July Fifteenth; Tibetan Plateau
By Richard Rudis
The year is circa 1650; the place is the isolated Tibetan Plateau, three miles above sea level, on the very pinnacle of the world. The great fifth Dalai Lama is still a young man; Tibet is a sanctuary of peace and harmony. It is July fifteenth and the walls of the great scholastic monastery Drepung rise above the land as if willed there within a landscape of barren rock.
An ageless monk stands gazing out over the deep, expansive valley which extends down and away in all directions. It is early morning and in the thin air the dark blue sky of the Himalayas is bright in contrast to the still shadowy lowlands below. The evening fog, cold and damp, lingers as flickering lights, the lantern radiance of a thousand pilgrims, twist in long and narrow rows making their ritual sojourn towards the monastery. The procession is not a new sight to the old monk. He, his brethren and their order have witnessed this spectacle from time before recorded history. It is the pageant of the sacred Himalayan Bowl which trails off into infinity.
The caravan carries within it?ôs fiery train offerings of flowers, grains, food, incense and devotion. Each pilgrim has come to hear the echoed song of a sacred Himalayan Singing Bowl. Tradition recounts that karmic obstructions are removed while meditating within it?ôs voice. Those that have already managed to mindfully pierce their veil of illusion will hear the Bowl?ôs resonance from great distances and from within life itself. It is the physical utterance of emptiness, the teachings of truth, the sound of enlightenment.