THE PAVILIONS PHUKET BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET
THE PAVILIONS PHUKET BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET Kata Rocks
The Phuket News Novosti Phuket Khao Phuket

Login | Create Account | Search


Buddhas, dancing and lamb carcasses

Buddhas, dancing and lamb carcasses

TIBET: Despite a few elbows to the face, Tsering pushed through the broil of Tibetan worshippers and lifted her bawling two-year-old over the mad crush, briefly pressing the girl’s forehead to a passing sacred scroll.

culturereligion
By AFP

Sunday 11 March 2018, 10:00AM


Tibetan Buddhist monks carrying a giant ‘thangka’ for the unveiling ceremony during Monlam, otherwise known as the Great Prayer Festival of Losar, the Tibetan New Year, at the Rongwo Monastery, in Tongren County, Huangnan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau. Photo: Johannes Eisele / AFP

Tibetan Buddhist monks carrying a giant ‘thangka’ for the unveiling ceremony during Monlam, otherwise known as the Great Prayer Festival of Losar, the Tibetan New Year, at the Rongwo Monastery, in Tongren County, Huangnan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau. Photo: Johannes Eisele / AFP

Scores of monks and men heaved the enormous thangka – an image of Buddha painted on silk, rolled up in a tight cylinder while in transit – through the packed streets around Rongwo Monastery in China’s northwestern province of Qinghai for a religious ritual wrapping up Losar, the Tibetan New Year.

“It’s good luck, especially for children,” said Tsering, breathless and flushed with success, before whirling away to search rather fruitlessly for her daughter’s missing right shoe.

China has long been accused of trying to eradicate Tibetan culture through political and religious repression. Beijing insists that Tibetans enjoy extensive freedoms.

Rebkong county is a major centre of traditional Tibetan culture and the Gelug – or “Yellow Hat” – sect of the exiled Dalai Lama. It has witnessed numerous self-immolation protests against Chinese rule since 2009.

Police were a constant presence throughout the New Year celebrations, watching over the various ceremonies, stopping all cars entering the county seat and checking the few hotels allowed to receive foreigners.

But Losar passed without incident in a riot of colour and celebration.

Like the Chinese Lunar New Year, the first few days are dominated by family and feasting.

The climax for the Gelug sect is the annual “sunning of the Buddha”, as it is known in Chinese, where a colossal thangka painting multiple stories tall is paraded through the streets and briefly displayed.

Under crisp blue skies men flailed ceremonial scarves as a procession left the Rongwo Monastery, beating away an endless stream of frantic hopefuls aggressively pushing to touch the painting.

QSI International School Phuket

On a steep hillside outside the monastery, the thangka was unrolled in a splendour of rich pinks, greens, and blues to the sound of firecrackers and the wail of conch shells.

“The thangka is an offering to Buddha, but it must be big so all living creatures can see it – people, but also birds and insects. That way, all beings will have a chance at a better existence in their next life,” a monk said.

The thangka’s size flaunts its monastery’s wealth and power, said Anna Sehnalova, a Tibetologist at Oxford University.

“It’s a way to show sponsors that something is happening with their money. Tibetans love to see rituals performed for them.”

At a much smaller monastery in Gartse town families gathered in their finest clothes – off-the-shoulder robes of jewel-toned brocades and sheepskin – to watch the cham dances, ritual performances by masked monks thought to purge the New Year of negativity from the previous.

“It’s an exorcism, to get rid of bad things and dishonest practices. If we don’t do this today, there will be bad consequences for everyone,” said a dancer.

Two young monks in skull masks, reminders of life’s impermanence, waggled their heads in a slow pas-de-deux as children licked purple-topped ice creams.

Another pair of dancers raised their swords and flung the skinned, shrivelled carcasses of two tiny baby lambs over the heads of the crowd.

“To be honest, I don’t know what it means,” said a student named Tenzin, echoing the sentiments of many baffled but delighted spectators in the crowd.

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

CAPTCHA

Be the first to comment.

 

Have a news tip-off? Click here

 

Phuket community
Royal Rainmakers show Phuket’s reservoirs from the sky, to continue efforts

The estimated little to moderate rainfall over Phuket is just West Monsoon rainfall. It is the wet s...(Read More)


Royal Rainmakers show Phuket’s reservoirs from the sky, to continue efforts

That whole rain-making attempt above Phuket is a big joke. 1: The air above Phuket is to 'salty...(Read More)


Home where doomed ‘pretty’ partied in spotlight

What actually is the role of 'product presenters' ( pretty boys and girls) on private partie...(Read More)


Home where doomed ‘pretty’ partied in spotlight

The product presenters, 'friends' of the lady who was found dead in lobby, looked happy and ...(Read More)


Lilly, Thailand's Greta Thunberg, wages ‘war’ on plastic

US citizens were just as slovenly as Thais are now. Without a concerted, effective education and ad ...(Read More)


Phuket cleanup unveils tale of two beaches

Why hasn’t Surin beach been cleaned up. It’s a disgrace and what happened to redeveloping and ...(Read More)


Phuket to hold mass cycling event to mark World Car Free Day

..due to illegal thai farmers fires. Even Chiang Mai Airport has to be closed sometimes due to thick...(Read More)


Phuket to hold mass cycling event to mark World Car Free Day

Sumatra, S'pore. Malaysia, southern Thai provinces suffer under a thick layer of SMOG due to far...(Read More)


Phuket water-supply pipeline from Phang Nga approved by Cabinet

Looks like the expert on everything can't decide for what year he want to predict a start for th...(Read More)


Woman killed as Phuket truck slams motorbike, brake failure blamed

how can you wear a black motorbike [black motorbike helmet - stupid mistake now fixed - thank you fo...(Read More)