Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Lama with the Yellow Umbrella

Chorten Cora is a rainbow of special flags. The seventieth Je Khenpo is in town! He is the spiritual leader of Bhutan, the head of the central monk body, and the only person beside His Majesty permitted to wear a saffron kabneyJe Khenpo is not the #2 person in Bhutan; he is tied with the King for #1:

We all went down to recieve his blessing. As he moved through the rows touching our heads, there was a breif, gentle fall of rain. This is considered very auspicious, a blessing on the blessing. And it meant that I got to see the Je Khenpo's umbrella which, surely not by pure coincidence, matches his kabney: 

After he physically touched us, we each recieved a sacramental piece of breadish buttercake and a little wine. It felt very much like Christian Communion. I like the Buddhist way of giving the wine better, though. It is poured into your hand from a teapot. You bring it to your lips to taste then touch your hand to your hair.

We also received blessed purity cords to wear around our necks:

Partway through the event, I happened to notice one more eye on the chorten than I'd ever seen before. I asked Madam Sonam about it. She'd never noticed it before today, either, and she's been here for years.  

Isn't it interesting that a symbol of Enlightment can be painted plainly on a giant white structure at the centre of your life and you still don't see it? It reminds me of the story that Principal Sir told in this morning's assembly....

One day while walking through an open market, a group of good boys came upon a woman who was bent over scouring the ground. "Are you looking for something, ma'am?" they asked. "Yes," she said, "my work is mending clothes but I've dropped my one good needle." Their response was cheerful, "We will help!" and they looked and looked. After a very long while of very earnest searching, one boy said, "are you sure you dropped it near here?" "I dropped it at home," she replied, "But it is so dim in there and so hard to look that I decided to search outside where its sunnier." We look outside ourselves for happiness, but that can only be found when we brave the shadows inside.


  1. Well --they are keeping you well blessed. That's got to be good. Did you have an umbrella? Have the monsoons started?
    Mom & Dad M

  2. interesting way of receiving many blessings
    you mentioned gentle rain was falling, is that the start of the monsoons already?
    love mom B

  3. It was like a two minute drizzle, guys. When the rainy season starts, you'll know!

  4. originally I had written a very nice and lovely coment buuuuuuuuuut the computer didn't post it. so i tries a second coment that one didn't post. then i tried a third coment that one burned down fell over and didn't post.