The Norden Blog

An intimate look into life on the Tibetan Plateau around the Norden Camp

A Ray of Sunshine

The visit of a holy being into one’s home is considered the blessing of a lifetime. Norden’s landlord received this blessing on May 2nd, when the young incarnate of the celebrated Gonthang Rinpoche from Labrang Monastery visited his home on his way to Norden Camp.

Sankhok nomads have only recently begun to live in houses. Twenty five years ago, the area was divided into large plots of several hectares which were fenced and allocated to the local nomads. Most families built amakeshift house on these plots and live there from January to June, the rest of the time spent in the higher grazing areas. In summer the houses are left empty, in winter they serve as shelter, only a little better than a tent.

The lama came around noon, two large vehicles, from where he and his entourage poured out. While they were offered a generous meal in the two tiny rooms that made up the house, the family busily organized the blessing ceremony for the fifty so relatives and friends who had gathered. A dzomo and a horse, attired in brocade waited impatiently to be offered in the yard. I had seen both of them wandering in the camp several years in a row and the dzomo had a colorful cloth around her neck, identifying her as having had her life extended for some years.

In front of the house, several men were actively trying to upgrade a plastic chair into a throne of sorts from where the lama would dispense the blessing. I knew I was not to take photographs unless asked to do so. Yidam had brought me there, knowing I would love to see this and I waited patiently until I was asked to come into the room and take a formal picture. I decided to restrain myself from taking the blessing scene out of respect, though I did get the crowd.

The animals were offered on the Lama’s way out, and he happily continued to the camp. The next day, I spotted the horse and dzomo wandering in the camp, the horse gallivanting across the center with remnants of his brocade ornament.

By Kim Yeshi