Lamas hold 'death ritual' on 49th day of Chinese crackdown

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New Delhi, Apr 28 (UNI) Hunderds of Tibetan monks (lamas) today led a special prayer to mark the death of scores of people in and around Lahsa during the Chinese crackdown 49 days ago.

Today, Tibetans across the world are observing 'she-gu', the 49th day after death, which is also a Tibetan Buddhist way of performing a memorial service to honour the dead.

According to the lamas, the 'she-gu' services are the set of initial services for the deceased. The first of which are the 'dun-tsik' services held weekly until the 49th day after death. These first 49 days are regarded as especially important as they mark the intermediate stage -- 'bardo' -- between birth and death. In this ''interim state'', the old existence is discarded and is metamorphosed into a new existence.

A ceremony held on the 49th day after death is an important Buddhist ritual, as it guides the departed souls to the ''bright path to truth while they journey the interim stage from death to incarnation.'' A congregation of monks at Jantar Mantar dharna site performed the special prayer ceremony with a ritual called Lama Chopa Tsok offering composed by the Ist Panchen Lama. Tsog means a collection or gathering and this has many profound meanings according to Tibetan Buddhism. It is also meant to celebrate the glory of the noble truth, create merit, purify vows and make offerings to the deities and worldly spirits, explained Choechung Wangchuk, co-ordinator of Tibetan Solidarity Committee.

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