Tuesday, December 22, 2015

In the Buddhist Himalayas of India, Ladakh

Mag Brinik (italianmountains.org); Dhr. Seven, Amber Larson, CC Liu, Wisdom Quarterly
Opening the door of Thiksey Monastery (Tiksey Gompa) for morning puja (devotional ceremony), Ladakh, Himalayas, India (Mag Brinik/flickr.com/italianmountains.org).
Colorful Himalayan Buddhist ritual ceremony, Ladakh, India (Mag Brinik)
Ceremony (puja) on the roof of Lamayuru Monastery, Ladakh (Mag Brinik)
Ladakhi girl traditional dress and headdress, Lamayuru Festival, Ladakh (Mag Brinik)
Women with traditional dresses and perak at Lamayuru Festival, Ladakh (Mag Brinik)

In the Himalayas of Buddhist India, Thiksey Gompa, monks do morning puja (Mag Brinik)
Portrait of Ladakhi girl with traditional dress and perak in her house (Mag Brinik/flickr)
Little monk (samanera, novice) in yellow hat, Rizong Monastery, Ladakh (Mag Brinik)
LADAKH, India - Is there still a "Buddhist India"? There has always been a Buddhist India. India is where the Shakyan (Scythian) Prince Siddhartha Gautama became enlightened and thereby gained the title "the Buddha," the "Awakened One."

Buddhism, that is to say the Buddha-Dharma, got a simultaneous start in Afghanistan, the ancient Shakya Land far to the west in Central Asia (not Nepal), the location of the real Kapilavastu, young Siddhartha's hometown.
That Shakyan capital (in Indo-Sakastan) was among three where the prince grew up in splendor along the Silk Road. The other two capitals where he had a seasonal palace may have been Mes Aynak ("Copper Well") and Kabul ("Kapil'"?).

But there exact locations are speculative as there are many ancient Buddhist sites and monuments in this faraway land -- the oldest Buddhist sites and monuments in the world -- now being destroyed by the American military-industrial complex and its insatiable need for resources and strategic advantage.

Of course, India gets all of the credit because the Buddha began teaching there and did not return to "Shakya Land" (Scythia, Bactria, Gandhara, Sakastan, Sogdiana, etc.) and Kapilavastu for seven years after his great awakening (maha bodhi) in Enlightenment Grove.

Buddhism is making a resurgence in India today as many Dalits covert to a spiritual teaching that treats them as equals and honors their humanity and dignity, as distinct from the discrimination they face in Hinduism under its atrocious caste system.

The Buddhist treasures of Afghanistan (WQ)
However, far above it all, in the Indian Himalayas, there has long been a solid Buddhist tradition. Ladakh, Dharamsala (where the current Dalai Lama and a massive Tibetan community in exile are thriving), the state of J&K and Himachal Pradesh, and other locations have long maintained their Buddhist traditions alongside Nepal and Bhutan and Buddhist Tibet and China farther north and east.

Novice Ladkahi monk, Buddhist India, Rizong Festival, Ladakh, India (Mag Brinik)

For a more extensive gallery of amazing photography, see Mag Brinik on flickr.com

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