The Whispering Kangling

musical instrument

Literally translated as “leg” (kang) “flute” (ling), Kangling is the Tibetan name for a trumpet or horn made out of a human femur, used in Tibetan Buddhism for various chöd rituals and funerals. The femur of a criminal or a person who died a violent death is preferred. Alternatively, the femur of a respected teacher may be used. In Tantric chöd practice, the practitioner, motivated by compassion, plays the kangling as a gesture of fearlessness, to summon hungry spirits and demons so that she or he may satisfy their hunger and thereby relieve their sufferings. It is also played as a way of “cutting off of the ego.”

The Whispering Kangling was crafted by a minor figure from Katok Monastery. The First Chonyi, Chopa Lugu, was known for his “nightly bellowing on the bone-trumpet and shouting of phet” on pilgrimage, much to the irritation of the business traveler who accompanied him. Chopa Lugu became renowned as “The Chod Yogi Who Split a Cliff in China”.

When he returned from this first pilgrimage, in order to not upset his companions on the next, Chopa Lugu created the Whispering Kangling. This leg-flute is made from the femir of an infamous thief, and bound in copper. It functions as a masterwork flute, but even when played forcefully, it produces sounds that are only barely audible, requiring a DC 15 Perception check to hear (modified for distance).

Three times per day, the Kangling can be used to cast a spell of 3rd-level or less without any verbal components, as if using a Silent Metamagic Rod. In addition, the bearer of the Whispering Kangling can channel stored spell energy into summoning spells that she hasn’t prepared ahead of time. She can “lose” a prepared spell (or spell slot if a spontaneous caster) in order to cast a Summon Horror spell of the same level or lower.


The Whispering Kangling

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