Episode 073: The Jokhang

I Can’t Believe That IT IS Butter! This afternoon we left the hotel room and ventured across the street to the Jokhang Temple. This is the most sacred temple in all of Tibet and dates back to the 7th or 8th century.

It’s extremely ornate and filled with religious pilgrims eager to show their devout respect to Buddha by walking around the Jokhang in a clockwise fashion. There are also many pilgrims on their hands and knees in front of the temple again showing their devout respect. It’s amazing to watch.

Everywhere you go there are what look like little oil lamps with open flames. There are also intricately carved statues that appear to be made out of some sort of wax. It turns out that these lamps and statues are made out of butter! Yak butter to be exact. The smoke from the lamps imparts the air with a rich, buttery smell that is almost overwhelming at first.

Now, Scott and I are not religious ourselves and happen to be fairly weary of most organized religions. But here in Lhasa with so much prayer going on it’s easy to see that Buddhism is a part of the very fabric of these people. It permeates every aspect of their lives and every atom in their bodies. This makes it very easy to get caught up in it, even for the jaded like us.

As we stood on the roof of the temple looking out onto the pilgrims walking their Koras around the Jokhang, Scott and I began to discuss the religion and the way this place was making us feel. It was hard to put our finger on just what it was that we were feeling. I felt happy and serene and warm and at peace.

It turns out that what we were feeling was the presence of TRUE FAITH.

A-Ha! I think I understand now…

Jon Miller

Total Running Time: 23:10