Saturday, June 8, 2013

Around the Dalai Lama

Hey Everybody,

We are up in McLeod Ganj now, so today we walked over to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama's compound.  There is his residence, a monastery, some temples and educational institutes very close  together there.  We started out with visiting the temples, which are very intricately decorated with Tibetan art.  They use very bright colors for their pictures of different Bodhisattvas and deities, and all of the walls are painted, plus there are larger paintings in the shrines.  You could spend all day just looking at the paintings because they are so detailed and all around the place.  We went through a couple of temples and walked around them, and spun the prayer wheels along the outside.  The Tibetans have this really cool idea about prayer wheels, where they place a ton of tiny mantras, or prayers, inside of a cylindrical wheel, then spin it so all of the prayers are given spiritually at once.  Then there is a row of wheels around the outside of the temple and people walk around spinning each one, and that adds up to millions of mantras in a short period of time.  Also it is kind of fun when everyone is doing it together, and I think we should always enjoy fun spirituality.

After that we circumambulated the H.H. the Dalai Lama's home, walking along a path outside of the grounds around his house.  The view of the mountains and valleys was beautiful, there was some fog but we could see a bunch of villages and monasteries on the landscape.  There were long rows of prayer wheels along this path too, so if you spun all of those you really were putting some mantras out there.  They even had some giant prayer wheels, with really a lot of mantras inside, and I had to put some effort into getting them to go around good.

Then we reached the entrance to the grounds, which was closed off, and it had a couple of stupas, which are memorials, and incense and offering burning structures.  There was also a structure on the outside with a very interesting wall that everyone should know about.  It was a memorial with the pictures of all of the Tibetans that have conducted self-immolations in protest of China's occupation of Tibet.  Self-immolation is when a person douses themselves in gasoline and lights it on fire, then sits in meditation as they burn.  This is the last resort for protesters that have no other avenue for non-violent expression, but unfortunately not enough westerners are aware that it is going on.  The Chinese government is doing a lot of evil things to Tibetans, and the Chinese people for that matter, but because they are important economically these atrocities do not receive enough media attention.  That is what happens when they same people that run our economics control the major media outlets.  Thank God for the internet though, we can spread awareness here, and maybe help the movement towards change in China, and peace around the world.  Free Tibet!


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