In Tsada we had the first time the chance to visit a Tibetan monastery. We could see in this region of west Tibet a lot of traces of the Bon religion. But also the traces of the Chinese Culture Revolution were hard to miss. It was weird. 50 years ago the monasteries where systematically destroyed and nowadays they rebuild them as a tourist attraction. It is like Disney Land were the monks are doing their religious practices between hundred of tourists.
We visited huge monastery complexes in Shingatse, Lhasa and Shangri-La. There were once living thousands of monks, where nowadays only a few hundred are living. Important monks are buried in big stone pyramids (Stupa). Countless Buddha-statues can be found in a temple. Every statue has a meaning. Every day thousands of pilgrims are coming to the temples, walking clockwise around the temple and donating their last money. Sometime we could see a lazy looking monk with a broom to collect the money on the ground. It’s a big contrast when we see the poverty at the countryside and the wealth in the monasteries. By the way: The destruction of the monasteries is valued by the Buddhists in a different way than in our world: Transience is part of the culture.