This morning we woke up at 5am to be able to sit in on morning meditation with the nuns. It was such a wonderful, relaxing experience. The hum of their prayers reverberating through the brightly frescoed walls depicting peaceful and wrathful gods. The nuns line up sitting crossed legged and sometimes stop to drink tea, or have a snack. There are intermittent pauses in the chorus, and then they will all start up again, almost all at once. There were occasional breaks where there would be playing of instruments like horns, cymbals, and drums, then back to the humming of prayer. It felt very human. Though they are a group of nuns, and a few monks here and there, it was a serious business, but not too serious for being friendly or human. When someone would walk up to take their place, smiles and sometimes a brief conversation would ensue. [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500"] Morning meditation at Thuptenchholing monastery.[/caption]
We walked around and took in the sights. And the sights are extraordinary. The monastery is perched high above a valley with streams and tall pines everywhere. There are Tibetan prayer flags strung across valleys of immense distance. The monastery is not too old, so the buildings are in quite good condition, and they are beautiful in a beautiful setting. We walked through numerous kitchens, all preparing food for the 600 or so nuns. That means a lot of potatoes, since those are the staple here. They grow a lot of spinach here too. It really is a beautiful, magical, peaceful place.
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500"] Dried yak cheese, it's just as tasty as it sounds..[/caption]
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="450"] A testament to their patients, nuns peal thousands of potatoes every day.[/caption]
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="450"] Massive wood burning ovens that feed over 600 people 3 meals a day![/caption]
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="450"] A nun making roti.[/caption]
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="450"] We had a lot of free time to go on walks and poke around the monastery.[/caption]
In the late afternoon we met with the herbal medicine doctor to have our pulses read. After gripping our wrists for a while, every now and then asking to see our tongues, we learned that Seth is having stomach issues and should lay off the sugar, and that I have hurt my back and should keep it warm. Alrighty! I wonder if the pained expressions on my face while stretching my back or the snickers bar wrapper in the trash can had anything to do with our diagnoses?