Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Luck of the Lama

Today was a very special day for our team and one that we will all likely remember for the rest of our lives. Before starting our hike from Namche in the morning we made a stop at the Sherpa museum to see climbing artifacts and photos chronicling the history of the "Tigers of the Snow" dating back to the early 1930's. Tenzing Norgay Sherpa is the most celebrated of the "Tigers" after becoming the first to successfully summit Mt. Everest along with Edmund Hillary in 1953.

After lunch and a consistently steep hike up apprx. 2,000 vertical feet from the Dudh Kosi river, we arrived at Tengboche, the site of our most memorable experience referenced earlier. Among his many other accolades, our guide Dawa Gyaljen Sherpa, mentioned in previous posts, also happens to be a full-fledged Buddhist Lama. For those of you who have already read "Steps to the Summit" you may recall in Chapter 8 - "Is There a Lama in the House?", Dawa was also the Sirdar (or head Sherpa) in charge of our 2010 climbing expedition. Yes, this is the same Dawa (with 6 Everest summits under his belt plus many more summits of other 8,000 meter peaks) leading our current trek, and we are extremely privileged that he was available to lead our team.

Anyhow back to Tengboche, where we are now, it is the site of the largest Buddhist monastery in the entire Solukhumbu region. Dawa made special arrangements with the head Lama of the Tengboche Monastery for a personal and exceptional blessing. By the way, this Lama is third in rank (by title) to the Dalai Lama, so his blessings are the real deal. After various formalities one by one, each member of our team approached the Lama and bowed down presenting a ceremonial kata scarf. After a series of spiritual chantings the silk katas were placed around each of our necks and we were officially blessed. All of us walked out of the monastery feeling incredibly lucky and privileged ...and perhaps a bit closer to "enlightenment"...so we have that going for us.

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