8/12/2010 | India , Ladakh

Spituk: The New Rimpoche

The day of the flash flood in Leh was supposed to be a day of celebration, it was the day that a young lama the 20th Bakula Rimpoche, Thupstan Ngwang Norbu  would be brought from his birth place in the Nubra Valley to his monastery at Spituk (near Leh) for the first time.  A celebration where he would reconnect with the monastery he knew as his previous incarnation the 19th Bakula Rimpoche, Lobsang Thupstan Chognor, who had passed away years earlier.  Unfortunately the tragic events in Leh over shadowed a day that should have been a joyous festival of Buddhist pageantry.  Six days later, Leh took a break from morning and the hard work of recovery to welcome the new Rimpoche, in a fitting celebration of the Buddhist view of death and rebirth.  The chairing ceremony of 20th Bakula Rimpoche brought crowds of local Ladakhis dressed in there finest attire and curious tourists who had not yet fled the region.  Our guesthouse “mother” Zangmo, dressed impeccably for the occasion, excitedly led her diminishing number of guests down to the gompa for the ceremony.  The climax, or rather pretty much the whole ceremony, which started after several hours of waiting with the crowds in the hot afternoon sun, was the carrying of the young Rimpoche to the padded seat where the throngs of pilgrims would then pass by to receive the first blessings by the 20th Bakula Rimpoche.  The young Rimpoche seemed more interested in the apricots he was being fed the pilgrims filing by, still he was a remarkably patient child, as it took a few hours for everyone to pass by and receive their “blessing.”  I couldn’t imagine too many children of his age being able to sit that long, yet he managed without a discernable peep, as long as the apricots kept coming.

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