20 September (Wednesday): Monk Halloween (plus Nativity play)

Clearly the analogies don’t hold here. Let’s stick with simple description.

The day after the retreat, the monks came out of the monastery for the first time in 45 days.

First, they climbed the mountain to a new monastery, still under construction, where they had a first breakfast (with some hangers on).

Then they came down through Kanglung to Sherubtse College (the MPH or multi-purpose hall) where they had some more breakfast amid meditation.

The procession was the most dramatic part of this early process:

All along the path, students of all ages congregated to contribute candy and other small goods to the monks’ begging bowls.

I particularly liked the matches and the pins as useful items.

Note that the abbot (third from the back) does not carry a begging bowl.

I’m curious about the other roles: how does one decide who gets to bang the gong or blow the horns or carry the spinning canopy?

After walking through Sherubtse College, the monks returned to the monastery, where a cultural program was performed.

The tent of dignitaries: the President of Sherubtse on the right, the abbot slightly elevated

Students of various ages danced.

Then came the performance of the Buddha’s early teaching, which struck James as just like a nativity play, complete with problematic sound projection.