Recollections of the past: My trip to the Tawang Monastery

tawang monastery, Recollections of the past

In the land of Lama, don’t be a Gama

                               – On a Milestone while traveling to Tawang

In one of my earlier posts, I spoke about my journey and experiences in Tawang..My trip to the Tawang Monastery was one of the rarest experiences among all. Firstly, it was because it was the first time, i was getting the opportunity to witness the Largest Monastery of India and the Second largest in the world.

Located on a hill slope, this monastery is capable of accommodating more than 700 monks. As per the tradition of the locals, it is customary for one of the male child to become a monk from a family. The male child which chooses to be a celibate is considered to be holy in the family and the for the family, it is a matter of pride.

I stepped into the massive complex of the Tawang Monastery on a morning of May. The weather was still chilly and one will need to keep his woolens on, to beat the cold. As it is also the time for the snow to melt on the hills, expect unexpected rains. The weather suddenly gets cloudy, clouds accumulating up in between the hills and ready to pour. Sometimes, the best part was to see the rainfalls. From far off, if one stands down hill, it is easier to witness the clouds moving along with the winds and gradually coming towards you from far off. Then you come to know that the rainfall is about to happen.

t (17), tawang monasteryI entered into the monastery and through the massive entry gates confronted the unfathomable statue of Lord Buddha. Everyday, the monks in the institution diligently work in the monastery, cleaning every inch of the monastery. There is no complain, no fight for salary, no hikes, increments, whatsoever. Just every person doing his job. No one does the delegation, no one tells the other what to do, it just happens… And at the end of the year, there is no appraisal, no judgements, no arguments, no rumor mongering and no bad blood. It is pure and simple service.. with a smile.

The best part is the silence. It is a virtue, not to speak, but to speak only when one is required to, and when the wisdom demands. Every word that is uttered has a significance. Even a thought is a karma. Good or bad or whatsoever. so, every single monk in this home lives in ‘simplicity’. It reminded me of the dialogues by Rajesh Khanna in the movie ‘Bawarchi’ where he says..

It is so simple to be happy, yet it is so difficult to be simple!!!

Yes, I truly agree to that. It is very difficult to be simple. It is difficult to sleep on the floor, as we are used to spring beds today. It is difficult to live in oil lamps, as electricity is one of the basic requirements. Forget everything else, can you spend a day without T.V? I bet no..

Recollections of the past, tawang monastery

The monk engages in mindfulness meditation, where he enjoys everything that the nature has to offer…everything!! He enjoys the gradual blooming of flowers, the sun rising early in the morning, the birds setting out towards East for their daily breads, the ants collecting the food for the winters, the butterflies hopping over the flowers for nectar. This is simplicity, and we have done away with it today…I sat in the tranquil of the monastery for some time. there was no noise. No honking horns on the streets, no nagging bosses, no hurry for bills and EMI’s, no phone calls (there was no mobile signal at all 🙂 🙂 ) and no mundane life… It was pure bliss of an hour!!! And I can spare many such hours of my life to get that one hour of fresh air I got here. It was unimaginable…

Recollections of the past, tawang monastery

Some monks were inside the monastery. I saw them working on something. Small desks on the floor with massive scripts in Pali for the monks to read.. I could barely understand anything. But I could make out from the faces of the monks there that it was definitely something that changed them completely..They kept silent…no talking..How would you feel when you approach a person and try to speak, but he only smiles, and never answers?? 

Recollections of the past, tawang monastery

I could see that they were making a 3D model, with some ghee and rangolis. Every monk was so engrossed in his job that they had no time to raise their heads and see that someone (Me) was standing next to them and watching for almost half an hour like a dumb what they have been doing!! Suddenly, one of the monks noticed my feet, and he looked up, but, the only response I got was a contemplated smile..no words..then he went back to his work. I understood this guy will not speak to me, so I thought I will see what else I can gather inside the monastery. So I went upstairs from the left side of the main door. As I climbed higher, I could see the massiveness of the Buddha statue. It was almost 30 feet in height. From up close, I could notice how the artist has taken time and patience to create the Buddha Statue. It must have been an effort worth hundreds of hours.

Recollections of the past, tawang monastery

I came to the balcony on the third floor right next to the face of the statue. From that height, I could well imagine how much of perseverance had gone into creating the ‘masterpiece’. I feel the God himself blesses such hands, with the power to create the Almighty, in its truest form. It is the faith in the Almighty, that the artist’s hands create the divine magic, creating a near realistic manifestation of God Himself..Such an endeavor requires a spark from the Divinity.

One thing that I learned from this journey was that the real peace lies within our own hearts. It is not the journey without but the journey within, that takes you to your destiny. This journey for me was another one that helped me to look at life from a different perspective. I now knew how to say a thousand words with a simple smile…without actually saying anything…

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