Momos For the Masses: Festival Season

The romantic notion of Tibet as a land where the pace of life is slow and there's little to do but sip butter tea and click prayer beads is of course just a part of the story. It is true that Tibetan people do not embrace "busy" for busy's sake, and that things are never so fraught that there's no time to eat, to tell jokes or to pray. But make no mistake: nomadic life is tough, and long periods away from home herding animals in sometimes extreme weather conditions can be very wearing. Yeshi is well prepared, then, for festival season. It's a nomadic existence of a different kind, but about 100% less romantic than the one Yeshi remembers in Tibet. Mostly it looks like non-stop momo-making in

A No Meat Month

In Tibet, there are very few times of the year when singing and dancing are not a feature of daily life, and when eating meat becomes a taboo. But every year there is a whole month of this, and family back home in Tibet are currently midway through it. The fourth lunar month of the Tibetan calendar is called Saga Dawa, or "month of merits", and this is essentially a time for avoiding frivolous behaviour and doing good deeds. Acts of kindness might include making pilgrimages to sacred places, donating to monasteries or giving to beggars. During this month you might want to set an animal free that was intended for slaughter. You certainly don't want to eat meat. Onion, garlic, eggs and other k

Meat - A Moral Maze

In Tibet, meat is a topic of considerable interest and debate. Geoffrey Barstow recently wrote a whole book about it, unpicking how the practice of killing animals and eating meat can be tolerated in a society that aligns so closely with Buddhism and Buddhist morality. Tibetan people have traditionally lived closely alongside their animal friends, and perceive the suffering of animals as similar to that of humans. This is a view of the animal kingdom that is completely distinct from traditional Christian theology, which holds that God created animals for the use of human beings, and that animals have no powers of reasoning, and no soul. In Tibet, where people believe in reincarnation and it

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