The Himalayas of India:  Ladakh and Dharamsala, Summer 2008
Himachal Pradesh - The Dalai Lama's Temple and Dal Lake
Page 9 of 16


We all sat in the shelter of the Dalai Lama's temple as the rain continued unabated for hours.  Some of the locals say that Dharamsala is the second wettest place in India, after Cherrapunjee.

At the Dalai Lama's Temple in Dharamsala.

Kagyur manuscripts, translated from Pali texts, housed at the Dalai Lama's Temple.

Julie from The Tibet Connection had emailed, advising that I leave an offering for Waylon, and so I did, in front of the statue of Avolokiteshvara (Chenresig, the Buddha of Compassion). 

Some people, perhaps in part to avoid the downpour, sat in front of the Dalai Lama's Temple studying Buddhist teachings.

The glow of the yak butter lamps in front of the Dalai Lama's Temple.

The debates began downstairs at 6:30 pm, and soon the lower courtyard was alive with the voices of monks debating.  The Tibetan Buddhist monks have developed a unique method of debate, used to promote a deep exchange of philosophical dialectics.



Here the final point of the closing argument is punctuated by exaggerated slapping of the hands to signal the end of their point. 

The courtyard was filled with the cacophony of their voices and the echoes with their slap.

It was a common sight to see monks using exaggerated gestures and raised voices to drive make their points known.

Sometimes, other monks would join in the debate, several shouting down the other.  And some got in the other monk's face, using wild facial expressions and gesticulations in heated debate.  This continued for well over an hour before the monks evaporated.  Another traveler, a Frenchman, also stayed until the end, the two of us enthralled despite not knowing the debate.  I met a Tibetan named Gonpa who told me some of the debates centered around the philosophical perception of color.

The debates over, I walked up the stairs one more time, just to see if anything was happening.  Many monks were reciting prayers, a puja in process, while sitting in front of the hall where the Dalai Lama gives speeches and assemblies.

I ended the long day by going to Gakyi's, wanting a warm, homey atmosphere, eating flag fat noodles with vegetables and fried garlic, washing it down with a sweet lassi for 65Rs (US$1.50 - 42 rupees equaled one dollar).

18 July - after the long day of the Tibetan Library, the hike in Bhagsu, and the Dalai Lama's temple yesterday, I thought a nice quiet walk to Dal Lake would feel great.  And it did.

Two kids on the walk up to Dal Lake, across the street from Tibetan Children's Village.

A dog holds court in the Tibetan Children's Village on the walk up to Dal Lake.

The Himalayas of India:  Ladakh and Dharamsala, Summer 2008
Page 9 of


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