Our guide is somewhat of a Tibetan Buddhism scholar; knowledgable, curious and practicing.
We have learned about Songtsan Gampo, The Lord Buddha, Compassion Buddha, Longevity Buddha, Horse Buddha (helps you sleep), Protector Buddha, Wisdom Buddha, 1st thru 14th Dalai Lamas, the Panchen Lama, Mandalas, etc. – ours heads spin with a plethora of information.
The architecture of the Potala Palace, Jokhang and Deprung Monastery rank the highest of all of our travels to monasteries, pagodas and temples. However, the most exciting part to see is every day life taking place.
Monks are in every room going about their daily business – filling candle drums with wax (not so much Yak butter used any more), sorting through the scarves, collecting and sorting the copious amount of yuan left by the followers, chanting, singing…..
Pilgrims walk the Kora with prayer wheels and beads in hand saying the mantra over and over. A handful of pilgrims prostate themselves for days, weeks or even months.
Their faces are worn by the harsh cold and sun of the Himalayan Mountains. Every person wears a hat, from toddlers to the old. Most are dressed in Indigenous clothing, colorful and worn – showers or baths not high on the priority list. The old or not so old’s faces tell a story of a hard life – skin leathered and wrinkled, teeth missing or blackened.
Tahshi Delek is shared when our eyes contact theirs. They take a swift moment to pass us good fortune but resume their kora as if time is running out.
Lhasa is hot, cold, wet and dry all in the same day.
Photo opportunities abound.