Wednesday, December 21, 2011

monks in maroon robes

monks in maroon robes
gather at the Great Stupa
to pray for victims
of the earthquake that destroyed
Taklung monastery

Today a group of Buddhist monks in their dark red robes are sitting in a group on Bouddhanath's lowest platform. We are told that they are praying for the victims, living and deceased, of the earthquake that struck Kyegundo, Kham, in eastern Tibet on 14 April 2010. The earthquake destroyed the entire village, killing over 1400 people. Even more devastating for Tibetans was the collapse of the 800-year-old Taklung monastery. Stupas on the hillside toppled, but many of the stone Buddha still sit serenely. While the monks chant, we sit cross-legged on the edge of the gathering to meditate. Afterwards we join Tibetans performing kora, circumambulating the stupa, turning prayer wheels and chanting with their prayer beads.

          Meanwhile, life goes on around Bouddhanath: women selling corn to feed the pigeons, vendors selling vegetables, blind musicians playing, a woman making beaded bracelets, dogs sleeping in the sunshine.

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