Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Wander Globe travels to Tibet

Majestic icy Himalayan peaks direct us to the roof of the world, Tibet. The whole experience is so moving, incredulous and unreal. We are actually heading for one of the most difficult and spiritually evolved places on earth!!
Surrounded by raw rugged mountains that close in this unique land, Tibet has a rarefied atmosphere and its people a unique way of being. It is the land that gives birth to the Indian subcontinents main river systems which span its western, northern and eastern boundaries.

All life here is sacred and the rich esoteric traditions of this forbidden place are embedded deep in the very consciousness of its people. The pure landscape and strong light strike the retina, cascading through the brain. The starkness soon streams out in color wave after color wave of warm orchres, oranges , maroons ,greens, browns whites and tourquoise blues … that gradually begin to wash over  the body, tuning it to a different frequency.

Sonorous chanting stirs something deep as we climb into formidable monasteries, bejeweled with gold, tourquoise, jades .We journey through dark chambers where guardian deities rule and tantric goddesses imbue the world with energy and life.
Always you see time in continuum. In the present is contained the rich traditional past and a glorious awakening of the future. We begin to see the cyclical nature of life in reincarnation after reincarnation. We see nature religion, man and the Buddha all interdependent and integral to what they call ‘life’.

So many eyes in towering statues, exotic thangkas, mandalas directing us from everywhere and leading us to the centre, our centre. Rituals begin to have meaning; superstition gets the support of belief. Man gains pride embellished with beautiful hair ornaments, hairstyles, ringed ears, strong shoes, grim determination in the eyes,and invariably the prayer wheel in hand . Here gods have human attributes and humans become Godlike…

In the Potala Palace we see the flashback of a young pale boy in flowing robes silently racing from one dark chamber to another, trying to peep through the slight windows at the worldly life below.  Little does his innocent brain realize that  he embodies the spiritual hope of the entire land, that on him rests the sanction for every decision, an entire way of being and that he will ultimately decide the fate of this entire land and its people.

That every Tibetan will continue to long for him in the deep recesses of their hearts, even as their altars are deprived of his depiction... In his holiness, the spirit of The Dalai Lama who left Tibet for India when the Chinese arrived still rests the spiritual tradition of Tibet and in this the Tibetans defy both distance and conquest.

The Chinese police standby, while the devout Tibetans continue their prostrations all along the Barkhor, the holy Jokhang temple and the Potala Palace. Heaven, earth, man; mind, body spirit eternally seeks their unity and the prayer wheels are set in motion.  We climb the to see the  awe-inspiring Potala Palace, with its myriad chapels, audience halls Buddhist frescoes, mandalas, golden tombs of previous Dalai Lamas, thangkas, mandalas , Buddhist scriptures and innumerable treasures  And then on to the spiritual centre of Tibetan Buddhism, the holy Jokhang Temple which combines Han, Tibetan and Nepalese architecture.

We enjoy the down to earth Sera Monastery with its very serene atmosphere, and witness a special event of seeing the monks debate. Walking around the traditional Barkhor Street we shop for thangkas, prayer beads and other Tibetan knickknacks.   Everything in Lhasa makes a great frame…the people, the monks, the monasteries, the wall textures, the prayer wheels, the chortens even our hotel room!

Gently flows the Tsang Po (Brahmaputra ) and Lhasa river and the memory of time  is frozen in the silent massive glaciers…We wind the entire length of the  the scorpion shaped lake Yamdrok, which is considered one of the holiest lakes of Tibet, as we drive to Shigatse, the second largest holy city after Lhasa.

The deep tourquoise of the lake and the emerald grasslands dotted with yak and sheep make for some outstanding mountain scenery Mute brown mountains stand like sentinels in these dizzying heights of 5000 plus metres, and we see the occasional Tibetan mastifs and the bursts of colour in heaps of prayer flags fluttering in the icy winds.  A haunting Tibetan feminine voice breaks out from a ringtone of a mobile phone, breaking through the barrier of our bus and echoing into the wide free open spaces…

On the way we stop at Pelkhor monastery in Gyatse, commanded by a large mud fort. Large groups of Tibetans sit together enjoying their picnic hampers and their local beers. The strong sunlight magnifies and illumines everything. And soon our lengthening shadows get swallowed in the deep dark inner chambers of the monastery filled with unimaginable riches and large sized idols of Buddhas and Tibetan masters.

We spend the night in Shigatse, which is largely uninspiring. The mammoth Tashilumpo monastery is located in the old town which has wonderful houses and interesting bazaars. Here we discover a world within a world... It is also the home of the Panchen Lama whom the Chinese wholeheartedly support.

It really does not matter who is who and which God symbolizes what. It is the purity of belief that has us spell-bound. An entire race that added so much life, vigour and colour to a monotonous landscape and involved nature and God in the life of man with such passion and zeal is what captures our imagination and wins our hearts. The mantra Aum mani padme hum resounds through the entire landscape as the the plane circles over Tibet one last time.

1 comment:

  1. Hello,

    Tibet attracts people of all persuasions every year from both home and abroad. It rewards every visitor with an unforgettable experience of the land, the people and the mysticism.

    Tours To Tibet