Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pictures of Body Bags and the Tibetan Connection

Image of a corpse tied in a knot to make a bag, hanging from the side of a horse taken from the wall of a temple, lit by headlamp. Image taken in Tibet.
Dear Gentle Reader,

Nobody asked, but I am guessing somebody out there wants to ask what those body bags looked like.

Your scribe comes prepared because Monday's post relates to things that your heroine and scribe learned while researching our trip to Tibet last year.

The image at that start of Monday's post, and today's post, is a Tibetan Buddhist Bag of Diseases, one of the five weapons of Sri Devi as she fights evil and the opponents of Buddhism.  

Guess why that guy is tied in a knot... 

Guess what his (now) bag-like shape contains... 

And you thought all Buddhists were gentle...

So don't forget to put money in that bowl when you pass a saffron-robed monk or a nun in grey... 

But wait, why do the Mongols have anything to do with Tibet? Besides the fact that their territories were alongside each other.  

And besides the fact that both, and what became Modern China, would control or greatly affect each other, as relative power waxed or waned in the region.  

And besides the fact that the Dalai Lama's position and title was allegedly granted to the first Dalai Lama by a Mongolian.  

Kublai Khan had converted to Buddhism to have a universal religion to bind Tibet, Mongolia, and China.  In 1578 a descendant of Kublai Khan, Altan Khan, an aggressor against China, proclaimed a Tibetan Lama to be "Dalai" (Ocean in Mongolian, symbolizing supreme leader and the Dalai Lama has since been linked with supreme secular power in Tibet).  In return, the Tibetan Lama proclaimed Altan Khan to be the reincarnation of Kublai Khan (Ghengis Khan's grandson).

OK, so that is the connection, and that is why we found depicitions of body bags in Tibet.  

Body bags were used by Sri Devi to combat enemies of Buddhism and Buddhist concepts. While Sri Devi, as a mythological figure, used them figuratively I am guessing that earlier Tibetans, like the Mongolians, used them literally. 

If you enjoyed Monday's and today's posts, you could, as always, mention them to your friends; make them viral...

With smiles from across the water, and a raised, chocolate-covered mango margarita...

Chris, Regina, and Pommes with a paw covering his mouth


jjdebenedictis said...

mention them to your friends; make them viral...

Chris, I really hope this doesn't sound horribly obnoxious, but that isn't how "viral" works.

*cringes* Please forgive me.

For something to go viral on the internet, its content needs to be so compelling that people spontaneously start alerting their friends to it.

The spontaneity is crucial because that next generation of friends must also--independently--judge the content to be so compelling that they spontaneously pass it along.

This effect propagates through countless stages of people who don't know the content provider and thus aren't willing to do him/her any favours. The content itself has to secure their full enthusiasm.

This effect is actually really similar to how books become bestsellers. Marketing and publicity don't sell books (although they get the books looked at in the store, which is very valuable); only word-of-mouth generated by the quality of content sells books.

Your best chance of going viral comes from continuing to provide the best content you can, and continuing to lure people to your blog by interacting in an engaging manner on their blogs (this is marketing), and--if you're looking for a mercenary angle to help things along--choosing topics that are likely to resonate with, strongly amuse, intellectually interest, or emotionally inflame large numbers of people.

Good luck! (And I'm sorry if I've come across rude here; I honestly do just want to help. :-) )

Sepiru Chris said...

Liebe OxyJen,

No worries. It was actually intended as a play on the viral nature of the bags of diseases that were the topic of the last few posts.

Potentially what seems amusing at 3am is not what should be left to automatically post a few hours later. Admittedly the joke is a bit heavy-handed...

And there is no need to cringe, I really appreciate the comment and the concern behind it.

If you cannot count on feedback to be honest, then it probably should not be read. Comments like yours are what I expect and hope for from friends.

If I look deeply, I admit that I would love it if by simply asking someone to mention something it would propagate onwards. And I have made that comment on at least one previous occasion. So, your comment to me, in general, is valid (I am embarrassed to admit that).

I also stress, that in the context of posts on the Black Death spreading through time and place, it was also meant in jest, here.

Actually, I have been watching two posts slowly smoulder along, apparently by word of mouth, and I wrote a post about that phenomenon last night (this morning) because I find it interesting to observe.

I have not determined if that posting is worth forwarding to the web, mind you. Most things aren't. *chuckles*

Further, watching this smouldering-not-really-viral-propogation phenomena points out the limitations in my writing.

Of the people who actually check the posting they have received from friends, they almost never look at any other posting that I have written. Only about 10% bother looking at anything else! Of those, most do not like what they see...


The craft of writing for a non-legal audience is a long way from being mastered by me...

Excellent description of viral propagation though, OxyJen.

And again, OxyJen, thank you very much for the comment. I take it as a vast compliment that you would take the pains and the risk to ensure that I "got it" in case I really did not.

Big thanks,

Cloudia said...

Chris: I, for one, LOVE your posts.Tibet! Mongols! Really cool stuff.
Always worthy, always slightly askew. Delightful! Aloha-

lyzzydee said...

Well Chris, I am no expect (in anything as it turns out!!) But I know what I like and what engages me. I have read back into your blog and it entertains me!!

lyzzydee said...

Thanks for popping by my blog, I have updated the post with the final result!! and yes Slough as in pow wow cow etc!!!