Friday, May 31, 2013

Tibet, Drepung Monastery


Our day begins as usual but this time I skip breakfast and spend the extra time sleeping in. Around 10am we set off to tour two of the more important monasteries in Tibet. About a twenty minute drive out of town and we pay another admission fee then clear another security checkpoint which is a little different.

Our destination is located on a hillside and the checkpoint is at the bottom of the hill. Loaded up back in our mini-van we continue our drive up a steep road that is littered with trash on both sides.

Arriving at Dreprung Monastery which is the biggest Tibetan Buddhism College there is another military official who gives us a watchful eye then nods an approval. Navigating some construction area we start our now traditional “Monastery Stairmaster Workout”.


Tibet CAN D1 001 We are greeted by smoke and money changers as we begin our climb then we are drawn to the voice of a small child singing.

What is disappointing is to see a pool where monks once took baths almost covered in trash.



Along the path to the monastery are prayer wheels, a few of them unique because they are kept spinning with running water from the surrounding mountains. Looking skyward it is a gorgeous day as we take in the hillsides covered with prayer flags and important monuments.




Tibet CAN D1 004 Hillside At Dreprung Monastery



Inside Dreprung we are allowed to take pictures but for a reasonable fee of RMB$15, about US$3. I find the yak butter candles interesting as I watch people feed them with offerings.


Tibet CAN D1 016 It is also cool to see the stacks of ancient Tibetan scriptures that line part of the monastery walls.

Near the scriptures there are also brass bowls of water that are used as a part of a Buddhist ceremony.



Along another wall a set of stern and discerning eyes are watching us but what I find interesting is another set of eyes that I am familiar with. From behind a glass case old George Washington is looking back at me. I guess here any currency is acceptable for an offering.



Tibet CAN D1 018 Watchful Eyes


Leaving Dreprung, the former winter residence of the Dali Lama, I get a glimpse of some real old fashioned manual labor. I stand and watch as men carry huge rocks on their backs to a construction site down the hill. I sure hope they have some Aleve or at least get a good back massage at the end of the day.


Tibet CAN D1 026 I don't know if you have to be Buddhist for it to work but I come across a stupa and circle it, I think in the right direction.

Now I will just have to wait for my good luck, health and fortune to kick in.





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