We were at the Rumtek Monastery, and we were enthusiastically discussing Tibetan Buddhism and life in Sikkim, with our guide, Monay. An old man standing by smilingly said something, and our guide laughed and translated – “So many questions you have!”
That was so true. We did have innumerable questions, and it was good to see our guide answer us patiently. We told him to tell the old man that yes, we had many questions, we wanted to know more about the monastery. He smiled again, and the smile lit up his eyes, and his age lines seemed to smile too. I usually avoid clicking photos of people, but something about this old man made me want to click one of him, so I asked him, pointing to him, and then my camera. He nodded, and I clicked these two photos.
As we turned back, our guide told us that he was among the oldest inhabitants of the monastery, one who had been blessed by three Karmapas (the leader of this order)! He had been a child when his parents had brought him to seek the blessings of the 15th Karmapa who had arrived in Sikkim on a pilgrimage. When the 16th Karmapa arrived here in exile from Tibet, he joined the order, and in recent times, he has also been fortunate to live with the present Karmapa, the 17th. He is now in his 90s according to our guide, and yet is active, both physically and mentally. He is truly blessed, isn’t he?
- Monasteries of Gangtok