Happy Thanksgiving

TeaSympathy wishes all of our readers a very Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy these quotes from the Dalai Lama as you give thanks today and every day.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.

Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.

I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe.

If you can, help others; if you cannot do that, at least do not harm them.

If you have a particular faith or religion, that is good. But you can survive without it.

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.

In the practice of tolerance, one’s enemy is the best teacher.

It is necessary to help others, not only in our prayers, but in our daily lives. If we find we cannot help others, the least we can do is to desist from harming them.

It is very important to generate a good attitude, a good heart, as much as possible. From this, happiness in both the short term and the long term for both yourself and others will come.

Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend – or a meaningful day.

Sleep is the best meditation.

The purpose of our lives is to be happy.

The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness.

Thanks to BrainyQuote.com 

The Essence of Tibet

Visiting monasteries is one of the highlights of any Tibet trip. Before the Chinese invasion in 1949, Tibetans had long invested large sums of money in monasteries. It shows in the size of monastery compounds and the intricacy of temple details. At monasteries, you can witness traditional architecture, valuable artifacts, golden Buddha statues, handpainted murals, and Tibetan religious culture. Take a look at some of the monasteries below and start your virtual trip to Tibet.

Temple in the Potala PalaceThe Potala Palace

Sitting atop marpo ri, or red hill, the Potala Palace lords over the city of Lhasa. The Potala is 13 stories high and holds countless treasures in its many rooms. Built in 637 AD, the Potala has been home to the Dalai Lama lineage for more than a thousand years. Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Palace is a well-preserved museum that hosts millions of tourists every year.

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Jokhang TempleThe Jokhang Temple

The Jokhang Temple is the holiest temple in all of Tibet. Pilgrims from all over flock to this temple to catch a glimpse of the Jowo Buddha, a statue that is said to have been blessed by the Buddha himself. Some pilgrims even prostrate all the way to the temple, even if it takes them years to travel from their home village to Lhasa. Others travel to the temple daily and prostrate in front of it, or circumambulate it while saying prayers.

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Drepung Monastery Main Prayer HallDrepung Monastery

Drepung, which lies at the base of a mountain just outside the city of Lhasa, was once home to 10,000 monks. The enormous monastic complex is the site of many prayer halls, dormitories, and temples. Many Tibetans travel to Drepung for pilgrimage. Just below the monastery is the Nechung temple, the former home of the state oracle.

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Sera Monastery DebatingSera Monastery

Sera Monastery lies on the outskirts of Lhasa. The monks at Sera are renowned for their debating skills, and every afternoon you can catch them in the courtyard stamping their feet and clapping their hands as they challenge fellow monks in philosophical debates. The monks test each other on knowledge of Buddhist texts and ask each other questions like, “Are you a person?” The respondent’s answers must stand up to the rigors of logic.

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Ganden MonasteryGanden Monastery

Ganden is located outside Lhasa on a tall, grassy mountain. While much of Ganden was previously destroyed, much of it has now been rebuilt. Ganden has great hiking. For those interested in a short hike, walk the short circumambulation route around the monastery. On the backside of the mountain on which Ganden is located are fantastic views of the valley far below. As Ganden is a sky burial site, vultures and crows can sometimes be seen circling overhead.

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Ramoche TempleRamoche Temple

Ramoche is considered to be the sister temple to the Jokhang Temple. Tradition has it that Ramoche was originally built to hold the Jowo Rinpoche statue, the holiest Buddha statue in Tibet. However, because of a threat of invasion, the statue was instead hid in the Jokhang Temple, and has remained there to this day. Now home to Jowo Mikyo Dorje, a bronze Buddha statue brought to Lhasa by the Nepalese queen, the Ramoche is a popular site for pilgrims.

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norbulingkaNorbulingka

Translated as “Jewel Park” in Tibetan, the Norbulingka is the traditional summer residence of the Dalai Lama lineage. Built in the 1740s, the park includes gardens, fountains, and pools. A great picnic spot and theater venue, Tibetan families gather here in the summer to watch the Shoton Yogurt Festival operas and dramas. There is also a small zoo in the park.

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Reincarnation in Tibet

Nechung Kuten

The Nechung Kuten

A monk came over to me and asked me to sit down. He offered me a bowl of tea. It was a sweet milk tea, not as spicy as in India but more like a calming soothing tea. I enjoyed being part of the gathering. The monk introduced me to the head Lama who spoke English. We were soon exchanging our life stories. He explained my death experience as a recognition of  my former lives in Tibet. The shock of those  memories had brought me in connection with my past, present, and future life. I was told that rather than something to be feared, that experience was a blessing. He told me about his devastation;  the invasion of the Chinese army, the destruction of their monastery, and the torture and death of so many innocent monks.  These monks had died terrible violent deaths.  He swore he would not die before he had finished rebuilding the monastery. I vowed I would help to complete it. It would turn out to be one of the  most fulfilling vows of my life.

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My first connection to Nechung monastery

I travelled to the monasteries outside of Lhasa; the Sera, Ganden and Nechung monasteries.  These holy temples were in the process of recovering and resurrecting from the destruction of the cultural revolution of Mao Tse Tung’s army.

One early morning, as the sun was rising and the fog was lifting  I arrived at Nechung monastery. Nechung Monastery has an important place in Tibetan history as the seat of Nechung, the state Oracle of Tibet. Its located just below Drepung Monastery, four miles west of Lhasa. The monastery has about 5 monks.

The monks had just finished with their offerings of  Juniper incense.  The incense was burned in big bowls in the courtyard.  There were clouds of smoke perfuming the air  with healing aromas.  I approached the wood carved gate.  The heavily painted gate was open and I stood there for a moment.  I listened to the rhythm of the mantra that swept like a wave through the clouds.  Images of protective snow lions and fiery dragons on the door of the second entrance beckoned me even closer.  I watched from a distance, as the monks relaxed in a kneeling position and received hot steaming chai from a huge metal kettle. The kettle was so large that two monks had to carry it and pour the chai into the wooden bowls each monk carried in their hands.  The cold hung in the air and the steam from the monks breath mixed with the steam of the hot tea.