May 6, 2006

Smiles from Tibet

Potala Palace

For the past two weeks I traveled throughout China, Tibet, and Taiwan. The trip was wonderful - so many sights, fragrances, sounds, landscapes and faces, so many experiences that deeply touched me. In Tibet, the old temples, aging and yet so adored by the people were amazing. I will never forget entering these temples and monasteries, and inhaling the penetrating fragrance of incense and yak butter candles. Unfortunately, these traditions have cast a dusky film on the colorful murals and adornments inside. The interiors appeared dingy and worn, disintegrating before your eyes.

Tibetan Child

This child greeted us as the Potala Palace with a spontaneous warm smile and "Hello!” one of a few English words she knew. Faces like hers, with such freshness and innocence, are tremendously uplifting. Yet, beyond the smile, the faces of the Tibetan people tell a story of a fascinating culture and simple way of life spiritually inspired, and of a recent history with so much political pain and strife. Tibet tradition is fading rapidly, as the aging monasteries and influx of another culture into this region attest. This is a living lesson in impermanence.

Yamdrok Yumtso Lake

Juxtaposed with this reality is the surrounding panorama of mountains – high and strong and beautiful, with gloriously clean blue-blue lakes and skies. There is an enduring and rugged timelessness in this stunning landscape that is contrasted in the fleeting moment of this little girl’s tender smile.

There is a subtle bliss just underneath or beyond the poignancy and sadness of impermanence. As I continually experience, impermanence is all around, everywhere, inherent in form, all forms. Realizing this I instantly realize ... the unborn, undying, uncreated, unconditioned, permanent and naked consciousness - the awareness-that-is-awake that you are. And that smile of subtle bliss fills the sky. Yes, it entirely fills that vast, impossibly blue sky over the Tibetan plateau.


Trev Diesel said...

For those of us that wish to visit such a place and have not had the opportunity...

...thanks for sharing! Keep stories coming if there's more to tell!


isaiah said...

What beautiful pictures!

Yes, keep stories coming.

gratefulbear said...

I hope to follow in your footsteps in the next year or two and travel to China and Tibet myself. Please share more photos here! And if you don't mind me asking, I'd love to know if you went as part of a tour group like Snow Lion or if you traveled on your own.

jbmoore said...

Why should one be sad at change? Isn't that the mind wishing for something that has never been and will never be? Mountains erode and uplift, oceans change, continents drift, and life evolves. These are the only certainties until the Sun consumes this world billions of years in the future. The moments you captured are fleeting and to be treasured, and now they are gone, to be replaced by something equally fleeting yet, beautiful. Thanks for sharing those moments.

Larry said...

Wonderful, Meredith.

Meredith said...

Thank you for visiting, dear friends. It's great to be back.