Prayers in Nepal

Two images of daily prayer in Nepal. The first one is Hindu. On a hillside above Lamatar, on the edge of the Kathmadu valley, there is a small cave that is known as a holy place. People honor it by lighting incense, placing flowers, and painting the rocks with red and yellow powder. There are also two bells that can be sounded at the end of prayer.

The second photo is a typical Buddhist daily ritual, putting out bowls of water in front of the statues in the shrine room of one's home. This is my house, where the daily ritual is done by our housekeeper, Sonam Debey, who is a Buddhist nun. The bowls are put out very carefully, so that an empty bowl is never placed in front of a statue. She has a stack of bowls and fills the top one. Then she picks up the up the top bowl, pours most of the water into the next one, and places the top bowl (which now just has a little water) in front of the statue. Then she goes down the line repeating the process, placing one bowl at a time in front of the statues. When she is done, the last on just has a bit of water. Then she goes back and fills all the bowls to the top. We opened a box of Christmas chocolates in front of the statues, so we first placed three of them in a bowl amidst the water offerings. Then we could eat the chocolate.

The statue in the middle is Manjusri, the bodhisattva of wisdom (you can tell by the sword in his hand, which cuts through ignorance). We have six large statues, at least twenty small ones, and eight tankas (icons) in the shrine room.

People here feel a great need to pray. This is just one of the many ways in which their faith so outstrips my own. Again, it is such a blessing to be here, with these people, in this place.