The mantra of the God of compassion, Chenresig, the one with 1000 hands and 1000 eyes, 11 heads. He has a big job showing compassion to all.
|1. Happy at 15,776|
|2. Tibetan woman with her baby goat|
|3. Tibetan Mastiff with his boss|
Then I checked another experience off my bucket list. I was able to sit on a Yak. Poor yak. Decked out in ribbons and curls. White. Well, really scraggly dirty white. White is supposed to be sacred. I had my doubts. I put my sandal in the one stirrup and three guys (Nema, the Yak owner, and our drive) lifted me into the Tibetan saddle as if I wouldn't make it on my own. Yaks are not tall. But I spared them my history mounting horses, camels, elephants. The altitude was too high for much conversation. No one spoke English so "I can do it" meant nothing to Tibetan ears.
|4. Finally, a Yak to ride for a second|
|5. Women selling Yak cheese|
Yesterday's main point to visit was Gyantse which houses a famous stupa Gyantse Kumbum. This town has a very high fort which the British inhabited in 1904, a battle led by Sir Francis Younghusband on Lasha. He slaughtered 700 Tibetans in four minutes.
|6. Gyantse Stupa|
|7. Monks in yellow hats, chanting|
Some notes. Brush teeth only with bottled water in Nepal and Tibet. Also, Himalayan red salt lamps don't exist here. Also, acupressure began in Tibet. Somehow it is related to the idea of sky burials. There are no cemetaries. There are no major trees in Tibet, my guide said, except the saplings that have been planted over the last few years to help stop the sand and dust from making towns unpleasant. Therefore, there has been no wood to be used for cremation as a burial form.
However, there's a different burial process. Sky burials. They seem to relate the Native American Indian's tradition of dealing with death. When a person dies, the high lama comes to the house to pray and relies on astrology to find an auspicious day for burial. This same high Lama releases the soul in a ceremony on that auspicious day. The soul is released through the head and is gone. Then the lama cuts the body into small pieces as that will be fed to the Himalayan griffins. For seven weeks on the day the person died (for instance on a Monday) the family and monks preform a Puja, a holy ceremony for which butter lamps and prayers are offered, while the body is in what is called the intermediate state. Then after 49 days, the body is fed to the birds. And the earth is clean. It's recycling at its best.