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It must be difficult to want to reach out and/or express your sympathy but not really be able to -- at least not in the way our culture teaches us to do it....
Beautiful that you sought some counsel from Munkh-Amgalan on Mongolian death customs.
"As a result, I have decided that I won't ask to go, but I am going to ask Oyunbileg if she wants to go to Gandan monastery where I could sponsor some prayers by a lama for her cousin."
And I am very touched by this.
Be well, Lisa.

Bryan Thao Worra

Interesting post- the attitude towards death seems a pretty common theme in many of the regional cultures, which always does strike me as something of an odd thing because there's also much within the philosophies and cultural beliefs that would make you think they'd be pretty at ease with the matter. Definitely worth taking note of. Thanks for sharing!


We do not physically take the deceased to a lama, that would be an impossible feat - transporting a corpse. However close relatives do go to see a lama and that is called 'opening the golden box.' Recently my mom told me on the phone that my uncle passed away and they went to have his golden box opened.


Gegee, Thanks for this clarification. I must have misunderstood. I love the idea of 'opening the golden box'.


Mongolian for cousin is `uel`. But some Mongolians just don't use it.


Just wanted to add something.
I think it's better to inform the self and others about something after clearifying from "knowledged" resources (like cousin). It's a good lesson to myself too since I travel a lot around the world.
Opening his/her golden box has also a deep meaning related to mongolian buddhist tradition.

Overall, I'd like to suggest that we should do more research before making a conclusion. Culture of the countries like Mongolia contains vast amount of history and tradition from thousands of years ago which sometimes some meanings are just too deep to comprehend when you are standing at todays busy time flow.

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