Guttural Red.

I am in the Thiksey Gompa.

I sit cross-legged, hands rested upward on my knees. Next to me sits a friend in similar reverence. We have been given a corner, a rug on which to sit, two tea cups in alignment with our axes.

There are six aisles. On each seat, sits a monk facing another. Some monks have a magnanimous presence, some radiate an aura of humility, while some are young and playful. Above our heads floats a thin layer of essence smoke.


Directly in front of us are the many incarnations, their names written in neat order once upon a time. There is an inner sanctum where sits Buddha. Golden and 15 m tall.

Now the monks start chanting. Their chantings move from the physical dimension to the spiritual. Words from the chantings become vibrations. It is the same vibration that I have felt many times before when I am still.

On the outside, I am uncomfortable. The guttural sounds, the clanging, the rising intensity, it pursues me to run away from the place. On the inside, I see the discomfort as the unwillingness to let go.

The first chantings come to an end. We are served butter tea in the tea cups. Kettles move around, china clinks are heard. I sip the tea in accordance to the social customs. Before long, the chantings begin again.

I decide to commit myself to the prayers. Morality persuades to be humble to the proceedings. I close my eyes to draw attention back. There is no reason why I cannot focus.

When I close my eyes, I see a colour. It holds the thousands of years of oppression, the misinterpretation of the flow, the denied half, the regulated spirit. It is also liberation, a sanctuary. It has existed before and it will exist long after.

Guttural red, whispers a voice.

Guttural red, I repeat.


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