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Tibetan Buddhists make epic journey to spiritual home

08-06-2013 21:51 BJT Special Report: Tibet Shoton Festival |
Special Report: Inside Tibet |

By CCTV reporter Han Peng

Today, across Tibet, the power of religion still runs strong. Many Tibetans follow Tibetan Buddhism. Its spiritual center, Lhasa, meaning “the place of God”, is a destination for millions of pilgrims. For many of them it’s an epic journey made in a very unusual way.

Lhasa, meaning “the place of God”, is a destination for millions of pilgrims. For many of them it’s an epic journey made in a very unusual way.

It's another day of their journey - These four pilgrims have crawled thousands of miles on their hands and knees from their hometown in Gansu. So far, they've been journeying like this for two months and five days. Most of them are over 60 years old.

Before Gelsang Drolma set off, her elderly parents tried to change her mind. But she was always confident in her mission.

"We encourage each other when we’re extremely tired. I pray for my old parents, and I myself have no fear of death because the Buddha will bless me and protect me in my next life," Drolma said.

It's a spirit summoned by the Tibetan Buddhism. For centuries, the epic pilgrimage is a mission that defines their very existence.

Their destination is the heart of old Lhasa, the Jokhang Monastery.

But how do they survive, when conditions get harsh? The answer is simple. One temporary tent provides warmth and shelter for all four, and for sustenance, a simple barley-based food called tsampa.

"Our relatives gave us better food and tents when they saw us off. But we didn’t bring them, because experiencing harsh conditions is a way to show our humility in front of the Buddha," another pilgrim said.

Before they sleep, a final show of piety to the Buddha, in gratitude for keeping them safe on another day of their journey.

Every year, tens of thousands of people like them leave their home for Lhasa. Some eventually made it, some failed, and some even died on the road. But it's the same story of faith being played out across the Tibetan Plateau, along this sky road to their holy land.

The pilgrims' destination is the heart of old Lhasa, the Jokhang Monastery.

 

 

Editor:James |Source: CCTV.com

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