Dogs & Reincarnation, Mongolian Style
(originally written 02/27/10)
I was doing some research on my Mongol philosophy presentation, and I ran into this bit about dogs. Since we mentioned dogs and reincarnation briefly a couple classes ago, I thought this might be of interest for general background info on culture and tradition.
"Dogs are mentioned very often in famous historical documents and literary epics as "Dogs are the most loyal friends. They will never change poor master for a rich herder, grown by poor nomad it will never follow even a khaan." There was even a poem composed by Sandag, a famous poet of 19th century "Praise to Dog"
Ch. Jugder, well known expert on Medieval Mongolian philosophy, notes that "Mongols deeply respected and revered their dogs and the dogs never betrayed their masters."
Such respect for dogs even found reflection in the legislation. The Codes of Law from 1640 and 1709 (enforced and observed until 1921) both contain provisions prohibiting to kill or beat dogs.
Dogs, similar to horses, were buried on the hills so that people do not walk on their remains. Dog's tail was cut off and placed under the head. A piece of fat was put into their mouth and words of wishes to be born as a human being in the next life were said before burial."