Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Life in Tibet


Tibetan mastiffs were used as guard dogs in the Himalayan mountains of Tibet and in lamaseries outside Lhasa. As for the temples, here is what T.Lobsang Rampa, a Tibetan Lama writes in his autobiography called The Third Eye: “Our temple cats were not for ornament only, they were fierce guardians of the masses of uncut gems strewn around the wholly figures. In houses dogs were the guardians, immense mastiffs who would pull a man down and savage him! These dogs could be cowed and driven off. Not so with the cats. Once they attacked only death could stop them. They were of the type sometimes named “Siamese”. Tibet is cold, so these cats were nearly black”. He goes on to say: “On duty, these cats prowled in the temples, silent-footed and alert, like dark shadows of the night. If anyone tried to reach the jewels, which were otherwise unguarded, a cat would emerge and leap at the man’s arm. Unless he let go immediately, another cat would jump, perhaps from the Holy Image, straight at the thief’s throat. And these cats had claws twice as long as those of the average cat and they did not let go. Dogs could be beaten off, or perhaps held or poisoned. Not so with the cats. They would put the fiercest mastiffs to flight. Only men who personally knew these cats could approach them when they were on duty.”
Today mastiffs are still used as livestock guards in the mountains as they are well adapted to the rigours of high mountain living. They also travel with caravans of Tibetan sheepherders and traders and are expected to defend herds and encampments against predators such as wolves and snow leopards.
Since most temples have been destroyed by the Chinese, I do not know what happened to the cats.

4 comments:

DogsDeserveFreedom said...

That is awesome! thanks for posting - I didn't know that about Siamese cats ... only that my mother absolutely loves them (her parents used to breed them so she always has all sorts to say about them).

DogsDeserveFreedom

Winchester whisperer said...

I love Siamese cats. We had one when I was a child and he was very dear: almost a philosopher-king

Evviva said...

Where did you get this fonts from?

Never been cats in Tibet. Is it a Lobsang Rampa font?
Just mustiffs in Tibet! They are and were the Gompa's guardians.

Eurodog said...

Sorry, Evviva, I am not with you. Your point being?