Thanks for your reply. Frankly, I find all of it puzzling because you say what you say with such certainty, and yet offer no evidence to support your argument.
There are still Buddhists who follow a forty nine day observance of dead friends and relatives, and while I think many of the originating truths behind modern religious observances are lost, there is a lot of symbolism connected to the number forty nine. I strongly suspect 49 was not an arbitrary number to the original writers/compilers of the Tibetan Book of the Dead which is a written treatise based on existing practised beliefs not the other way around.
>the way some people gaze longingly at wolves, etc
Sorry David, I don't buy this. There is a sentimentality here which flies in the face of reason.