Adventures in Asia

by Greg & Francie

Prostrating Monks

As promised here are some pictures of monks prostrating themselves while traversing the Barkhor kora. A kora is a path that religious people follow around a holy site. Often it is considered a pilgrimage.

Obviously, prostrating yourself (1. laying full out, 2. standing back up, 3. raising your hands to your head and praying, 4. moving a step forward, 5. repeat) takes a lot longer than just simply walking the kora. There is one religious mountain in the west that takes Tibetians about 14 hours to hike around. It takes prostrators 3 weeks to complete the circuit.

Here is one serious guy we have seen around Barkhor and Potola Palace. Notice the smooth dirty spot on his forehead that comes from touching the stones each time he prostrates himself.

Barkhor Prostrator

About to raise his hands to his head in prayer
P1080070

P1080068

Thats got to generate some respect, right?

The psychologist in me really wonders what they think about while doing it. I wonder if they ‘go to their happy place’. Or do they just look at the people around them who are just ‘walking’ the circuit and roll their eyes?

Then there are the people who do the kora by prostrating but they always face the religious site and only take sidesteps. This REALLY increases the time it takes to complete the kora (we guess about 10 hours for the Barkhor kora). I wonder if they look at the ‘normal’ prostrators and think the Buddhist equivalent of ‘you’re all going to hell’. Just kidding…Buddhists would never think something like that…

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August 27, 2007 - Posted by | China, Tibet, Travel

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