Thursday, December 25, 2014

The great Himalayan Buddha (sutra)

Dhr. Seven, Amber Larson, Crystal Quintero, Wisdom Quarterly; Travel.India; FoxBatOne
The Buddha Maitreya stands 110 feet tall overlooking the Himalayan Diskit (Gompa) Monastery, Nubra Valley, Ladakh, India (Atamvir Singh Multani/FoxBatOne/

Hunder town on the route to the Nubra Valley, a splendid Himalayan desert (Vaidyanathan)
Diskit (Deshkit) is in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir state in India. It is famous for its 14th century Buddhist monastery, believed to be the largest and oldest monastery in the  Nubra Valley.

Diskit rests at an altitude of 10,310 feet at the edge of the desert on the Shyok Valley. Among the larger villages, Diskit is Nubra's administrative center. The valley was once an important stopover on the caravan route between Tibet and China.

Desertification: Sand dunes skirt the Nubra Valley, J&K, India (Raghavan V/wiki)

Himalayan desert behind Everest, Zanskar
The monastery belongs to the Gelugpa Order, the Yellow Hat sect, of Tibetan Buddhism known as Vajrayana. It was founded by Changzem Tserab Zangpo, a disciple of Tsong Khapa, in the 14th century.

Diskit monastery was given to the rimpoche of Thiksey Monastery in Ladakh during the 18th century. It remains under the management of Thiksey and is therefore considered a sub-gompa. It is constructed in the Tibetan style and boasts colorful murals and frescos.
Demons are a menace all over (ANY)
It has an elevated cupola with a fresco of Tibet's Tashi Lhunpo Monastery. The historic and culturally important Tashi Lhunpo was founded in 1447 by the 1st Dalai Lama near Shigatse, Tibet. The gompa's rooftop offers panoramic views of Nubra Valley.

About 100 Buddhist monks live here. The monastery's prayer hall has a statue of Maitreya Buddha and several images of fierce guardian deities.

Stop resurrecting, you foolish demon!
And interestingly it is believed that the monastery guards the wrinkled head and hand of a Mongol demon.

According to legend, that demon once lived on the land where the monastery now stands and wreaked havoc on the people. Even after it was slain, the demon kept resurrecting, which was finally stopped only by the monastery’s guardian deities.

Shyok River calmly meanders through the Nubra valley (Atamvir Singh Multani/
Diskit stands on a hill above the flood plains of the Shyok River and enjoys a mild climate due to its lower elevation. Diskit’s climatic condition has proved conducive to spawning lush vegetation in the valley, which has earned it the title “Orchard of Ladakh.” It has also earned fame for its horticultural produce particularly its apricots with many plantations growing them.
Monkey King goes West (Prayitno)
Diskit remains cut off for most of the year due to snow. Landslides are also common from October to May. As the administrative center and a large village by Ladakhi standards, Diskit Village and the monastery have become congregation centers for people of the valley.
The impressive 110 foot statue of Maitreya Buddha (shown above) is another tourist attraction. Lachung Temple, believed to be one of the oldest shrines in Nubra, is another. Double-humped Bactrian (Greco-Buddhist) camels are also another attraction.

Cham dance and prayers give the monastic complex an ambiance of great spirituality. It is also a time when locals exhibit their arts and sporting skills.
Bactrian camels, Nubra Valley (John Hill)
A festival known as Desmochhey or Dosmoche is the "Festival of the Scapegoat" draws major crowds during December or January.
Guest houses and private hotels with basic facilities are available in Diskit Village. Home stays with locals are also available. More

The Himalayas: On the Factors of Enlightenment
Wisdom Quarterly, Himavanta Sutra (SN 46.1)
The Himalayan range is very wide running east from the Caucasus to Bhutan (wiki).
Himalayan Crows Lake up 5K meters, North Sikkim, India (Carsten.nebel).
A naga is any large land, sea, or sky creature.
"Meditators, it is by depending on the Himalaya, the King of Mountains, that dragons (large water creatures, serpents, nagas) grow in body gaining strength.

"Having grown in body and gained strength there, they descend to small lakes. Having descended to small lakes, they descend to large lakes...small rivers...large rivers...and to the great ocean. There they attain to greatness and prosperity of body.
Himalayan shrine, Nepal (Gerben of the lake)
"In the same way, by depending on virtue (sila), established on virtue, having cultivated and pursued the Seven Factors of Enlightenment, a meditator attains to greatness and prosperity of mind [heart].

"And how is it that a meditator -- depending on virtue, established on virtue, having cultivated and pursued the seven factors for Enlightenment -- attains to greatness and prosperity of mind?
"A meditator cultivates
  1. mindfulness as a factor of enlightenment based on seclusion (of mind), based on dispassion, based on cessation, resulting in relinquishment....
  2. keen investigation of phenomena... 
  3. energy as a factor of enlightenment... 
  4. rapture as a factor of enlightenment...
  5. serenity as a factor of enlightenment... 
  6. concentration as a factor of enlightenment...
  7. equanimity as a factor of enlightenment based on seclusion, based on dispassion, based on cessation, resulting in relinquishment.
This is how a meditator -- depending on virtue, established on virtue, having cultivated and pursued the Seven Factors of Enlightenment -- attains to greatness and prosperity of mind."
Himalayan river in Hunder, Nubra Valley, one of the few places in the world to see sand dunes, rivers, vegetation, animals, and snow capped peaks all in one frame (FoxBatOne).

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