In the presence of a Lama


London to Ho Chi Minh by train (and boat!): Day 20.

I don’t usually think of Buddhist temples when I think of Russia. But of course, in such a huge country there is extraordinary diversity. Today we visited the beautiful Datsan of the Buryat people in Russia. Many of the Buryat practice Tibetan Buddhism although remnants of the shamanic traditions remain.

We were lucky to be here for one of the year’s eight holy days and the main feature on display is the body of the 12th Khambo Lama. Tradition states that he told his followers to exhume his body after thirty years. He died, and was buried, in lotus position, and after thirty years, his body was recovered without the slightest decay.

To us, he looked pretty shiny… Possibly varnished, but we’re by no means experts!

Despite hundreds of people pushing and shoving (never my favourite thing), it’s always amazing to be able to be a part of the customs and traditions of another people. It’s a reminder of how blessed we are by our diversity and why that diversity should be protected and celebrated always.

Next stop: Ulaanbaatar — at Ivolginsky Monastery, Buryatia, Siberia, Russia.

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