Colorful Tibetan Lifestyle (June 2007)

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Upon landing at Lhasa, Tibet, at an elevation of over 11,000 feet above sea level, our Tibetan tour guide draped around our necks a white silk scarf, the color of compassion. Shadows of clouds were cast against the surrounding mountains. Draped across the mountains were also wind-torn, white cloths and prayer flags. Here was the place where many aspiring Mount Everest climbers had dreamed of stepping foot on.

Tibet’s Sweeping Vista

People of Tibet

Lhasa Square was the hub of social activity and where in the evenings, crimson-robed monks emerged from Buddhist monasteries, holding hands. We enjoyed seeing the Jokhang Temple, a pilgrimage destination for Tibetans. Other sites we visited included the Sera Monastery, Norbulingka and the Potala Palace, the former home of the Dalai Lama.

I had a delightful encounter with some children playing on Barkhar Street after midnight in Lhasa. Like the grown-ups, they seemed to be dressed in their usual attire of brightly colored clothes and jewelry. This moment was the heart of my experience in Tibet. Regardless of their hardships, the Tibetan people lived a colorful life devoted to their Dalai Lama.

Tibetan Architecture, Art, Industry

In Shigatse, Tibet, I came upon a house on the side of the road and was struck by the exterior décor and the vibrant shade of blue of the door. The bright blue stood against the dull colored farmland. Tibetans highly revered blue as representative of certain elements, e.g. the sky and Akshobhya Buddha. It was also the color of the East and sometimes the South. Tibetans had such a gift of applying colors to their buildings as if they were canvases. The Potala Palace, the former home of the Dalai Lama, was a great example of such art.

Another crafty item encountered during a road trip was a canoe composed of yak skin. A small fee was required to take a photo of it, which was requested by three gentlemen claiming ownership of the canoe.

After seeing a number of monasteries, we learned about the process of incense-making at a factory, which gave us new meaning and appreciation in how we viewed incense.

Nurturing Inner Peace

Signs of embracing spirituality were all around us.

Follow Jenny S.W. Lee:

Greater Boston, Seattle and Vancouver (BC) based artist & photographer exhibiting internationally.

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