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"In describing their experiences, the pau sometimes miss the terminological precision of the rinpoché, because they have not had a Buddhist education nor are they literate. Their knowledge comes from tutelage, not from books. For example, they often use the terms la and nam shé interchangeably. In so doing, the pau convey the notion that the la, like the nam shé, is consciousness, which is similar to the belief of other Tibetan shamans. Based on his interviews in Tibet and with shamans in exile, Bellezza (2005, 7) writes that the shamans believe that their “consciousness principle” is the la. Pau Nyima says, “The la is the spirit inside the person” (Sifers 2005, 114). Therefore, the la has an ontology or beingness and is not merely the impersonal psychological function or principle of consciousness, but the spirit of consciousness. The la also has the attributes of sem [sems] (mind and thinking) and rig pa (reasoning and intelligence). The la soul, it seems, is that spirit that constitutes a person, a conscious thinking being.
- Peters, Larry. Tibetan Shamanism: Ecstasy and Healing. California: North Atlantic Books, 2016.