Around the World: Tibet (Lhasa)


Tibet is an incredibly interesting place from a cultural and political standpoint. We visited an orphanage and talked to the “mothers” and the children. We also toured the major Buddhist monasteries and temples in Lhasa – including the the Potala Palace, the traditional residence of the Dali Lama. My favorite stop was at the Sera Monastery, where we were able to visit with some of the monks. We also witnessed a “monk’s debate” - a daily ritual they perform as an instructional aid for the younger monks. They pair up with one monk standing and the other sitting, and the one who stands fires questions at the other, who must answer immediately. The questioning is accompanied by a series of exaggerated full-body gestures and hand claps, so the spectacle of a hundred monks engaged in this practice is quite impressive. The sad part about this visit is that the Tibetan culture, which is so unique, is slowly being eliminated by the Chinese government through modernization and homogenization. The signs were all around us. New buildings, businesses, and homes were being built around the traditional temples, and the majority of people in Lhasa are now Chinese.

Photos on this page were taken with a Nikon D80 SLR camera.

High-res versions of the photos can be found here.

Copyright © 2008

Eric Traut