“Bon monastery and Great Himalayan reserve”
The first day of our expedition lasted forever … The whole group gathered at the airport in New Delhi only by 5 in the morning. From the airport we immediately went to the Himalayas. With small stops in beautiful and clean places, we got to the hotel by 12 noon and, having rested for a while, rushed to the Bon monastery of Menri.
Our friends Andrei Kononov and Larisa Rozhnova, as always without promising anything, recommended us to come by 4 o’clock – and suddenly you will fall for Menri Rinpoche’s blessing … We arrived a little later, bought kkhadaki – white scarves and, not hoping of anything, began to climb the stairs to the main temple and the residence of the Abbot. By this time, the expedition members did not sleep all night and the first half of the day. I asked everyone if they were tired … But I heard in response only a friendly exclamation – No! Ready for any adventures and meetings! Andrei Kononov was a little nervous – he very much wanted us to go to His Holiness, who celebrated his 87th birthday two days ago.
Near the residence we were waited by Larisa Rozhnova – my old friend, artist tanks (Tibetan icon), translator, and excellent guide. The door of the residence was already locked. We were a little upset … But literally a minute later the door swung open, and His Holiness Menri Rinpoche appeared. He pointed to his watch and shook his head. I emotionally began to explain that we were in a great hurry, overcame obstacles on the way, tried to get on time. Probably such a short, but swift performance amused Rinpoche, and he smiled and said that now he would walk a little around the monastery and receive us. Meanwhile, we walked around the gompa and waited at the main entrance, listening with interest to Andrei, then Larisa, looking at the main building of the monastery and asking questions.
And finally, it was time to talk … We were invited to the apartments of His Holiness. We sat next to him, quiet and a bit tense. It should be noted that we have a very interesting group. Five people from our team went through the bark around Kailash, and with various guides from ITC Kailash, some went on tours of Ladakh and Spiti with our Indian guide Rajeshwar Pal and with me. People, that is called – “experienced”. Only two people were in the Himalayas and in India for the first time. Therefore, there was no fuss, everyone perceived what was happening as a continuation of the great Himalayan path. Menri Rinpoche began to ask questions. And when he learned that we were going to Spiti through Kinnaur, and then through Rohtang to Kullu, he began to talk about the kingdoms of Shangshung and Guge. He became very animated when he learned that part of the group had passed through the bark around Kailash. His eyes lit up, and he drew attention to the fact that it is necessary to take water from the sacred lake Manasarovar and stones near the highest point of passage of the bark. He asked about the sensations during the passage and what they thought about, why they decided to go around Kailash. Larisa Rozhnova asked to “revive”, written by her thkhanku Garuda. And on the other side, His Holiness began to write four syllables. We, with bated breath, looked at this action!
When they met, Menri Rinpoche asked whether the expedition members had visited the Garuda Valley in Tibet. And he was very happy to hear that the pilgrims did not avoid her. After the Garuda’s thangka was properly wrapped, Larisa began to talk about the Bon tradition. And a number of monks practiced debates.
Read more about the monastery in the article “The Tibetan Bon religion in India”
It was very important for us to visit the Bon monastery and receive the blessing of Rinpoche! First, the expedition will pass through the territories of the ancient kingdom of Shangshung and Guge, and secondly, we make the Buddhist circle counterclockwise, that is, as followers of the Bon religion perform parikrama around the temples and bark around Kailash. They say that they walk like this, because they follow the ways of the heart, and not of the mind. The religious procession in Orthodoxy also goes counterclockwise … And also, Rinpoche told us about those places that we must definitely visit in Spiti. But I will talk about this further. In the meantime … evening came and the sun was setting!
The day was nearing its end, but did not want to leave. The weather was very gentle. And we went to the stupa. There sometimes there is a feeling that you are standing on the bridge, and around – the waves of the Himalayan mountains. Today it was this state that was on a mortar. His Holiness Menri Rinpoche walked along the path. Thank you so much for such a day! Om Ma Tri Mu Sa Sa Le Du! (Main Bon mantra)
From Solan through Shimla in the evening, in the dark we got to our hotel in the Great Himalayan Reserve. And in the morning we went to the temple of Gara Durga, where we arranged to meet with the minister. At this time in the Himalayas – the sun, then the rain. But very pretty! On narrow roads we made our way to the temple. At the entrance to the village where the beautiful temple of Gara Durga is located is a small altar Naramsinha. It helps people cope with difficulties and obstacles.
The road to the temple is always interesting! The locals watch the aliens with interest.