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Monk Chants

Recorded on August 20, 1995, at the Rinchenpung Monastery. Symbolically Vajrayogini’s naval, the gompa houses a statue of Rang Rig Gyapo - the king of self-awareness and the wrathful emanation of Padmasambhava. The monk chants are an invocation to this meditation deity to protect all sentient beings from the consequences of their own misguided behavior.

95 #127

95 C 14 6a 1995 Tiny Porters on Ridgeline
Close examination shows our vanguard porters, like ants, on the ridgeline in the middle left of the photograph. The ice caped peak on the right is the 25,531 foot Namcha Barwa.

 

95 #128

95 C 10 197 1995 Kundu
Kundu Dorsempotrang Mountain was easily recognizable by the anvil shaped stone on its summit.

 

95 #129

95 C 15 132b 1995 tiny Porters TT Hiking
Steep climbs up and steep climbs down. This is hiking in the Himalayas.

 

95 #130

95 C 16 27 1995 TG Oy Looking Plant
With her keen interest in botany, Oy was forever examining trailside plants. We felt that she, Christiaan, Chombi & Chimed Gompo were the only expedition members who had our well-being at heart. It was becoming increasingly obvious that Ian & Hamid had a different agenda that didn’t include us and that they weren’t sharing.

 

95 #131

95 C 17 9a 1995 Guru Shugstrethang Lake
Guru Shugstrethang Lake. An extremely revered pilgrimage site.

 

95 #132

95 C 18 20 1995 TG Guru Shugstrethang Lake Porters Circumnambulation
To the porters, theirs was a living landscape.

 

95 #133

95 C 20 38b 1995 Tiny Porters Leaving Kundu
Kundu Dorsempotrang Mountain (Vajrayogini’s heart chakra) was easily recognizable by the anvil shaped stone on its summit. We were getting close.

 

95 #134

95 C 21 9b 1995 Lake on Kundu by Kuypers
Kundu Lha Tsho Lake, “The All Gathering Soul Lake". Photo by: Christiaan Kuypers

 

95 #135

95 C 23 37b 1995 BW Lake on Kundu by Christiaan
The porters stare at the cliff face in veneration. Photo by: Christiaan Kuypers

 

95 #136

95 C 24 152 1995 Jolly Lama on KunduThe Jolly Lama and his young attendant join Scarface at a holy boulder. Photo by: Christiaan Kuypers 

 

95 #137

95 C 22 109b 1995 Lake on Kundu chritiaan
Vajrayogini’s essence manifests as sacred lakes dotting the landscape. Photo by: Christiaan Kuypers

 

95 #138

95 D 1 168a 1995 Tiny Porters leaving Kundu
Kundu Dorsempotrang offers us one final view as the porters labor below.

 

95 #139

95 D 2 21 1995 TG Gil Older Porter
Ongel, the old Sherpa with his cheap rubber boots, was a stabilizing influence and a wonderful companion.

 

95 #140

95 D 3 44 1995 TG Matuk Son Friend w Dalai Lama on ZigChen La Pass
Matuk (on far right) and his companions are stunned at the manifestation of the, “Deities from the sky”.

 

95 #141

95 D 4 36b 1995 Troy Near Rinchenpung
The Gillenwater brothers can’t shake their dogged illness as evidenced in Troy’s expression.

 

95 #142

95 D 5 39b 1995 Ian Crossing Stream on Log copyWe finally found a fallen log where we could inch our way across the rushing waters. 

 

95 #143

95 D 5 61b 1995 Leech on Leg
Back in leech country.

 

95 #144

95 D 6 169a 1995 Rinchenpung
The Rinchenpung Monastery translates to "Mound of Jewels”. It was a welcome sight.

  

95 #145

95 D 8 50a 1995 Handless Abott w TroyTroy shares photos from home with an older lama. His left hand and all his fingers had been severed by Mao's "Red Guard".

 

95 #146

95 D 9 84b 1995 Gil w Padmasambhava Rinchenpung 2Rang Rig Gyapo the "King of Self-Awareness” is a rare wrathful emanation of Padmasambhava.

 

95 #147

95 D 10 140a 1995 Wrathful Padmasambhava HeadA Garuda, representing the consciously awakened mind, hovers above the "King of Self-Awareness”.

 

95 #148

95 D 11 58a 1995 BonPo Masks RinchenpungThe Old School of Tibetan Buddhism ingeniously incorporated many animistic traditions of the indigenous Bön religion seamlessly into its theology.

 

95 #149

95 D 12 7 1995 TG Gil Porters w Dalai Lama RinchenpungWith our military escort, Mr. Zang, gone we could freely hand out our coveted Dalai Lama photographs. Here Gil hands several out to the porters.

 

95 #150

95 D 13 47a 1995 Porters w Dalai Lama Photo RinchenpungThe love and reverence they have for “His Holiness” is difficult to describe.

 

95 #151

95 D 14 51 1995 TG Troy w 2 Porters Dalai Lama RinchenpungOur distribution of the Dalai Lama photos gained us great status at Rinchenpung. They truly were “spiritual currency” in this remote frontier - forgotten by time.

 

95 #152

95 D 15 129b 1995 Troy Giving Football to Boy Rinchenpung
As Todd looks on, Troy presents our foam football to the caretaker’s sons.

 

95 #153

95 D 16 107b 1995 Dalai Lama Monpa Family
The caretaker family at the Rinchenpung Monestary. Note the brother’s foam football and ball point pen.

 

95 #154

95 D 7 170a 1995 Rinchenpung
The Rinchenpung Monastery. Vajrayogini’s naval chakra is arguably Pemako’s most revered pilgrimage site. Meditation in this power spot generates compounding benefits. 

 

95 #155

95 D 17 108b 1995 Leech on Gils Foot
By this time, the leeches didn’t seem to bother us that much. We learned that in Pemako it was just a way of life.

 

95 #156

95 D 18 18b 1995 Gil Jolly Lama Rinchenpung
It was difficult for us to say goodbye to Kaba Tulku – our “Jolly Lama”. He was such a presence and living example of clear thought. It’s doubtful we could have ever located the magic mountain - Kundu Dorsempotrang - without his knowledge and intuition.

 

95 #157


95 D 19 46b 1995 Gil in Monpa Home
Visiting with the local villagers as we were leaving the Rinchenpung Monestary was fun. Their homes are perpetually filled with smoke.

 

95 #158

95 D 20 74a 1995 Monpa Lady Child
Trading beads are a big part of the villagers’ lives.

 

95 #159

95 D 21 73b 1995 Gil Hiking up Forest Trail
The day’s hike to Medog began with an unexpected 600 foot climb.

 

95 #160

95 D 22 40b 1995 Todd Hiking Down to Medog
It was a hot and muggy 4,000 foot descent into the military outpost of Medog.

 

95 #161

95 D 23 66 1995 TG Leech on Gils Arm
At these lower elevations leeches were everywhere.

 

95 #162

95 D 24 13 1995 TG Gil Beers in Medog
Medog. What a disappointment.

 

95 #163

95 D 25 33b 1995 Gil Monpa in Medog
Even in this military pigsty with its Mad Max characters - the Dalai Lama photographs carried a huge significance.

 

95 #164

95 D 26 35 1995 TG Troy in Medog Room
Troy relaxes in our Medog luxury suite.

 

95 #165

95 D 27 55b 1995 Todd Store for Beer
The Medog General Store. Todd purchases snacks for us and beers for our life-saving Sherpas.

 

95 #166

95 D 28 6 1995 TG Gil Troy Todd in Medog RoomThough beer and high doses of Flagyl don’t mix – we couldn’t resist. (Flagyl was our drug of choice for treating parasitic infections and amebic dysentery. We were popping the pills like M&M’s.)

 

95 #167

95 D 29 137b 1995 Troy Todd Out of MedogAt just over 2,000 feet in elevation the jungle heat was stifling. Bepuk lies in the background. Close examination of the photo shows the Doshong River flowing aqua green into the muddy Yarlung Tsangpo. We would cross the Yarlung Tsangpo and follow the Doshong Valley up to the 15,300 foot high Doshong La Pass – our gateway out of Pemako and on to the village of Pei.

 

95 #168

95 D 30 22b 1995 Monpa Woman Carrying FernsEarly outside of Bepuk we encountered a local Lopa tribal woman carrying ferns.

 

95 #169

95 D 31 15 1995 TG Doshing R into Tsangpo R Medog BridgeClose examination shows the “Liberation Bridge” and its shadow cast on the river in the left of the photo. The aqua green Doshong River flows in from the right.

 

95 #170

95 D 32 153b 1995 River Climb out of MedogThe Doshong River.

 

95 #170

95 D 33 101b 1995 Tiny Porter on TrailOur trail virtually “tunneled” up the side of the canyon.

 

95 #171

95 D 34 129 1995 Tiny Troy on DoshingLa TrailClose examination of this photo shows Troy on the trail in the top right with his arms raised high.

 

95 #172

95 D 35 53 1995 TG Pimative Lopa House 2Our well traveled trail led us by a few Lopa homes. There was a simplicity in their primitiveness we found alluring.

  

95 #173

95 D 37 32b 1995 Gil Looking Up Misty ValleyPemako is a magic place.

 

95 #174

95 D 36 127b 1995 Todd Troy on Trail 2Little by little our climbing took us above and out of the stifling heat.

 

95 #175

95 D 38 97b 1995 Troy Looking up DoshingLaTroy looks up the Doshong Valley. Our pass out of Pemako was a half mile above us.

 

95 #176

95 D 39 83b 1995 Troy in Camp below DoshingLaSetting camp for our last night in Pemako.

 

 

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