【Geography】The Borders - Chapter 6: Journey of Finding Living Buddha
This is how the finding living buddha journey began.
正確的說法，師父不是師父，是稱呼仁波切，或 ㄏㄛˊㄈㄨㄛˊ ?... ㄏㄨㄛˋㄏㄨˋㄛㄈㄡ ... 或活佛。他是村裡認證過的轉世活佛。在這個小村落裡，他的地位是最高的，甚至比他的父母還高；他的父母或家人端茶完畢，後退時候都要倒退著走（小碎步後退），不可以屁股朝前。
Many years ago, in a hot summer, a guest wanted to find a wise master. While we were wondering if it was just an ordinary old monk in an ordinary temple, the journey began.
It was said that the monk lived in a small village in Tibet that I hadn't heard of before. The car passed over steep mountains and bumpy ridges which were endless that I had no idea how many we had driven through, and even feel creepy when recalling now.
On the way, we even met a troop and tanks that we had to stop by to wait for them to pass. While we were waiting patiently, suddenly the local residents ran out and started selling large kettles, biscuits, drinks, instant noodles in their baskets. Even the hot water for the instant noodles was prepared. The frequent traffic jams created a small business opportunity for the village.
The car continued to set off, and suddenly stopped again. It turned out that there was a bombing in front of the mountain covered with only a simple plastic sheet. All the cars could only be parked aside. After the bombing, everyone kept going as if nothing had happened. I really had no idea whether the people there were too brave, or we were too timid...
We kept pausing and moving on the way. We stopped by a market and bought the crystal sugar pears which tasted incredibly delicious. We also stopped by and took a look of an ancient Tibetan and Qiang-style building. From early morning to the evening, we finally arrived at our destination.
A young master in a red robe walked to us. We thought that the master would be very old. It turned out that he was a recognized living Buddha. He smiled and asked us, "Did you have fun on the way?" We were very surprised and embarrassed.
Correctly speaking, he wasn’t called Master. He was “Rinpoche”, who was a reincarnated living Buddha recognized by the village. In this small village, he had the highest status, even higher than his parents. His parents and family members had to walk backwards with small steps when they brought him the tea. You must walk backwards with small steps, and are not allowed to face the butt forward.
You must walk backwards with small steps, and are not allowed to face the butt forward.
The Living Buddha had an overseas double PhD. degree, combining modern and traditional wisdom, and was dedicated to improving the living habits of Tibet. He noticed that the Tibetans smelled of sheep because the traditional red robe was filled with unprocessed wool. He changed the wool to cotton, which was warm and odorless. He also encouraged every household to install showers and flush toilets. These things may seem nothing special to us, but he needed to spend efforts to promote and persuade the villagers to change their living habits.
(PS: In fact, many people living in cold countries in Europe, America and the North don’t like to take a bath in winter, so they invented perfume. Just spray it and you can go out.)
We spent the night in the village where traditional culture was well-preserved. The morning was very quiet and only the sound of the river could be heard. The sky there was blue with big white clouds.
The next day, Rinpoche led us on the vast hillside and saw the entire magnificent valley. We spread the Tibetan five-color paper and spun the small prayer wheel there, feeling indescribably peaceful in our hearts.
There were two temples, one was newly built and the other was very old. There was an old man in the old temple who was in charge of it. Holding a very old key, he slowly opened a door that seemed to be unopened for a very long time. At first, it looked dark inside, and we were a little worried; then we saw a golden statue in the center. After the explanation, we knew that this was the golden statue of the living Buddha in his previous life, and his reincarnation was leading us to see his past life. Didn't it sound very strange?
Later, the Living Buddha arranged a blessing ceremony. When he placed his hands on our heads, there was a sense of indescribable warmth. At that moment, the feelings were very magical. Perhaps, we had become smarter afterwards?
When we left, they gave each of us a hand-drawing Thangka based on each person’s zodiac. These Thangkas were painted with natural mineral pigments, which made them extremely precious.
This is traveling. You never know what is your next stop and what is going to happen next. It may be a surprise or a startle, but definitely, something to be looking forward to.
There are three ways for Tibetans to wear clothes.
Some wear all their coats, some have their sleeves all behind their butts, and others have sleeves on one side and the other sleeves behind.
Guess why they wear it differently?
Because the temperature changes significantly between day and night in Tibet, Tibetans adjust their clothes according to the weather.
At noon or when the weather is very hot, they will put their sleeves behind their buttocks; when it is a little cold, they put on one sleeve; and usually after evening or when the weather gets cold, they will put on both sleeves.
藏地村民家裡都有很多棉被，少說 50-200 件棉被必備。猜猜看是為什麼？
Temples in Tibet are usually locked and not open to the public. Every temple has a key manager. The temples only open when specific visitors visit. The temple doors and keys are very old and full of history.
There are many quilts in Tibetans’ homes, at least 50-200 quilts. Guess why?
(1) Because Tibetans are very hospitable, it is a shame for Tibetans to have no guests, which means they are not popular.
(2) The quilts prepared by Tibetans can be used at any time when many relatives and friends visit.
What do toilets in remote places in Tibet look like?
(1) 傳統廁所在戶外，可以充分體驗近距離與大自然最親密的接觸， ( 偶而還會遇到動物）
(1) The traditional toilet is outdoors, you can fully experience nature. (You may also meet animals sometimes.)
(2) 傳統廁所皆以 天然原木 打造，分有三種等級：
(2) Traditional toilets are all made of natural wood. There are three levels:
(1) Level 1 - Normal toilet: There is a hole under the middle of two wooden boards.
(2) Level 2 - Medium toilet: The arc-shaped wooden boards provide a little higher toilet, so you can sit comfortably on it, and there is still a hole underneath.
(3) Level 3 - Advanced toilet: A wooden board with a hole in the middle of the disc (like a toilet seat) is added on the arc-shaped wooden board. You can squat on it and pee easily.
The above three types are all flush-free. They are environmentally friendly and water-saving at the same time, and also retain the most natural smell.
【待續 to be continue …】
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