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28 travelers at this place

  • Oct16

    Ceng Gu Buddhist Nunnery

    October 16, 2019 in China ⋅ ☀️ 12 °C

    Shortly before he died some of his disciples asked the Buddha, “Teacher, shall we allow women into our number or not?” Gautama replied, “I don’t know. I’ve never really thought about it, but, I don’t see why we shouldn’t.” So from the earliest days of the new religion, women were allowed on an equal footing with men. Today we went to visit a Buddhist nunnery located in a densely populated neighborhood in Lhasa. Before we reached the ornate ceremonial gate of the nunnery, however, we passed a number of shops selling women’s dresses, fruit and electric appliances.

    “These shops belong to the nuns,” my guide told me. “They raise money and it supports their work here in the community.”

    “What is their work,” I asked.

    “They have a small private school here, but their main work is to run their neighborhood clinic. They have a doctor trained in both traditional and modern medicine. Some of the nuns are nurses, other clean the facility, others are simply chore workers, but they do much good here.”

    A few more steps took me through an elaborate archway painted in ornate designs of blue and gold. It led to a plain courtyard whose main attraction was a tall staff that looked like a flagpole covered with a rainbow of prayer cloths. Tibetan Buddhists believe these colored, meter-square colored cloths represent prayers. They string them on lines draped from the top of the flagpole. Then at a religious celebration, the flagpole is twisted, and it becomes a color clad monument to the prayers they have offered.

    As I passed by an open door I saw that the nuns were filling a need in this poor community. A room full of older adults and children waited to see the doctor. We happened to arrive at lunchtime when the nuns were eating their common midday meal. The first red-robed figure I saw looked like a boy with shaved head. Then I saw that the monk had a beautiful face, and I realized that she was a nun, maybe sixteen years of age. I saw others whose gender was hard to determine. Nevertheless, they welcomed us with smiles and had already given our guide permission to allow us to photograph them at their meal. On several instances my eye caught that of a nun. Whenever that happened she would smile. I would nod, and she would return the greeting.

    Whatever their religion, I feel that God must be very pleased with the work these women are doing to help their neighbors. I can only guess what effect they may be having on the people in their poor community, but I know they certainly had an effect on me.
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  • Oct16

    Potala Palace--The Lost World

    October 16, 2019 in China ⋅ 🌙 0 °C

    The Potala Palace was built in the eighth century and destroyed in the eleventh. It was rebuilt and stands today perched high upon its mountain. The 1.7 mile climb up is arduous but worth the effort. Unfortunately photographs were not allowed inside the former residence of the Dalai Lama. Even so, the pictures we were allowed to take on the outside of the building were remarkable. Until 1959 this was the home of the spiritual and political leader of Tibet, but when the fourteenth Dalai Lama was unwilling to embrace Maoism, he was spirited away by some of his followers across the border to India, where he set up a government in exile.

    The inside of the building is dark, smoke-filled with incense and festooned with colorful flags, pennants and banners hanging down from the roof and the rafters. Prayer wheels line the hallway leading to the Dalai Lama’s quarters. In his sitting room along the sides of the floors are colorful khangs, shin-high couches with velvet covered cushions. Some cushions are deep blue, burgundy, or even burnt orange. The thick incense smoke chokes visitors. Breathing is so difficult that the queue of tourists threading through the thirty rooms we saw stuffed handkerchiefs, scarves and masks over their noses. Dim, colored light trickles in through elaborately patterned stained-glass windows. A knee-high table holds a book, a prayer wheel, and a pair of glasses. Money from all over the world, offerings from devout worshippers, litters the floor in front of the table,. A display case holding a golden statue of the Buddha and two companion covers the entire opposite wall. The statue was two hundred years old when Jesus was born.

    Adjacent to this room is the library containing ancient books, translations from the original Sanskrit writings transported into Tibet centuries before Christ. These books themselves are quite old. Tibetan paper does not change color or become brittle over time, and in this dry climate can books last for millennia.

    Other dimly lit rooms hold more statues of the Buddha, some life-sized, some much larger. Always the thick cloud of incense almost obscures the view. Some statues are made of gold, others of lifelike polychrome ceramic. Some are smiling, others displaying fierce faces ward off evil. There are even female Buddhas, reminders that the Buddha has been reincarnated many times, sometimes as male, sometimes as female. These motherly goddesses called Tatas are especially adored by people who need a compassionate friend in the upper world.

    One of the most attractive rooms in the building is the assembly room. Here the Dalai Lama lectured his student for two hours each day. The room is large and comfortable, with palettes and khangs spread all around the floor. Narrow walkways wide enough only for a monk’s foot allow access to the center of the room. The ornate painted and carved ceiling is supported by square burgundy columns, smaller at the top than the bottom. The borders of each face of the two dozen identical columns display royal blue with gold painted trim. As in all the other rooms of the palace, the view is obscured by billowing clouds of incense smoke and tiny colored windows that make seeing difficult. Multicolored banners and prayer flags adorn the cushions on the floor and sag from the rafters above. The room is cluttered with them. Nearby in an adjacent room is a huge golden statue of the Buddha accompanied by famous Bodisattvas of history. Connecting rooms contain huge stupas covering the graves of other beloved teachers who were incarnated as the Dalai Lama.

    Eastern theology tends to be more poetic than prosaic, so one should not be surprised to learn that there has only been one Dalai Lama. He has been reincarnated, however, in fourteen different bodies. Yet, whenever and wherever he lives, the Dalai Lama is believed to be the same individual. The current Dalai Lama is over ninety years old. When he dies it will be interesting to see whether he names the person whose body will house his spirit in the next lifetime. Will he rule the government in exile in India? Will he live in the United States? Will his death mark the end of the Tibetan tradition of Buddhism. It will be interesting to see how all of these issues play out in years to come.
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  • Day16

    Jokhang Temple

    May 16, 2019 in China ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    Jokhang Temple is in Barkhor Square Tibetians consider this temple as the most sacred and important temple in Tibet. The temple architecture is a mixture of Indian, Tibetian and Nepalease design. It was established in the 7th century. It was impressive inside but unfortunately we could not take photo's which is a shame as the budhas and statues are incredible but I found some on google. Again really hard to learn anything about the temple but hopefully we can find some information when back in Nepal or even Sydney. Both Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple are impressive buildings with so much history and knowledge of Buddhism it is worth reading about.Read more

  • Day16

    On a Mission

    May 16, 2019 in China ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    We went back to Old Town in search of something simple for dinner. Old Town is only a 10min walk away. We walked for nearly 2 hours and could not really find something suitable. So we are back at the Hotel restaurant for pizza.

    The walk in Old Town was great though all the locals are out selling different sorts of food and some of the shops were still open.

    Fitbit Stats:

    20,788 Steps
    31 Flights of Stairs
    14.39 km

    No wonder we are tired.

    Now to watch a movie and ready to hit the road again tomorrow.
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  • Day13

    Tashi Lhunpo Monastery

    May 13, 2019 in China ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    After lunch we headed off to the Panchen Lama's Tashi Lhunpo Monastery. It was fascinating walking around the large 14th Century Monastry village and temples.

    Tashi Lhunpo Monastery was founded in 1447 by the 1st Dalai Lama and is a historic and culturally important monastery in Shigatse, the second-largest city in Tibet.

    The monastery was sacked when the Gorkha Kingdom invaded Tibet and captured Shigatse in 1791 before a combined Tibetan and Chinese army drove them back as far as the outskirts of Kathmandu, when they were forced to agree to keep the peace in the future, pay tribute every five years, and return what they had looted from Tashi Lhunpo.

    The monastery is the traditional seat of successive Panchen Lamas, the second highest ranking tulku lineage in the Gelug tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. The "Tashi" or Panchen Lama had temporal power over three small districts, though not over the town of Shigatse itself, which was administered by a dzongpön (prefect) appointed from Lhasa.

    Pilgrims circumnavigate the monastery on the lingkhor (sacred path) outside the walls.

    Although two-thirds of the buildings were destroyed during the excesses of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, they were mainly the residences for the 4,000 monks and the monastery itself was not as extensively damaged as most other religious structures in Tibet, for it was the seat of the Panchen Lama who remained in Chinese-controlled territory.

    However, during 1966 Red Guards led a crowd to break statues, burn scriptures and open the stupas containing the relics of the 5th to 9th Panchen Lamas, and throw them in the river. Some remains, though, were saved by locals, and in 1985, Choekyi Gyaltsen, 10th Panchen Lama, began the construction of a new stupa to house them and honour his predecessors. It was finally consecrated on 22 January 1989, just six days before he died aged fifty-one at Tashi Lhunpo. "It was as if he was saying now he could rest."
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  • Day16

    Barkhor Bazaar

    May 16, 2019 in China ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    The Bazaar is an area of narrow streets and public square located in the old town area of Lhasa. The Barkhor is a popular destination for pilgrims who undertake 1km walk around the Jokhang Temple.

    We walked around just window shopping as the shops look the same as everywhere else and our souvenir shopping has been completed for Tibet. We also had lunch in the area so I could rest my knee before the next monastery.
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  • Day16

    Walking from Potala Palace

    May 16, 2019 in China ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    We walked from Potala Palace to the Jokhang Palace which took about 30 min.

    Not much to see along the way the shops all very boring and very much Chinese.

    All I know is that my knee has just about had it after all the walking so far today so I needed to rest so we had a lunch break.Read more

  • Day17

    Last Night in Tibet

    May 17, 2019 in China ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

    Tonight is the last night in Tibet so we had a farewell dinner in Barkhor Square at a Tibetian Family Restuarant. We had Yak Momo, Yak and Vegetable Stir Fry with Lhasa Beer and finished with chocolate cake with Ginger and honey tea.

    Our group are a lovely bunch of people and hope to see them all again one day.

    Fit Bit Stats:
    Steps 16,375
    29 flights of stairs
    11.33 km
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  • Day17

    Dreprung Monastery

    May 17, 2019 in China ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

    More Monasteries today each one is a little different but essentially the same.

    Dreprung Monastery was built in 1416. Over 10,000 monks resided here making it the largest monastery in Tibet. It has 6 main temples, 3 monastic colleges. The monastery covers an area of 200,000 square metres.

    Again we walked heaps of stairs just to get to the monastery and then there are plenty more stairs inside. We only visited 2 of the temples but still very interesting.
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  • Day22

    Exploring Lhasa

    May 25, 2018 in China ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

    We finally recovered from jet lag and now are only suffering with altitude 😂 as a result we were forced to spend a significant amount of time sitting in rooftop terraces with some Lhasa beers, delicious Tibetan food and nice views over the old town at sunset...

    We spent the first few days exploring the old town, including of course Potala palace and Jokhang temple. We also visited the two largest buddhist monasteries in Tibet - they used to host 5000 to 7000 monks each, but now have no more than 400, in part because 80 000 tibetans left for exile in India along with the Dalai Lama, but mainly because the Chinese government decided to control and limit the number of monks who are allowed to live there. It was weird to realize that our guide was not allowed to talk about the current Dalai Lama, and this prohibition was enforced by cameras and mics in our van...

    We saw LOTS of Buddhas, inhaled a lot of yak butter and incense smell (often too much really), learned about the history of Tibet and understood how Buddhism is in practice. We were surprised to see every day lots of people doing pilgrimage and prostration around the palace and the temples, and especially to see how much money it involves. People who do not seem to have a lot give significant amounts of money to each Buddha statue and to each photo of one of the past Dalai Lamas. All this money seems to be used in part for the subsistence of the monks, but a big part seems to go to the scandalously rich tombs of each past Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama, some containing more than 3700 kg of gold...

    Overall, we were surprised by the amount of gold, jewels and other expensive metals in the monasteries as well as all the money many poor Tibetans were giving to their gods. We pictured Buddhism way differently, more focused on the soul and not as much on the luxurious, extravagant objects. We don’t have pictures of these because you have to pay high fees to be allowed! I guess these gods are shy and their keepers greedy...

    Now let’s go see some landscapes. Fingers crossed for the weather to allow good views on our next destination 🤞🏼🏔
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Lhasa, لاسا, Лхаса, লাসা, Һаса, Λάσα, Lasao, لهاسا, Lhassa, Lása, Lhasa-sṳ, להסה, ल्हासा, Lhásza, LXA, ラサ市, ლჰასა, 라사, Лхаса шаары, 拉薩市, Лхасе, Лхас, Lhasa-chhī, ଲାସା, Лхасæ, ਲਾਸਾ, لہاسا, Lassa, Ласа, லாசா, ลาซา, لاسا شەھىرى, Lhas, 拉萨市, Лхаса балһсн, 拉薩, 拉萨

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