And speaking of temples, there are huge
ones around McLeod Ganj, where the faithful meet to pray. The first time
we went to the Tsuglagkhang temple, security was tight and we were not
allowed to see much due to a conference taking place.
We had the opportunity to have an 'audience'
with the Karmapa,
apparently a controversial and important Buddhist leader. Regardless of
his standing, we felt honored to receive his blessings (but were not honored
with permission to take pictures).
When we returned a few days later, however,
we were free to walk around the complex and observe the rituals and prayers.
Monks spend much of their time studying
and minding the shrines around town, so we saw them behind every corner.
Interesting to hear stories about how many of them are people who have
come in for a pre-set amount of time (such as a year) to learn, study,
and then return to the outside world.