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The people rounding the chorten

I heard the most respectable prayer style in Tibetan Buddhism is the full prostration. A pilgrim who is heading for the holy place puts their palms together at first , knees down and puts down the arms, then touch the ground with the forehead. In another wards, they can go forward only for their height for each action.

Of course, all my knowledge about the full prostration had been from TV. Therefore I expected the good fortune for seeing the real on the road when I visited the Tibetan district of Gansu province in China. In spite of my expectation, I had no chance to see it actually. "It isn't a show for tourist but religious behavior." You may say so. Certainly, it isn't a show.

But I saw the prayer style at a chorten (Buddhism stupa) near by a temple. In this case, it was done at same place without proceeding. As I mentioned before I had pre-information from TV. So it wasn't a big surprise to see it. Nevertheless, the behavior of prayer seemed to have strong power to keep everybody away from them.

I saw another impressive behavior as much as full prostration. It's a scene that prayers were circling around the chorten. Contrary to tough style of prostration, it's a silent prayer style.

I should not put the secondhand knowledge about Tibetan Buddhism here. So I'm gonna write only what I saw actually. Please don't ask me exact meaning of each action.
The people came to the chorten got start to their prayer with putting their forehead on the chorten wall. Then they started rounding the stupa. Their steps was far from vigorous one. It's really slow pace. During the circulation, they held the beads in the hand, murmured something (maybe their wish) in the mouth. Generally, we round 3 times in Buddhism in clockwise. But I felt they circling more than 3 times. I could not make it sure because a new prayer comes into the circle one after another. On the other hand, former prayer had gone to somewhere when I noticed it.

Yes. Tottering prayer around the chorten got off the circles at certain point. All the people got off the circle in same direction. Then they disappeared into a narrow path in the grassland. It must be lead to the main temple. For me, it looked like the moment when man was taken to the heaven.

Oct. 2008

Today's piece
" Off the circle " Hezuo, Gansu province, China 2008

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