Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tibetan Year 2137

It is the Gregorian year 2010, but the Tibetan year is 2137, and it is the year of the male iron tiger. The days preceding the new year are spent in puja as our monks are now doing. Traveling several hours away to another monastery, the monks performed a puja on Saturday and Sunday. Yesterday and today they were in puja from 6:00 AM till 5:00 PM, with breaks for tea and food. (Sometimes tea is brought into the worship hall for them.)

The tailor is busy making final preparations on the lama dance costumes and the masks are all laid out on the tables for rehearsals. 

Known in Tibetan as Cham, "lama dance" refers to a specific form of dance performed in the context of meditative rituals and ceremonies in the monasteries. Generally, these dances represent an enactment of certain sacred rites pertaining to the countering of obstructive forces that hinder the life and well-being of the community...The symbolic clearing away of all the negativities and obstructive forces accumulated over the passing year sets the tone for the coming year to begin anew - with purity, auspiciousness and joy. (http://www.tibetanknowledge.org/provisional/more_3.html)




 Yesterday for tea there were pakoras, rather hot ones, but a very special snack indeed. They were delicious, albeit deep fried. Today there was another special snack, some dough cookie that also looked like it had been fried. The pre-holiday energy is bubbling over.

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