It was the custom in Tibet to summon a lama when a family member passed away at home. Certain rites would then be performed to usher the dying on on toward better scenes in the beyond.
One day the head of a nomadic household somewhere in the windswept Tibet passed away. Lamas were few and far between there, so the family members wondered what to do when they saw a ragged individual coming toward them on foot. It was a lama. The family asked him to do the rites for the dead one, and the lama agreed… When he reached the man’s deathbed, the family asked him to usher the dead one into a realm of great inner delight.
The lama, however, said: “I am just a poor, unlettered practitioner, but I think my faith in Buddha can do it.” Then he began reciting a word, again and again. After recitation he hit the corpse with his prayer beads and asked him to travel to somewhere behind the setting sun.
After some time everyone noticed that hair fell from the top of the corpse’s head, and there was a pleasant fragrance in the air. And after a large bump appeared at the top of the body’s head, everyone rejoiced and thanked the travelling lama profusely.
The travelling lama soon continued on his journey. One day he met another traveller with rather long earlobes. The other man said: “It was a difficult feat we performed with the nomads there, wasn’t it?”
Then he laughed and hit the other with his rosary.