Returning to the Source: KTD Pilgrims in Tibet – The Monastery Dedication

The author, Leesa Jane Chenoweth, across the Yangtze from the Tibetan Autonomous Region.
The author, Leesa Jane Chenoweth, from the roof of Palyul Monastery, Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture
Meeting Rinpoche and Lamas at JFK before our fight to Beijing.
Meeting Rinpoche and Lamas at JFK before our fight to Beijing.
We flew directly over the Arctic Circle (but it was cloudy and I couldn't see anything out the window)
We flew directly over the Arctic Circle (but it was cloudy and I couldn’t see anything out the window)
Weird cuteness...China style.
Weird cuteness…China style.
We caught another plane to Xining, China.
We caught another plane to Xining, China.
Rapid growth was happening in all the towns we traveled through. Buildings were lined in lights and the towns had a Times Square/Las Vegas aura to them. This is Xining.
Rapid growth was happening in all the towns we traveled through. Buildings were lined in lights and the towns had a Times Square/Las Vegas aura to them. This is Xining.
Before we embarked on our pilgrimage we met with Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche who gave us his blessing.
Before we embarked on our pilgrimage we met with Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche who gave us his blessing.
never really noticed areas of single dwelling houses like we have here. People seem mostly to live in large housing developments consisting of many tall buildings clustered together.
Never really noticed areas of single dwelling houses like we have here. People seem mostly to live in large housing developments consisting of many tall buildings clustered together.
Drive by mosque. We spent alot of time on the bus. On this day we were traveling to the largest salt water lake in China, known as Blue Lake and Qinghai Lake.
Drive by mosque. We spent alot of time on the bus. On this day we were traveling to the largest salt water lake in China, known as Blue Lake and Qinghai Lake.
Our first experience with a squat toilet was tempered by the appearance of a rainbow
Our first experience with a squat toilet was tempered by the appearance of a rainbow
'Om mani peme hung
‘Om mani peme hung” mantra written on the side of the mountain becomes a common sight . The signs are placed by the Chinese government.
Many tourists travel to Blue Lake and it appeared that some Tibetans offer picture opportunities with their yaks and ponies.
Many tourists travel to Blue Lake and it appeared that some Tibetans offer picture opportunities with their yaks and ponies.
 The traffic was astounding. Best not to sit in the front of the bus if you are afraid of dying in a head on collision.
The traffic was astounding. Best not to sit in the front of the bus if you are afraid of dying in a head on collision.
 The trip to the lake was exasperating at times. We westerners are a bit spoiled when it comes to freedom of movement. My first awakening to the fact that we were in a Communist country and couldn't do something as simple as walk to a beach. Several of us tried, but were redirected until we went through a gate and paid to get to the beach. The lake itself is huge, but there was fencing running the length of it as far as I could see.
The trip to the lake was exasperating at times. We westerners are a bit spoiled when it comes to freedom of movement. My first awakening to the fact that we were in a Communist country and couldn’t do something as simple as walk to a beach. Several of us tried, but were redirected until we went through a gate and paid to get to the beach. The lake itself is huge, but there was fencing running the length of it as far as I could see.
Just a reminder.
Just a reminder.
Blue Lake/Qinghai Lake
Blue Lake/Qinghai Lake
Tibetan Windhorse.
Tibetan Windhorse.
Xining
Xining
 Crowds were heavy at Kumbum Monastery
Crowds were heavy at Kumbum Monastery
Kumbum Monastery was founded in 1583 by the third Dalai Lama. It is home to approximately 400 monks.
Kumbum Monastery was founded in 1583 by the third Dalai Lama. It is home to approximately 400 monks.

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Many of our pilgrims, taking a picture break.
Many of our pilgrims, taking a picture break.
Goji berry museum. Interesting entrance where we could walk on glass that covered a 3 dimentional layout of China's topography.
Goji berry museum. Interesting entrance where we could walk on glass that covered a 3 dimentional layout of China’s topography.
Our pilgrimage separated into two groups as we went on to the airport to catch a plane to Yushu. Lama Karma and Lama Tsultrim see us off.
Our pilgrimage separated into two groups as we went on to the airport to catch a plane to Yushu. Lama Karma and Lama Tsultrim see us off.
I'm easily amused sometimes.
I’m easily amused sometimes.
On our way to Yushu from Xining.
On our way to Yushu from Xining.
Yushu. elevation 12,000 ft.
Yushu. elevation 12,000 ft.
We were greeted with smiles and katas.
We were greeted with smiles and katas.
We were taken care of at every step along the way
We were taken care of at every step along the way.
Thrangu Monastery, first sighting.
Thrangu Monastery, first sighting.
Thrangu Monastery. The purpose of our trip was to attend the 3 day consecration ceremony of the newly built monastery. It was destroyed in 2010 by an earthquake that also destroyed Yushu.
Thrangu Monastery. The purpose of our trip was to attend the 3 day consecration ceremony of the newly built monastery. It was destroyed in 2010 by an earthquake that also destroyed Yushu.
Communist monument representing the governments help in rebuilding Yushu.
Communist monument representing the governments help in rebuilding Yushu.
Monument of King Gesar.
Monument of King Gesar.
 A moment of dance in the streets of Yushu
A moment of dance in the streets of Yushu.
 Gesar Palace, our 5 star hotel (for about 50 USD a night)
Gesar Palace, our 5 star hotel (for about 50 USD a night).
Benchen Monastery.
Benchen Monastery.
 Prayer flags near Princess Wangchen Temple
Prayer flags near Princess Wangchen Temple.
 Entrance to Princess Wangchen Temple
Entrance to Princess Wangchen Temple.
Damkar Monastery.
Damkar Monastery, the seat of His Eminence 18th Dulmo Choje Rinpoche.
Domkar Monastery.
We took an extensive tour of Damkar Monastery; many slides of Damkar Monastery follow.
Temple lion outside main shrine room.
Temple lion outside main shrine room.
Entry room for main shrine room.
Entry room for main shrine room.
Buddha with offering of katak.
Buddha with offering of katak.
Inside main shrine room.
Inside main shrine room.
Side view, exterior, Damkar Monastery.
Side view, exterior, Damkar Monastery.
Tea and food were offered to us.
Tea and food were offered to us.

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The Wheel of Life.
The Wheel of Life.
Looking down onto main shrine room with monks practicing.
Looking down onto main shrine room with monks practicing.
Looking down onto main shrine room with monks practicing.
Looking down onto main shrine room with monks practicing.
Medicine Buddha.
Medicine Buddha.
Dzambhala with jewel-spitting mongoose.
Dzambhala with jewel-spitting mongoose.
Looking down onto main shrine room.
Looking down onto main shrine room.
We were given a glorious grand tour while here ... roof and all, to my delight.
We were given a glorious grand tour while here … roof and all, to my delight.

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This looks like HH 17th Karmapa to me, some thought it was the 16th.
HH the 17th Karmapa. Karmapa Chenno!
Vajradhara, I believe. This was in the lineage shrine room.
Vajradhara, I believe. This was in the lineage shrine room.
Mikyo Dorje, the 8th Karmapa.
Mikyo Dorje, the 8th Karmapa.
My lovely roommate, Karen Lucic.
My lovely roommate, Karen Lucic.
 Getting ready for celebrations at Thrangu Monastery
Getting ready for celebrations at Thrangu Monastery.

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 Preparations at Thrangu Monastery
Preparations at Thrangu Monastery.
 Main Shrine Thrangu Monastery

Main Shrine Thrangu Monastery.

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Lama House, Thrangu Monastery.
Lama House, Thrangu Monastery.

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Thrangu Rinpoche giving a blessing.
Thrangu Rinpoche giving a blessing.
 We followed the Tibetans lead and took this short cut .
We followed the Tibetans lead and took this short cut.
.
 Entrance to Thrangu Shedra.
Entrance to Thrangu Shedra.
 Work still in progress at the monastery.
Work still in progress at the monastery.
Shedra entrance.
Shedra entrance.
Inside main shrine room at Thrangu Monastery.
Inside main shrine room at Thrangu Monastery.
Longest mani wall.
Longest mani wall.
 Prayer wheels on front side of mani walls.
Prayer wheels on front side of mani walls.

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Our restaurant for our evening meal.
Thrangu Monastery main shrine room.
Thrangu Monastery main shrine room.
Thrangu Monastery
Thrangu Monastery
Happy to be here.
Happy to be here.
Yak!
Yak!
Our lunch and dinner tent.
Our lunch and dinner tent.
Our monks and lamas getting the VIP treatment.
Our monks and lamas getting the VIP treatment.
 Amy on the lawn of Thrangu Monastery, awaiting our beloved teacher, Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche.
Amy on the lawn of Thrangu Monastery, awaiting our beloved teacher, Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche.
Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche.
Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche.
For three days the Tibetans brought offerings, and stood for hours waiting their turn to offer them.
For three days the Tibetans brought offerings, and stood for hours waiting their turn to offer them.
Tired monks ... many are very young.
Tired monks … many are very young.
Monks carrying offerings of rice.
Monks carrying offerings of rice.
Amy Schwartz, member of the planning committee for this trip.
Amy Schwartz, member of the planning committee for this trip.
Inside Traleg Rinpoche Stupa — with Shirley and Amy.
Inside Traleg Rinpoche Stupa — with Shirley and Amy.

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The evening of the first day of celebration there was a play of Milarepa's life.
The evening of the first day of celebration there was a play of Milarepa’s life.
Our bus driver, dressed for the day's celebrations.
Our bus driver, dressed for the day’s celebrations.
This morning was the consecration of the Shedra.
This morning was the consecration of the Shedra.
Taking pictures of us - photo courtesy Theodore Bale.
Taking pictures of us – photo courtesy Theodore Bale.
Thrangu Rinpoche during the Shedra consecration ceremony.
Thrangu Rinpoche during the Shedra consecration ceremony.

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Local Tibetans were very curious of us.
Local Tibetans were very curious of us.
Tibetan pony.
Tibetan pony.
Tedd Bale and his friends.
Tedd Bale and his friends.
Music for the dancers.
Music for the dancers.
Many traditional Tibetan dances were performed.
Many traditional Tibetan dances were performed.
There was singing by children who were orphaned by the earthquake that destroyed Yushu and surrounding monasteries in 2010.
There was singing by children who were orphaned by the earthquake that destroyed Yushu and surrounding monasteries in 2010.

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Outside shot of our lunch and dinner tent.
Outside shot of our lunch and dinner tent.
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This was our most crowded time. It was during and empowerment and blessing.
 The pictures cannot capture the crazy energy that was happening during this blessing.
The pictures cannot capture the crazy energy that was happening during this blessing.
 There were thousands of us moving between the two buildings, while the lamas flipped blessing water from tree fronds onto our heads and the Rinpoches tossed blessing rice. It was grand!
There were thousands of us moving between the two buildings, while the lamas flipped blessing water from tree fronds onto our heads and the Rinpoches tossed blessing rice. It was grand!
Thrangu Rinpoche can be seen sitting under the parasol. He was tossing out blessing rice to the masses that were passing beneath him and the other lamas.
Thrangu Rinpoche can be seen sitting under the parasol. He was tossing out blessing rice to the masses that were passing beneath him and the other lamas.
Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche and Lama Karma Drodhul.
Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche and Lama Karma Drodhul.
Thrangu Monastery lamas and monks.
Thrangu Monastery lamas and monks.

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My very good friend Lama Tsultrim Yeshe.
My very good friend Lama Tsultrim Yeshe.
The valley below the previous Thrangu Monastery.
The valley below the previous Thrangu Monastery.
The protector shrine. I was told by Lama Karma that before the earthquake it was much larger. This is all that remains.
The protector shrine. I was told by Lama Karma that before the earthquake it was much larger. This is all that remains.
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Stupas seen from main road on the site of destroyed Thrangu Monastery.
Beginnning of the road up to the old Thrangu Monastery.
Beginnning of the road up to the old Thrangu Monastery.
Earthquake destruction.
Earthquake destruction.
While I was walking up the road Lama Karma came down in a SUV with his sisters. He let them out to walk with me up to the monastery. Each one immediately took one of my hands and noticing how cold they were, started rubbing them to warm them.
While I was walking up the road Lama Karma came down in a SUV with his sisters. He let them out to walk with me up to the monastery. Each one immediately took one of my hands and noticing how cold they were, started rubbing them to warm them.
It was a pretty good walk up to the monastery.
It was a pretty good walk up to the monastery.
We were emphatically warned about the vicious guard dog at the monastery who actually did attack Michelle Martin a few days earlier. There was indeed a vicious dog at the top of the stairs ... but he only had one tooth.
We were emphatically warned about the vicious guard dog at the monastery who actually did attack Michelle Martin a few days earlier. There was indeed a vicious dog at the top of the stairs … but he only had one tooth.
Earthquake damaged in 2010.
Earthquake damaged in 2010.
Still here after 5 years. It says alot about how deeply the locals believe in karma.
Still here after 5 years. It says alot about how deeply the locals believe in karma.

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 Outside wall of main shrine room.
Outside wall of main shrine room.
Main doors of shrine room.
Main doors of shrine room.
Trekking up the mountain to the 3 year retreat site, where Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche did his 3 year retreat.
Trekking up the mountain to the 3 year retreat site, where Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche did his 3 year retreat.
3 year retreat site.
3 year retreat site.

 

We all practiced at this sacred site.
We all practiced at this sacred site.
The view from the top.
The view from the top.
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