Friday, March 17, 2006

Hanging yaks - update

Last week I was surprised to discover that Tibetan monks like to hang yaks from the ceiling.
 
An ex-Buddhist monk from Scotland writes to say:
 
"[I] can say with great confidence, that I have no idea why they hang Yaks from the ceiling as its not a cultural artifact that made the crossing, thank all the Buddhas and Bodhisatvas."
 
Sighs of relief resonate from Arbroath to Queen of the South (by way of Dumfernline Athletic).
 
I have some local intelligence to add to the confusion, though.
 
A local monk told me that the hanging yaks were "protectors of the monastery".
 
That is the sort of answer you get when you go poking your nose into other people's cultures, I suppose.
 
...yes but WHY are they protectors of the monastery? Why yaks? Why do you have to hang them from the ceiling? HOW do they protect the monastery?....

2 comments:

  1. Perhaps I hyphenated that all wrong.

    So far as I know my correspondent hasn't become a Cistercian, so he's really more an ex-Buddhist-monk than an ex-Buddhist monk.

    And, presumably he is a chiropodist now, like everyone else.

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  2. Hi from Scotland, from an ex-Tibetan Buddhist. The hanging yaks is, I think, to do with "wrathful" Vajrayana Buddhism practice. Deities like Mahakala etc. protect Buddhism. The yaks could be "wrathful offerings" to the deities. Certainly, the visualistaions in the meditation practices can be very violent and wrathful.

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