4 October (Wednesday): Drubchen

Later that same morning, while I was teaching, James went with Sherubtse faculty to participate in the Nyingma drubchen, and to offer lunch. The monastery lies just above the Yonphula Centenary College campus, and the buildings are beautiful.

James was told that there are images of “the four kings” on the sides of the monastery. This seems to have been an issue of translation: they are the “geps,” which translates as “kings” but in this context means local deities. Chencho says they were kings long long ago. The local deity of the north holds a mouse/rat. The others we have yet to fully understand.

Young monks come to monasteries sometimes because their families are very poor and can’t support them. It is possible for them to leave after receiving an education, but Namgay says that there is some stigma attached to leaving.

Thinley told James he could take some photos inside the monastery, and unlike me, James took permission to do so, though like me he also took some photos after the ceremony was done.

Here are the horn players.

Drums, texts, high-pitched horns:

Sandalwood arra was offered with lunch, from the tank carried by this monk.

James couldn’t finish his, so they sent him home with a bottle! James is persuaded this is pure methylated spirits, but I’m going to try it. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe next week. Building up some courage.