“Do not scorn the meek; make no distinction between high and low! Do not envy the qualified; adopt their qualities for yourself! Do not ponder the flaws of others; remove your own faults as carefully as hairs on your face! Do not be concerned for your own well-being; worry about the happiness of others and be kind to all!” (Guru Rinpoche Terma Teaching)
The story of Padmasambhava is a story of devotion. The unbreakable bond between the Himalayan people and the Guru Rinpoche was first formed more than a thousand years back. With his pacifying Tantric powers, Padmasambhava not only bound the local spirits to the service of the Dharma, he also sewed the allegiance of Himalayan people. That bond is as true today as it was when he first arrived in the land of snows.
Devotion is on display in nearly every facet of Tibetan Buddhism, amongst lay people and monks alike. Whether it’s a procession in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia, prostrations at the entrance to the Jokhang, or the daily activities of the monks at the Shigatse Monastery, Tibetan Buddhists engage in a continuous practice of devotion and prayer. These activities, however, are not simply for the benefit of the practitioners. With the certainty of ritual itself, the ‘merit’ of these activities is invariably offered for the ‘benefit of all sentient beings.’
The Triptych Journey team witnessed countless acts of devotion during our seven-week journey. We filmed processions and ceremonies from the Mongolia to Mustang, Nepal. We photographed the bustling flow of the ‘koras’ (circumambulation) in Lhasa and Kathmandu. And we captured the sounds of prostrations in Shigatse, Tibet, and Taktsang, Bhutan.