubbard's picture

There's a story of Padmasambhava reviving Princess Pema Sal, who had died when stung by a bee, by drawing a seed syllable NRI on her chest. This was done with 'the blood of knowledge' - menstrual blood - though I'm not sure whether it's detailed where Padmasambhava got it from.

Make sure to use a buddhist

Anonymous's picture

Make sure to use a buddhist bone only. And from someone who wasn't a prisoner, did not break samaya, etc. Do not use anything else.

Amazing info, thank you.

Lana's picture

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this page and I look forward to exploring the rest of your site. Might I add your humor was cracking me up so very much. You are an awesome writer. While I'm not really ready to make my own kangling just yet, it's definitely something to ponder on and plant seeds to do in the future. Your kangling turned out beautifully and I love that you made it yourself and that you used the "sacred mixture" as your paint. Very cool! Thanks for sharing the detailed information.

Femur kangling

AmitaDelicata's picture

I really, really enjoyed this, though I thought that I wouldn't due to the click-bait-ish title.
Keep it up!