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Lung-gom-pa Runners of Tibet
The Marathon monks of Japan are quite similar to the Lung-gom-pa runners of old Tibet. There
have been many records kept of these amazing running monks who appear to fly when they run.
Across grassy plains, they seem to float apparently in a trance. They are said to travel nonstop
for forty-eight hours or more and can cover more than 200 miles a day. Many are said to be faster
than horses and at times they were used to convey messages across a country.
In order to qualify as a lung-gom-pa runner, the trainee must first learn to master seated
meditation. They had lots of emphasis on breath control and visualization techniques. They had
to be able to imagine their own bodies as being light as a feather.

Other techniques they had to master required them to watch a single star in the sky intently for
days, never allowing themselves to be distracted. When they have attained this ability of moving
meditation, they are able to fly like the wind.
The term lung-gom is used for the kind of training that develops uncommon nimbleness and
gives them the ability to make extraordinarily long tramps with amazing rapidity. They run at a
rapid pace without ever having to stop for days. They do not run short, quick races but have the
ability to go far distances in a quick amount of time.
The Way of the White Clouds by Lama Anagarika Govinda explains that the word Lung,
pronounced rlun, signifies the state of air as well as vital energy or psychic force. Gom means
meditation, contemplation, concentration of mind and soul upon a certain subject. It has to do
with the emptying of ones mind of all subject-object relationships. This means that a lung-gompa runner is not a man who has the ability to fly through air, but one who can control his energy,
re-channel and concentrate it in a new direction. These lung-gom-pa runners follow the ancient
practice of pranayama. They follow the idea of completely anonymity and therefore no one is
allowed to talk to them or see any part of their bodies.
True lung-gom-pa runners are very rare for it is very difficult to really master their skills. In the
book, Magic and Mystery in Tibet the author, Alexandra David_Neel, mentions how she
encountered her first lung-gom-pa runner in Northern Tibet. This is a wild, grassy region where a
few tribes live in tents. There are few people in this area, and when they spotted the lung-gompa runner, he was alone in a plain and was the first person they had spotted in more than ten days

of traveling. Thinking the man to be lost and wandering on the plain, they were going to go
retrieve him and take him with them. As they grew closer they realized he was traveling at a
remarkably swift speed and was one of the so-called lung-gom-pa runners. David_Neel was told
not to speak to the runner because they were not allowed to break their meditation while running.
The God that lives within him would then escape and the runner would die. Just witnessing this
was enough to amaze her though.
By that time he had nearly reached us; I could clearly see his perfectly calm impassive face and
wide-open eyes with their gaze fixed on some invisible far distant object situated somewhere
high up in space. The man did not run. He seemed to lift himself from the ground, proceeding by
leaps. It look as if he had been endowed with the elasticity of a ball and rebounded each time his
feet touched the ground.
The lung-gom-pa runner can also be called a Maheketang. The word mahe is from the fearless
buffalo, which they had been know to ride. To aspire to be a part of Maheketang, there is a lot of
training. This includes breathing exercises that are practiced during a seclusion period in
complete darkness, which lasts three years and three months.
The student must sit cross-legged on a large cushion. He inhales and allows his body to fill with
air. Then holding his breath, he jumps up with legs still crossed using no hands to support him.
He repeats this always remaining in the same position. This method enables them to become
extremely light, almost weightless. The lung-gom method does not aim at training the disciple
by strengthening his muscles, but by developing in him psychic states that make these
extraordinary marches possible.
Only after years of drilling oneself with different types of breathing exercises are they permitted
to attempt the actual racing performance itself. When he finally reaches this point in time, he
must completely concentrate on the walk, the in and out breathing rhythm, always looking ahead,
never speaking. He can not be distracted by anything and must keep his eyes fixed on a single
The best conditions for their runs are flat plains, desert spaces, and evening twilight. Even after
walking for miles or days, when the evening has been reached, the tiredness of the run subsides
and the lung-gom-pa runner and continue on for miles more. During their runs, they are
continually told to keep their eyes fixed on a particular star. Some float through the air so much,
that they wear heavy chains around their bodies so that he is not in danger of floating in the air.
After having performed all these feats, the lung-gom-pa usually finds a quiet place to retreat to
where they spend the rest of their lives teaching, meditating, and pursuing various religious
duties. Those who come to him, he will heal or bless and console those who are upset.
The Zen of Running is a book written by Fred Rohe which states, Whatever you do with your
running, you only cheat yourself by pushing, pressing, competing. There are no standards and no
possible victories except the joy you are living while dancing your run. This statement is a
perfect way to describe the lung- gom-pa runners of Tibet and the Marathon Monks of Mount
Hiei. They do not run to simply be quick or to win. They are in a way dancing when they run.
They are to totally focus on running and let the running take them away. Their trance-like
movements show that they are completely focusing and are at peace. Rohe goes on to say that
our spirit is not separate from our body anymore than the water is separate from the stream. The
water is the stream. This has to do with the fact that running is dancing. Their spirit is with the
runners when they are moving.

At the end of running, the marathon monk has become one with the mountain, flying along a
path that is free of obstruction. The joy of practice has been discovered and all things are made
new each day. The stars and sky, the stones, the plants, and the trees, have become the monks
trusted companions; he can predict the weeks weather by the shape of the clouds, the direction
of the wind, and the smell of the air; he knows the exact times each species of bird and insect
begin to sing; and he takes special delight in that magic moment of the day when the moon sets
and the sun rises, poised in the center of creation. To experience this and have these feelings
would be the most remarkable thing, unbeatable by anything. I would love to see as these monks
are able to see and live. They worked so incredibly hard those 1000 days to get to this point. For
them, the work is not even over yet. For them the real practice soon begins.
These amazing runners have for years been impressing others with their skills. The fact that they
can accomplish all this simply to receive enlightenment is such a nice thought. Ultra Marathon
Runners are provided with drinks, foods and other things that help them to run and keep their
energy up. The marathon monks have only a few small meals a day consisting of some rice, soup
and other vegetarian foods.
They have proven that when we are running and think we can go no farther, this just is not quite
true. Just to remember these runners should help us quicken our pace. They have gone to
extraordinary limits in their runs and maybe someday the rest of the world will be able to come
across the wonderful talents of these people. These spiritual athletes intrigue me and I look
forward to finding out new, interesting information about their lives.

Tibet: Mystic Trivia
Lung-gom-pa: legendary lamas who by means of psychic training could rush nonstop across vast
distances of rugged landscape, running without end. Description of meeting a lung-gom-pa (by
the French mystic-scholar Alexandra David-Neel who, disguised as a beggar woman, gained rare
insight into common Tibetan life) in a wilderness where, for ten days, no fellow human being
had been sighted: By that time he had nearly reached up; I could clearly see his perfectly calm
impassive face and wide-open eyes with their gaze fixed on some invisible far-distant object
situated somewhere high up in space. The man did not run. He seemed to lift himself from the
ground, proceeding by leaps. It looked as if he had been endowed with the elasticity of a ball and
rebounded each time his feet touched the ground. His steps had the regularity of a pendulum. He
wore the usual monastic robe and toga, both rather ragged. His left hand gripped a fold of the
toga and was half hidden under the cloth. The right held a phurba (magic dagger). His right arm
moved slightly at each step as if leaning on a stick, just as though the phurba, whose pointed
extremity was far above the ground, had touched it and were actually a support. My servants
dismounted and bowed their heads to the ground as the lama passed before us, but he went his
way apparently unaware of our presence.
According to the book Magic and Mystery in Tibet by French explorer Alexandra David-Nel,
Milarepa boasted of having crossed in a few days, a distance which, before his training [in
black magic], had taken him more than a month. He ascribes his gift to the clever control of
internal air. Alexandara comments that at the house of the lama who taught him black magic
there lived a trapa [monk] who was fleeter than a horse using the same skill.[1]

This esoteric skill, which is known as Lung-gom-pa (Wind Meditation, lung = wind,[2] gompa = meditation[3]) in Tibet, allows a practitioner to run at an extraordinary rate of speed for
days without stopping. This technique could be compared to that practiced by the Kaihigyo
Monks of Mt. Hiei in Kyoto, Japan.[4]

Treasures of Tibetan Occultism

New Worlds Isse: NW023

By: J.H. Brennan

Imagine what it would be like to discuss magic with Aleister Crowleyto talk philosophy with
Platoto receive spiritual instruction from the Dalai Lamato levitate at willto visit any
country on earth, or leave the planet altogetherto take on any form you wished, learn any
secret you desired, discover strange new worlds and sensual delights.
It sounds like wildest fantasy, yet these powers-and many more-are promised by an astonishing
collection of techniques developed in the Himalayan fastness of Tibet before the Chinese
invasion of October, 1950. Tibetan mystics and magicians called such procedures the Practice
of the Night, a form of yoga designed to take control of your sleeping dreams and use them as
gateways to other dimensions of reality where literally anything becomes possible-including the
highest known forms of spiritual development.
Practice of the Night
A yoga holding out such benefits requires time to learn and discipline to practice, but
surprisingly, it is open to virtually anyone prepared to make the necessary effortand there are
even computerized devices available in the United States to ease the way. Although largely
unknown to occultists of the industrialized West, the Practice of the Night is an extraordinarily
useful complement to the doctrines of astral magic and any work of Wicca involving the use of
I learned of the Practice of the Night while researching my new book, Occult Tibet, for
Llewellyn. It was just one among many collections of techniques that make traditional Tibet a
virtual goldmine of information for the Western esoteric practitioner.
Tibetan occultism as a whole has two main roots-the sublime spiritual insights of Tibetan
Buddhism and the ancient teachings of Bn shamanism, the aboriginal religion of the country.
Together with procedures imported from neighboring India and China, they combine to form an
Esoteric Tradition of unparalleled power and authority.
Tibetan Marvels
As I investigated some of the most ancient practical texts of this tradition, I was astonished by
the results achieved and delighted at the way Tibetan methods might be absorbed into Western
magical practice. Alongside the claims of the texts themselves, European travelers brought back
firsthand reports of marvels such as
The trance runners capable of carrying messages vast distances without food or rest. These
lung-gom-pa, as they were known in Tibet, managed prodigious feats not through athletic
training, but from mental disciplines that apparently influenced the weight of their bodies and
led, in the advanced stages, to levitation.
Thought forms visualized so strongly that they could actually be seen by others and sometimes
took on a physical reality of their own. A unique use of thought-form technology was aimed at
teaching students the fundamental nature of reality through a process analogous to the spirit
evocations of Western magic.
A near-forgotten science of sonics so potent it was reputed to have once been used to build a

wall around the whole of Tibet and continued to be used right up to modern times to move vast
blocks of stone with far less effort than the mechanized methods familiar to our so-called
advanced industrial societies.
A complete yoga of body heat which permitted-among other things-adepts to survive in the
brutal sub-zero temperatures of the high Himalayas while wearing nothing more than a thin
cotton robe. Practitioners of tumo, as this yoga was called, were required for their final initiation
to dry three blankets soaked in a freezing mountain stream using body heat alone.
Create Your Own Tumo
Interestingly, you can sample the results of tumo for yourself next time the weather turns cold.
Instead of turning up the central heating, try visualizing a fire at the level of your navel while
embarking on a series of deep, rhythmic breaths. This, you will find, produces a subjective
sensation of warmth and, once you get the hang of it, leads eventually to a measurable
temperature rise in the extremities.
But this is a trivial technique when set against the full tumo training outlined in Occult Tibet.
This takes years to complete and involves precise control of subtle energy flows largely
unsuspected in the West. It can lead to ecstatic states and sometimes even mystical experience. In
Tibet, occult practice often blended seamlessly into mysticism. In one well-known instance, a
black magician eventually transformed himself into as spiritually-advanced a yogi as the country
had ever seen.
My own determination to investigate the wellsprings of Himalayan occultism was originally
stimulated by an unpleasant encounter with a negative aspect of Tibetan magic. I suspected there
might be preserved techniques and insights of use to the Western Esoteric Tradition. The reality
turned out to be a great deal richer than I had ever suspected. Before the cultural rape embarked
on by the invading Chinese, conditions in Tibet encouraged an occult practice so advanced and
so profound as to make the country the veritable magical capital of our planet.
In providing details of the major techniques, Occult Tibet is an attempt to present Tibetan
esoteric insights to the West, yet does no more than scratch the surface of a treasure-trove.

The Lung-gom-pas Runners
UNDER the collective term of lung-gom Tibetans include a large number of practices which
combine mental concentration with various breathing gymnastics and aim at different results
either spiritual or physical.
If we accept the belief current among the Lamaists we ought to find the key to thaumaturgy in
that curious training. Keen investigations do not, however, lead to extraordinary enthusiasm for
the result obtained by those who have practiced it, seeking to acquire occult powers.
Nevertheless, it would also be an error to deny that some genuine phenomena are produced by
the adepts of lung-gom.
Though the effects ascribed to lung-gom training vary considerably, the term lung-gom is
especially used for a kind of training which is said to develop uncommon nimbleness and
especially enables its adepts to take extraordinarily long tramps with amazing rapidity.

Belief in such a training and its efficacy has existed for many years in Tibet, and men who
travelled with supernormal rapidity are mentioned in many traditions.
We read in Milarespas biography that at the house of the lame who taught him black magic there
lived a trapa who was fleeter than a horse. Milarespa boasts of similar powers and says that he
once crossed in a few days, a distance which, before his training, had taken him more than a
month. He ascribes his gift to the clever control of internal air.
However, it should be explained that the feat expected from the lung-gom-pa is one of wonderful
endurance rather than of momentary extreme fleetness. In this case, the performance does not
consist in racing at full