Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Gyuto monks chant a peaceful protest in McLeod

Last night was a wonderful occasion here in Mcleod Ganj, Dharamsala!

The monks from Gyuto Monastery came across the valley and up our mountain to the Tsuglakhang [the Main Temple] just opposite HHDL's residence

they came to have their say on Tibet and did so, not with slogans or rhetoric, but by chanting the main section from the Guhyasamaja Puja

this particular practice originated here in India, probably in the 4th century c.e. and since its arrival in Tibet it has always strongly linked HHDL, Tibet and the Gelug School [of which Gyuto is the most revered Tantric University]

the whole event was organised for sunset and i only knew about it because of my own connection with Gyuto - again nobody else seemed to show up!
the whole asembly of Gyuto bussed it up but walked in procession through McLeod to Main Temple chanting quietly
Once they got in place, the Guhyasamaja chant began straight away
Hundreds of butter lamps were lit... remembering the dead and all suffering beings... bringing hope at the darkest hour... aspiring to become the light of wisdom to dispel the darkness of delusion in the world...

The Gyuto monks in particular have a very strong reputation as monks go
they are not only famous for their powerful chanting tradition but also as hard men - just the ones to call if you really want to get the job done!

Soon, the most amazing thing started to take place...
word had spread that Gyuto was in town and they meant 'business'! They were going to chant up a storm!
people came from everywhere in a steady stream of monastic robes, local tibetan attire and tourist nike and lowe alpine
the whole place filled to bursting
the monks were so inspired, their chant became all the more deeply moving and powerful
within half an hour, the whole place was flooded with vigil candlelight
Some of the monks were carrying the Tibetan flag - an offence inside tibet punishable by imprisonment
and now the chinese want, without any international criticism whatsoever, to carry the olympic torch across tibet to china! is the irony of that symbolism completely lost on them?

Although this was not a political rally, the monks also brought with them many banners like this one and several large sized photos of mutilated and tortured tibetans which you can imagine but i won't show here

But how could such an occasion not be political in nature?

If religion and politics are both about the welfare of people then they must be linked - directly

of course, that is not to say they are the same thing

however, Gyuto brought both elements together in the most dignified and profound way.

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