An auspicious week

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Monks standing in a row holding scarves

Monks lining up to give khata and receive blessings from the Rinpoche

This week has been a particular special one for the Tibetans living here in Boudhanath.The weekend saw two very good days for gaining extra merit. It had been calculated that on Friday and Sunday just one good deed on these days would be worth 10 thousand, or on Sunday, 10 million good deeds! To take just one round of the stupa, give money to the needy or to just be nice to the people you know would be a very auspicious or fortunate thing to do.

Then on Monday, Chökyi Nyima, the head Rinpoche or teacher of the Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery, known locally as the White Gompa, (this is the monastery I go to school in) came home. The monks lined the path to the monastery and offered Rinpoche 'khata', the white silk scarf that is such an important part of Tibetan culture. Rinpoche blessed each scarf then placed them over the monks' shoulders. It took him some time to bless each khata offered, but finally he made it to his room - we knew this because his pet dogs barked happily a few moments after he climbed the stairs.

The following day the Rinpoche's first puja since his return took place. This puja also coincided with the date that the Buddha of this era descended from Tushita Heaven to live as the human Siddhartha Gautama. Pujas were held all across Boudhanath, and trumpets, conch shells and chanting could be heard throughout the night.

Of course, the Tibetan community here in Boudhanath is being kept busy with other non Buddhist matters this week. Today the Olympic Games opens in China and this week has seen an increase in the protests and vigils happening across the city.