THE TAWANG MONASTERY

Keki N Daruwalla

Kishalay Bhattacharjee

Photo : Kishalay Bhattacharjee

Dalai Lama Speaks to the Rimpoche

The Dalai often spoke to him while meditating,
and he’d commune through silences and not words.
A vein in the Rimpoche’s head would start ticking
while he was at his beads or feeding birds.
And  Lodre Gyatso heard the Dalai say,
“Remember the Lotus Sutra? The Buddha is the cloud
that rains benediction on the parched earth;
but silently, like the lotus fanning out
when the bud explodes. Prepare for a journey.
Beyond the passes you’ll need to go;
past the stone and shale of Tibet, till you reach
our forest of conifers sprayed with snow.

That is my land , there are people there
untouched by  Buddha’s grace. They need a saint
and a monastery. Build a gompa there;
nothing fancy, no gold, just yellow paint
on the roof which  goatherds and kids can spy
from the ridge tops. Take some scriptures with you,
but not those commentaries which concuss the mind.
Teach them simple maxims—they should be true
to themselves and the dharma, and
keep away from the swirl of passion’s swill.
Let wind and water speak to all of them,
let children roll the prayer drums and get their thrills.
Tie prayer flags to trees, especially on heights
so that winds carry to valley and hill
his call for renunciation. And don’t forget
placing a prayer wheel in a raging water mill.

 

1The Sixth Dalai Lama, who hailed from the area now known as Tawang, asked a monk called Lodre Gyatso or Mera Lama, as he is popularly known, to establish a monastery in this region. Tawang takes its name from Ta—Tibetan for horse, and ong—Tibetan for blessing.    

Keki DaruwalaKeki N. Daruwalla is one of India’s foremost poets writing in English. His poetry collections include Under Orion, Apparition in April, Winter Poems, The Keeper of the Dead, Crossing of Rivers, Night River, The Mapmaker and Collected Poems. He is also the author of the novel For PEpper and Christ. He was given the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1984 for his poetry collection The Keeper of the Dead and the Commonwealth Poetry Prize (Asia) for his volume Landscapes. He has recently been awarded the Padma Shri for his contribution to literature.
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