I had a feeling that I wasn’t in Kansas (or Missouri, or Los Angeles, or anywhere else) any more. In Chengdu I felt like a foreigner; in Tibet I had the uncanny feeling that I had finally come home.
On our second day, Puba took me on the moto to see the village of Bamei and to visit another monastery on a hillside. I got off at the bottom of the hill and walked up while Puba negotiated the frightful, bumpy road on the moto.
I was informed that a “very important lama” lives here, but he was sleeping. We approached the gompa to the sound of a beating drum that accompanied rhythmic chanting. When the chanting ended a monk opened his door and came out to unlock the prayer hall for our private viewing. This one was small, with stunning murals and great hanging banners of exquisite silk brocade. I photographed a detail of the painted decoration above the entrance door.
Back in the courtyard, I was amazed by the litter, beer bottles, and generally unkempt grounds, through which chickens strutted. The contrast between stunning works of painting and sculpture and unsightly trash always surprised me (maybe it was also a natural acceptance of the presence of the divine in the everyday clutter of life).
Puba had brought a bag of bread from town, and before climbing partway up the hill to rest, we consecrated ourselves and drank from a sacred mountain spring, emerging from a long wooden spout from beneath a small shrine. We also refilled our water bottles with the fresh, clean water. As we sat and snacked on the hill, I got perhaps the perfect “Tibet” photo, of the small gompa set against its backdrop of rounded mountains.
The evil roosters who stole our bread