The tulku of the institution of the Dalai Lama, consults the oracle known as the Nechung Oracle, which is considered the Official State Oracle of the government of Tibet. The Nechung was formerly a Nyingma tradition. He gives a complete description of the process of trance and possession in his book Freedom in Exile.
When Padmasambhava consecrated Samye Monastery with the Vajrakilaya dance, he tamed the local spirit protector, Pehar Gyalp, and bound him by oath to become the head of the entire hierarchy of Buddhist protective spirits. Pehar, later known as Dorje Drakden, became the principal protector of the Dalai Lamas, manifesting through the Nechung Oracle.
According to the Dalai Lama, "Tibetans rely on oracles for various reasons. The purpose of the oracles is not just to foretell the future. They are called upon as protectors and sometimes used as healers. However, their primary function is to protect the Buddha Dharma and its practitioners."
The rite of the Oracle possessing the kuten is ancient, entering the tradition from the Bonpo and Ngagpa, and traditionally involves a detailed evocative liturgy including such elements as fanfare, dance, mudra and mantra to invoke the Oracle who forcefully projects their mindstream via the discipline of phowa, temporarily possessing the physical basis.
In 1947 Lobsang Jigme, the Tibetan State Oracle, prophesied that in the Year of the Tiger, 1950, Tibet would face great difficulty. In 1951, Lobsang Jigme fell ill, some say because of his repeated troubling visions, and for years was unable to walk without assistance. In 1959, after predicting the Dalai Lama's flight, Lobsang Jigme spent two months walking to India with His Holiness. His illness was eventually cured.
On formal occasions, the Kuten is dressed in an elaborate costume consisting of several layers of clothing topped by a highly ornate robe of golden silk brocade, which is covered with ancient designs in red and blue and green and yellow [colors traditionally subscribed to the Mahabhuta]. On his chest he wears a circular mirror which is surrounded by clusters of turquoise and amethyst, its polished steel flashing with the Sanskrit mantra corresponding to Dorje Drakden. Before the proceedings begin, he also puts on a sort of harness, which supports four flags and three victory banners. Altogether, this outfit weighs more than seventy pounds and the medium, when not in trance, can hardly walk in it.In addition to this regalia, when the Kuten's trance deepens, the assistants that have been supporting the physical basis place a headress on his head which weighs approximately 30 pounds, though in former times it weighed over 80. (Pearlman, 2002: p.96) The circular mirror is a divine attribute and tool, known as a melong (Tibetan: "mirror"), that is a potent polyvalent symbol of Dzogchen and Dzogchen teachings.