Tengboche Monastery

 

After a four hour walk from Namche, we’re proud of ourselves for making it in such a short time. We’ve reached the high point of the trip that we were aiming for. We’re at 13,000 and change. Photos, oohs and aahs. Lunch and a quick tea at our lodge which is mere footsteps from the monastery. Napped for ½ hour then headed over, preparing to run videos, take photos and see a holy room full of monks, chanting loudly, moving my soul. Instead, the walls were lined with Westerners looking for a show. Fifty of them lined the walls, surrounding the lamas who were already chanting a peace prayer when we came in.

 
Ang Tsering led us to a spot near the altar at the front of the room. We sat quiet and still. The Westerners shuffled and coughed like at the opera, sniffing and shifting audibly. I was completely still, listening to the chant. The lamas stopped and sipped tea in unison, took a breath, then the lead lama began chanting again. The swishing of hiking fabrics was drowned out for a moment by the low rumbling words in Tibetan. I was only slightly surprised when Ang Tsering added his own prayer-thoughts to the mix in a low whispered rumble.  How thrilling that we’ve traveled for nine days with a lama, a trained monk as our guide who could teach us the intricacies of the Buddha paintings on each wall of every monastery we’ve visited.

I sat beside him marveling at how much more meaningful this pilgrimage has been because of him. I am at Tengboche, the highest Monastery in Nepal, the one that escaped my full attention the last time I was here. The one that has called to me since I last saw it. I knew I would see it again.

The protector god in all his forms
 
Tomorrow, very early, we hope to catch morning prayers, with fewer tourists gawking, more chance of being in the space uninhibited, more in the moment without distractions.
 
Besides, when we left this afternoon, Mary Beth said she wanted to go back and asked if we could. “I have a few more things I need to talk to Buddha about.”

Monks blowing conch shells to call the others to the puja (chanting prayer)