WuTaiShan 31 July 2004
This is a beautiful, green place. The hillsides
are covered with wildflowers of every color and variety. Verdant
is the word that comes to mind. Temples are everywhere, over
a hundred of them in the area and impossible to see all of them.
So we chose to stick mostly to the ones that had a Tibetan connection.
We visited the meditation cave of the 6th Dalai Lama. It clings
to a rock face up which a widing narrow staircase leads the visitor
to his house and then on up to his cave, barely large enough
to accommodate one person. Next to it is a spring of clear blue
water in the rock face from which a monk laddles out water for
the visitors. Some take away liters and liters of the stuff.
I have a small container with me now to bring back to India with
us. I cannot carry liters all through Tibet. Too old. Too lazy.
On the weekend thousands of Chinese tourists arrive by bus loads
to rush around to every temple and bow and make offerings. We
asked one very nice Chinese monk we met who was wearing Mongolian
garb what they all thought they were doing and why they all came
to the temples. He said they really understood nothing at all
about Buddhism but they came there to see the temples like tourists.
Also, he said that when they get there they want to fit in with
the monks and nuns there and so they imitate them. They make
all the offerings and such to get a good job, more money and
a pretty girlfriend or handsome boyfriend. Sounds like people
the world over, does it not? Both Ray and I think that this would
be a wonderful place to do a short retreat but only in the cold
weather times of year when the tourists do not come up. A dream?