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CHINA-RELIGION/
RTS66XF
November 09, 2015
The view from among Larung Wuming monastery is breathtaking. Colourful Tibetan prayer flags flutter,...
LARUNG, China
A Picture and its Story: Tibetan pilgrims: prayers, chants and utmost bliss
The view from among Larung Wuming monastery is breathtaking. Colourful Tibetan prayer flags flutter, clouds scud across dark blue sky; in the valley, miniature people go about their business. The occasion: the Utmost Bliss Dharma Assembly, to mark Buddha's descent from Tushita Heaven. Tens of thousands of believers join monks and nuns in daily chanting and praying. Even before the sun comes out people start arriving, sitting on the frozen ground and praying in sub-zero temperatures. Tibetans' traditional clothes - funky hats and jackets with endless sleeves - seem to keep out the cold much better than my fancy all-weather gear. Thankfully, I get some of the hot yak-butter tea distributed to believers shivering under blankets. Then the sun comes out behind the hill, hitting straight into my cameras. Pictures are painted in gold and I play with flares in my lenses, a rare pleasure. I enjoy every second. Chanting, praying and listening to monks' teaching lasts eight days, from sunrise to sunset. We climb another hill to see sky burials: bodies of deceased ethnic Tibetans offered to vultures. On the top of yet another hill we visit monasteries and simple monks' homes to see how they live. We eat vegetarian food and drink more yak-butter tea, almost forgetting about the 15-hour return drive. Somehow the bends in the road don't seem as tortuous nor the trip so endless. Perhaps that's what a pilgrimage does for you. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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