La danse du Chapeau Noir symbolise la victoire de la religion sur les ennemis. Les danseurs représentent des yogis ayant le pouvoir de créer et de contrôler la vie. Lors de cette danse, portant de grands chapeaux noirs, des bottes colorées et de longues robes aux teintes vives, ils tournent de façon circulaire au rythme des tambours, prenant possession de l’endroit et écartant les esprits négatifs avec leurs pieds. Le son des tambours représente la religion. Ainsi les moines accomplissent cette danse sacrée dans le but de dompter les forces négatives telle que la violence, les maladies, la destruction ou encore la haine.
The purpose of this ancient dance is to eliminate negative energies and hindrances. The implements held by the dancers symbolize the transcendence of false ego-identification on the outer (the environment), inner (the emotions) and the secret(the subtle body-mind link) levels. Their movements symbolize the joy and freedom of seeing reality in its true nature.
The Black Hat Dance was originally performed in 9th century Tibet in response to an evil king, Lang Darma. Lang Darma was a greedy, power-hungry ruler who attempted to drain Tibet of Buddhism. He destroyed hundreds of stupas and monasteries, and forced hundreds of monks and nuns to disrobe. The happy, peaceful people of Tibet were miserable under the shadow of King Lang Darma. A great and devoted practitioner, Lhalung Pal Dorji, was determined to subdue the evil King. After performing the appropriate spiritual rites, he went to Lhasa wearing a black hat and a long black cloak in which he concealed a bow and arrow. There he danced in front of the King in an attempt to portray the suffering of the Tibetan people under his rule. Feeling great compassion toward the King, who was going to suffer immensely as a consequence of the sins he was committing against his people, Lhalung Pal Dorji shot an arrow at the heart of Lang Darma. The king was dead on the spot. Peace and harmony was restored in Tibet. Present day performances of the Black Hat Dance are intended to abolish obstacles and restore faith in the dharma for those who witness the dance. The performances to this day require the same ritual preparation and concentration on compassion as was required originally by Lhalung Pal Dorji. It is believed that the faithful who observe the dance will be cleared of both inner and outer obstacles.