Rugged Tales

Wherever my feet may take me…

Religious observances


As yesterday was a rest day some of us walked back up to Tengboche after lunch to listen to the monks at prayer. Tengboche is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery, the largest in the area. It’s a building with a chequered past: founded in 1916 it was rebuilt once after being destroyed by an earthquake in 1934, and again after being destroyed by fire in 1989. Third time lucky…

Despite the loss of many precious books and paintings in the fire the restored monastery is an impressive building, and the splendour of the prayer hall (and the large compliment of some 60 monks) reflects its wealth.

The prayer hall at Tengboche Gompa.

The prayer hall at Tengboche Gompa.

Only six monks were at prayer during our visit but their dissonant chants were rich and other-worldly despite their small number. Although attempting to muster an appropriately spiritual frame of mind I was more than a little envious of both their thick red cloaks and the regular top-ups of tea from a seventh monk, as my breath steamed white in the unheated hall.

If only the other tourists, who outnumbered by monks by around 10:1, had shared their discipline. Our group was in place 10 minutes before the prayers started, sat quietly throughout and refrained from fiddling with distracting gadgets, as the notices had politely requested us. Many of the others, however, arrived up to 25 minutes after the prayers had started, walked about and fidgeted creating a background static of Goretex rustles, and provided an unwelcome accompaniment of clicks, chimes and beeps from an assortment of cameras. Lacking a monkish discipline myself, my irritation at this behaviour (which seemed a poor return for the privilege of observing the ceremony) disturbed my inner peace very sadly.

Fortunately, the peacefulness of this area, and the good company of friends old and new, restored me. With such a wonderful view from my bedroom window this morning, it’s hard to stay cross for long.

The soothing view from my bedroom window.

The soothing view from my bedroom window.

Author: ruggedtales

Wandering the globe in search of insight and adventure!

5 thoughts on “Religious observances

  1. Hi Chris, this Robert from the trek. I made it home, more or less hale and hearty. Thanks for sharing you blogs. Goose Viki into doing one also. I hope all is well….keep posting

    • Hi Robert! Glad to hear you made it home safe. Thanks fir reading – I hope you enjoy it. I’ll encourage Viki to write too. Sorry you’re not still here with us.

      • Pat Mary on the back if you get a chance…I think she is getting discouraged…let me know how everyone s doing if you get a chance…Tell Peter my flank pain is increasing…seeing urologist Thursday morning…thanks

  2. Chris, I am a friend of Mary’s and really appreciate you keeping those of us who are not as adventurous up to date on the Everest Base Camp Expedition! I would love to be there but just don’t see it in my weak knee-d future. A few Colorado 14-ers are my limit. Please tell Mary the boys are staying with Lorie and me at her house tomorrow night and with her sister Friday and Saturday. They are doing really well. And seem in good spirits. It is Spring Break after all and 60 degrees and sunny. Reade is spending the night with Mac tonight and Mac may stay with us tomorrow night. No worrying!!! Thanks again and best of luck with your trekking. Kim Knight

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