A Tibetan Temple in Yushu

Due to the earthquake, most houses around the ancient, but affected, JieGu Temple have even been destroyed, hence a new temple is being built – Qinghai Province 2012

When all relics, artifacts and statues are moved to the new temple, the buddha’s must be blessed first before they can ‘see’ their new home – Qinghai Province 2012

A monk shows an old tibetan poem, left by the older generations – Qinghai Province 2012

Yak Butter is used in candles of the temples, throughout Tibetan Autonomous regions – Qinghai Province 2012

Due to their status in Tibetan culture, yaks have total freedom walking around the plateau, near Heimahe – Qinghai Lake 2012

Yaks and Tibetans

Tibetan life still revolves around the yak…

Tibetan life still revolves around the yak, which the people have herded and placed at the center of their culture for at least two thousand years. Tibetans are warmed by yak-dung fires and lit by yak-butter lamps; they eat yak meat and yak blood, butter, cheese, and yoghurt; they use yaks for transport and weave clothing, blankets, shelters, and even boats out of yak hair. Their staple dish is tsampa, made of salted tea pounded together with yak butter, to which toasted barley flour is added and mixed by hand before eating. The dependence in so many ways upon their particular animal herd is typical of pastoralists, the original “buttercaters,” the world over.

Tibetan monks have made intricate, colored butter sculptures as part of a tradition that is as old as Buddhism. In Lhasa, they continue to carve fantastic flowers, animals, birds and plants for December’s Butter Lamp Festival, and place them on a street lit with hundreds of lamps that burn butter. One sculpture takes up to six months to complete, as it is part of the path to enlightenment, upon which the monks create a positive collective world karma to overcome epidemics, hunger, and war.

In the city, yak butter has an important use in ceremonies, as a fuel for butter lamps. In particular, the 15th day of the first month is a the high point of the Great Prayer Festival (Smom-lam), and the day of the fabulous “Butter lamp day.” This festival was started by Tsong kha-pa in the first Smom-lam in 1409. In his dream, all beautiful flowers and trees appeared in front of Buddha. He commissioned monks to make flowers and trees with colored butter.

Source: webexhibit.org

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