Sunset on Shishapangma from Base Camp
haven't lived until you have been yelled at by a Tibetan monk."
no signs, I swear it. Inside the Summer Palace of the Dalai Lama, in
the retreat called Norbulinka, enclosed in a glass case, was a three-foot,
gold gilt statue of a fierce diety named Dorje. He is a protector
diety who is blue. I have taken a liking to him, with his
claws, fierce look. He holds a dorje (a ritual thunderbolt) in
hand. He usually is surrounded by fire.
snapped the picture, in rushes a monk uttering "she she shee no no!". I
was startled. Another monk rushes in. I apologize
immediately, realizing that this is forbidden, and fumble through the controls of
the digital camera, showing them the photo, then deleting it. They
relaxed, all was OK, the second one drifted away. The first one points to
his ear, then a small white box with a red light in the upper corner of
monk was probably in his 50s, very lean, with a big smile now, in familiar
crimson robes. He showed us through a few rooms, as much out of pride as
keeping an eye on us for more infractions. I was penitent.
us a photo of a younger Dalai Lama painted on the wall in one of the
bedrooms, and the fifth Dalai Lama on the other wall. Except for the current
Dalai Lama, I can't keep them straight.
interested in a small, rectangular carved plaque with an inscription
over a door. I framed the door nicely, and got another warning.
Now it was obvious: It was not OK to shoot inside the rooms, but outside
is fine. He allowed me to shoot a tight shot of just the plaque,
perhaps stretching the rules.
All is good
though, as I offered 10 yuan to the box by the throne, and smiled. He
smiled back. A warm recognition of compliance.
It is late
at night, nearly bedtime. The building is dark, except a faint
Entering the far end of the room, I could see two figures huddled closely,
looking at me apprehensively. One was robed, the other familiar.
should be told, but not from China, and not in public. I will tell it to
anybody who contacts me personally.
leave for Shigatse.
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