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Katia Buffetrille  

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Tibetan pilgrimages; Sacred mountains  

NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
26 Jul 2005

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Show: Geography of Heaven - Kawakarpo
Engineer: Bill McQuay
Date: July 26, 2005

Interviewer: Bill McQuay
Interviewee: Katia Buffetrille, Tibetologist

Sound checks/etc. Trouble setting

1:59 BM- How are you this afternoon?
2:00 KB I'm ok, it's not the morning for me¿I will go to the country tomorrow.

2:20 BM- is your engineer recording?

2:40 BM- We're recording here. Can you count backwards from three?

3:00 KB- Trois..deux..un

3:18 BM You've been studying pilgrimages for ten years now..

3:29 KB I did my studies in pilgrimage in the 90's and since I did several pilgrimages and mainly I went three times on Animachen mountain in Xinghai because I wanted to see, during a 12 year cycle, what changed with pilgrimage in the modern time. I also went to Kiberry near Siga(sp?) and of course also¿

4:12 BM Excuse me, we're having some technical problems

5:01 BM Katia, I'm sorry, let me start again. SO you, as I understand it, have been studying pilgrimages to sacred mountains for about 10 years¿why?

5:13 KB- Why? Well it's because I started my PHD, as you know we need to find a subject and it was in the 90's and it was not possible to go to Tibet and stay in a place. Myself I belong to the mountains, I was born in Chamonix, a place at the seat of the Mont Blanc in France. So I was in love with the mountains and I thought that it was a good idea to walk on pilgrimage around sacred mountain because it was a fascinating topic, a lot of people are going there.

6:01 BM So you're a mountain person. How would you describe Kawa Karpo? Is that how the Tibetans would pronounce it?

6:22 KB Yes, Kawa Karpo is the Tibetan name. It's white pillar. Not white pillar, it's white snow, sorry.

6:38 BM What distinguishes this mountain?
6:43 KB The first thing I have to say about Kawa Karpo is also I spent quite a long time there. I saw the lake because you have to also. It rains there. I just saw the top of the mountain, as physical aspects, I just saw the pictures other people took.

7:11 BM Let's start with the thing that you suggested: What makes a mountain special or sacred to someone?

7:25 KB- Well maybe we have to start with some general consideration and for many people Tibet is Buddhist. It's kind of synonymous, say the word Tibet and people think Buddhism. But I think that it's important for the people to know that Buddhism came to Tibet only in the 7th century, and this was the time when Tibet as a country appeared in the world history because the first document that we have were found at the beginning of the last century in Dunhuang In central Asia and it's the oldest document we have on Tibet. So what happened with that, it's a very difficult document to understand and all are not studying until now. What other people discovered (because I don't work on this document) that there were, before Buddhists came, you had a religion in Tibet, and it seemed that the central cult was the mountain cult and you had among other things, you had one which was called Ula which is a territorial god. So a lot of studies have been done on that and It's not exactly the same in all Tibet, in Tibet you can't generalize everything, but the most common is the Ula mountain is a territorial god in the mountain, which is specific to a village or political federation and for the people it is regarded as the ancestor of the population in their territory. These deities is represented in the iconography as a war god on a horse and he's always wear helmet and armor. Most of them are male, but some of them are women. People see them as human beings, and they see them with their strengths and shortcomings exactly like to human beings. And it's necessary to delight them, to please them, and this kind of deity they like to be pleased by dance, competitions, gun shots, archery, they also like to see the courage or the strength, people who speak very well, and this cult which appear again after the 80's when the Chinese were a little less severe on the religious problem, before it was a cult that was held once a year on the slope of the mountain and was doing only by male, the male part of this cult was the fumigation of juniper and also a sacrifice of an animal. All the men were there and each one male, one male of each household had to make an arrow and with each arrow he was going to the slope of the mountain and there they were shooting an arrow in a kind of a pile of stones and every year they had to take each arrow and after all the people were sending a wind horse? And they were throwing this into the air and calling on them, and asking to the god prosperity, cattle, all the worldly things you can think of. But something that was peculiar to this cult was that it was political procure, and we have documents which states the beginning of the 20th century and it was the Toonbiralay (sp?) in the southern Tibet and you learned that the local chief is deriving his power from this territorial god. So each mountain, local mountains for the people, and they expected from this mountain all the life and political power, so this was the point of the sacred mountain. But for the Buddhists, as you can imagine, all the beings, you have to show compassion to all the beings and the sacrifice of a human being or animal being was totally impossible. So it was very difficult for the Buddhists to accept this cult, but at the same time it was very difficult for them to stop a cult that was so important for the Tibetans so what they did is they tried, well they didn't have a plan, but a lot of religious people tried to separate these sacrifices and they tried to incorporate them in the Buddhist cult and to transform them in a kind of protector of the region, so still the Ula can keep a lot characteristics of territorial gods, so a lot of mountains which were Ula mountains were incorporated with Buddhist cosmography and how this works, it was mainly for the deeds of the Buddhist saint, you had a saint which came and at that time, they typically say, you have expression the, likosaypa (sp?), you open the pilgrimage and subjugate all the negative force that are present at the site and that site became a Buddhist site and then you have religious construction, all the long stages full of supernaturally saints or deities and the process of consolidation starts, and then the landscape is marked by the divide and all what you have along the way is the priests lead the people in exactly what the religious leaders stay.

14:56 BM so is it that the Buddhists introduced the pilgrimage? The Ula, there was no pilgrimage associated with the Ula

15:07 KB No, for the cult of the Ula, the cult of the Ula is always on the slope of the mountain, you never have the circumambulation. This is a cultural ritual which comes from India.

15:26 BM what is the significance of the circumambulation

15:29 KB It's a pure Buddhist Indian attitude and it's a way of showing veneration and always if you go around stupa or even around a person, you go in clockwise tour. It's a way to show your veneration.

16:06 BM Every year it was performed by the men.

16:12 KB Yes, in tradition every year you have the ceremony performed by the men, and every morning also is a tradition which is still going on, the people in the household, they offer a libation of juniper to the god, but the main collective things happen once a year on the slope of the mountain and only by male, never with women.

16:42 BM the buddization, is that how you say that?

16:45 KB- yes well, it's the word we invent. The process of buddhicization to transform the Ula mountain into a Ne'ri mountain which was a residence of Buddhist deity, but it's not as clear, it's impossible to say you have Ula mountain with absolutely nothing of Buddhist, and you have a Buddhist mountain with nothing of old tradition, it's a mixture now. We can say that most of the ne'ri mountains were Ula before, but each pilgrimage you can see a lot of ritual which belongs to the non-Buddhist tradition and a lot of ritual which belongs to the Buddhist tradition.

17:30 BM the non-Buddhist, The Ula and the sacrifices, is that Bunpa?

17:43 KB well the Bonpo is also something. It's the bon, it's a word, as it is now, it's a religion which was organized in the 10th, 11th century at the same time when Buddhism knows a revival, and bon, which we know from the Dunhuang manuscripts is that in the old time before Buddhism came you had for priests called Bonpo and they were in charge of the funeral also, and at that time the funeral was not the idea of the Buddhists doctrine. It was, people at that time at their death were expecting to go in a land where they had happiness and they had always animal to lead them to this place, it was a horse, sometimes a sheep and this belonged to the old tradition. The problem to know is that the religion before Buddhism was called beun, this is saved by the bonpo and by the Buddhist, but until now we don't really know, what we call bon now is a religion that was organized at the 11/12th century and it's a religion which has numerous points of similarity with Buddhism with regards to doctrine, practice, monastic discipline, but is still very different in origin and history and for them, the Buddha of our time, it's called Tonpa Shenrab Miwoche, not Sakyamuni.

19:30 BM the time of year that people take pilgrimages, of course it's the time of year when there's no snow. Certain years have greater significance than others.

19:42 KB Yes, almost in each pilgrimage places you have a special day to go on pilgrimage, in the Tibetan calendar, the Tibetan took the calendar from the Chinese, with the 12 elements, so you have a cycle of 12 years, but they introduced after the cycle of 5 elements which made the cycle of six years, so each place has a special year which is particularly official, and these dates in relation most of the time with the date that the place was open, or the anniversary or death of a saint, for instance with Kawa Karpo it is saying that the main year is the water sheep year which was in 2003 when we were there. But the year of the sheep only is still very officious year so if you go in the water sheep year you will have much more merit than if you go in the sheep year.

21:00 BM what exactly is this merit and why do you need it?

21:05 KB the merit you gain is you have to be meritous through a lot of virtuous deeds, and this merit will help you to gain a good rebirth and the aim in Buddhism is the gain a good rebirth. Tibetans know they will not be enlightened in this life so they know perfectly what they have to do, they have to accumulate a lot of merit and like that, little by little they will succeed one day to be enlightened.

21:45 BM in addition to circumambulation I noticed pilgrims doing other uncommon acts, small houses of stone.

22:06 KB Yes, I saw this little house, which I must say they call house, I saw that only in Kawa Karpo, it was the first time, and you have for all this kind of ritual you have always a lot of different explanation according with to whom you are speaking. So what happens for instance with the mountain in Kawa Karpo these small houses, I spoke with several people so maybe we have to explain to the listener it's a small house built with slates, you have three vertical slates and one horizontal which makes like a roof and inside you can find cigarettes, money, grains, and sometimes alcohol, so there are several explanation, and for instance a Tibetan told me that people are doing that to take rebirth in the other life in this paradise which is Kawa Karpo where the climate is pleasant, where you have fruits and vegetables, but another one which is more scholar said that people were doing that because they wanted to come back to his paradise which is the paradise, because what happened in Tibet is Kawa Karpo is the local deity and in all sacred mountain after there were, they became the palace of a Buddhist deity and the main deity is Sakasangbara (Sp?) but for most of the pilgrims which I interview, they told me that they were doing the house they are dreaming about in their next life and what they put inside is what they would have in the next life and when you see cigarettes and alcohol I think it's quite logical.

24:30 BM there were other things that I noticed. There would be rocks and there would be very small spaces between rocks, and people would force themselves through these tiny passages.

24:49 KB Yes, it's called baba gan gran (sp?), the passage to hell. You have this in every pilgrimage in Tibet, and it's a way to make the passage, you have to cross the bardot, which is the intermediate space between the death and the rebirth and it's a way to clean you skin and it's a way to be more prepared for the passage into bardo, when you will be dead.

25:30 BM I read that the pilgrims believed that if they were forcing themselves in a narrow passage, that the rocks would open and expand based on the merit of the individual, the landscape would alter for them based on how much merit they had accumulated, so if you were not able to pass through you had much merit to accumulate.

26:17 KB Yes this is true, and what is interesting, is that most of the time it's not this kind of time where everybody and you have communicace where people exchange and you have no more hierarchy and that, in the Tibetan pilgrimage the groups stay together and they don't exchange during the pilgrimage. The group belongs to the same village or the same family, and the only time I saw people speaking together is in front of one of these passages because you have really something at stake, people are a little afraid. In Kawa Karpo the passages are quite easy except for one near toodro? It's the place where you have sacred water and just after you have the passage to hell, one very difficult to go in, and at that time you feel that people are afraid to go in because if they can't succeed it's a very bad omen for them, but also we have to say that often there is a way to go in you have a way to put your body and to be able to go through, but it's only at this passage where I saw people speaking together, trying to say to the other one, "please take care, put your head here, your hands here," and at that time people succeeded at that and you feel at that time that there is something at stake, and even I, I must say that I did all the pattas, and often I was afraid not to succeed also.

28:15 BM I did the inner pilgrimage and there's the cave of heaven and hell on the way to the sacred waterfall and I got stuck and I said I can't go through and my guide went around to the other side¿he was afraid that something would happen if I didn't make it through.

28:47 KB But it's true, there is really something at stake, it's not just "oh we will go, it's fun" it's really for them, a epreuve, I don't know the word in English (a trial, or hard challenge), it's really something difficult but you have to succeed, it's very important.

29:12 BM I've heard associated to sacred places are Power Places, they say that there is power to be derived from that place, the term is chunlab

29:55 KB In the pilgrimage, everywhere is a power place so I mean, the sacred mountain is a power place and on these power place you have special sites which have even more power, but what you take from this mountain contain the power, either of the deities, either of the site, this is why people take always herb, water, and bring back to home. But you have also for instance in Kawa Karpo we have the bambow, you remember the special place where you take a bambow, and these bambow, you have to bring back to your place and then, in the area of Kawa Karpo, they put these benbo around the main pillar in the house, I don't know if you saw that, and all around the main pillar which is called the bicah, they put all the benbo and so these benbo contain in itself¿

Phone Off 31:28

34:17 KB It's ok now? I don't know, you disappear in the sky.

34:34 BM Ok yes, the bambow

34:36 KB Yes I was saying that these bambow are put around the main pillar of the house, but they are used in some special cases and people told me in this area for instance, when you have a time of bad crops in that case they put the bambow in the middle of the field and they say of course the crops are getting better, also if you have a landslide they take the benpo and put it where they are afraid to have the landslide to stop it, so it's really things which are full of the power of the place.

35:19 BM You said some places have more power than others, can you tell us some of them?

35:28 KB In Kawa Karpo you have several places which are quite famous, the main which you saw is Dokarla, the high pass at the beginning, and this high pass people say, maybe I remember, when you're right at the top you have two kinds of flags, on the left side you have white flags which are called Banitotse (Sp?), it's a special flag they put here for the dead people, and they say it's a very good place to help people, and on the other side you put the lungta, the wind horse. It's an offering to help them in their time in hell or in badot (purgatory) to help them have a better time out of the world and to get a better rebirth.
The wind horse flag is more for you, for the worldly things. When you put the lungta often you can ask for worldly things like cattle, a wife, whatever you want.

36:53 BM your countryman Bacot who did this passage in 1907 speaks about Dokarla..

37:01 KB well what we have to say about Bacot is he did the pilgrimage in the Dokarla he did exactly the other side and it's true because when I went there I had the sense of Bacot in my head and the night before I was terrified by this pass because the text, if you read it, is terrifying, but it's true if you go to the other side it's much more steep, so I don't agree on one thing he say for instance that people were very happy to be tied together and jump and kill themselves, this I don't agree. Suicide is not something that is good for Tibetans. They say that if they die on pilgrimage a natural death this is good, but not to kill yourself, suicide. It's not a good thing.

38:04 BM what was your experience climbing up there? Can you describe it?

38:10 KB Well I did the pilgrimage three times but the first time I did it was terrible because it was terrible weather, we couldn't see the top, and of course I didn't have any idea how long it would take and you must remember it's a little steep and it was raining, it was cold. I was suffering. And at that time I was very close with Bacot. But the second time it was beautiful weather you could see the flags and I thought it was not so far from me and also you had, it was very powerful to see all that, the mountains on the other side and you had all these people who carried their flags and some to sing and you feel that they are really doing something that is important for them. It was quite a great moment the second time.

39:16 BM My experience climbing Dokerla was much like your first experience

39:22 KB I want to tell you something but first because you have a lot of Change and on that we don't know many things. Last year I went again and it was a normal year, but not exactly a normal year because when I spoke with the pilgrims they told me that they were coming here it was because last year they were left in charge of the house(?)

And I would like to tell you that in 2003 with friends who had a NGO we decided to count the pilgrims. Maybe you saw in Langtsa at the bridge there was a teahouse. So this teahouse was built by Wong Ho man, a Chinese from Hong Kong who has an NGO and tries to help, has a lot of projects in Tibet. So there were some things of Tibetan and Chinese people and we can't see the pilgrims. So I must tell you that in October it was the main month we had 27, 28 thousand. It's a lot no? And this year at the same mount we had 1,200.

40:51 BM so the year of the water sheep was definitely the year to do this.

40:54 KB So it's difficult to know how it was before. What they say is there were too many pilgrims, they had to change the wood bridge every two or three days. But it's difficult to count the pilgrims when you don't count them really because you are going in the same line so you never know exactly they are, so now you can guess that there were 10,00, 12,000, how do you know if you can't count them?

41:26 BM the pilgrimage officially begins at Yangtsa?

41:30 KB Yeah well, people say that you have to start, well first maybe we have to explain that the Kawa Karpo pilgrimage goes all the way around Kawa Karpo. People told me that it was 320 Kilometers, which is maybe true if we count the whole pilgrimage. But now as we know there is a road from Merescu lichen and from lischen to Langtsa which is something like 80-85-90 kilometers less. SO people now start from Langtsa where you have bridge which was built thirty years ago I think, but before you had the rock walls near the small monastery of Draysickdong (Sp?) just a little up and what is important is these small monasteries is that the tradition says that the place where you have to open the pilgrimage so the monk in the small monasteries complain that since you have the bridge in Lantsa people are just going to the monastery, they offer, make prostration, offer some money, and go, but what they call the key which is symbolized by a rock is just down the monastery, just up the Mekong. Almost nobody is going to this place and the monk complains that now nobody opens really the pilgrimage and he asked the engineers to build the bridge exactly where it was before.

The monastery just up Yangsa is the monastery where you open the pilgrimage. But to open the pilgrimage you have to go down just near the Mekong where you have a stones where you have to see the stones, maybe make a prostration and this is to open the pilgrimage but tradition now is going a little by little and so pilgrims can't see the other side because of the bridge they just go to the monastery, make prostration and go back on their way.

44:01 BM When we were traveling through there to Dunang (Sp?), I believe you call it chusckarol to bragsna. They were construction a road there.

44:20 KB Ah non, the road is between Aben and Dragna (Sp?). And now the pilgrimage has changed a lot here because all the part, for instance, what was a little dangerous after the sacred spring you had a small path on the rocks, and this now is totally, they dynamite all the mountain so now you have a hole, so all these parts are not anymore dangerous, but there is another consequence, it's that the road is going for instance above the spring and last year no one pilgrim is going down to the spring because they were on the road and going straight, and same for the small monasteries, called the kangra, you remember maybe you have a stupa, a small monastery. Now you have nobody going there because the road is just a little up and if you don't decide to walk a little more and go down you don't have to pass in front of the temple, it's not anymore the usual way.

45:50 BM The monastery you're talking about, is that at the junction of the rivers there?

45:56 KB Yes, it's where you have the junction between the Tunastung River and the Salouen.

46:01 BM yeah, I remember that. We were unsure if that was the correct way to go, but a sign indicated the path. What are some of the other places of power around Kawa Karpo?

46:20 KB there is a place you must remember also, place which is very important of course, so you will have the Dokarla and after you will have the place where you took the bempo which is a very important place and after you have a path which is not so high and which is called, they atinaka and a place you must remember because it was absolutely full of balls and sampa? And if you read the old travelers like Kingcawald or Bacot, they speak about these balls, but they don't speak about sampa and when I spoke with the people with the big rings they say like all the clothes you can see in the trees and they say that all the sampa, but maybe we have to explain that sampa, it's Barlay, it's flower of barlay that's potent in Tibet. And this sampa and the clothes in the trees, they put that there for the people and also for all the people that are in hell or the bardot and they give that because they must need sampa and clothes in bardot and hell.

47:40 BM the offering of the sampa. Do you think that's a mixture of the old and the new? (KB yes, yes) I remember that most of the pilgrims I met, the only thing they seemed to be carrying were sacks of sampa.

47:59 KB yes, it's the staple food in Tibet, with the Chinese occupation it could change but as soon as they travel they take sampa butter and with that they have enough to eat and they can spend a long long time with them without depending on anyone. I saw in Kawa Karpo you have no one on the way and in 2003 they put small teahouse on the way because some people wanted to make some money but last year you had absolutely nothing.

48:34 BM I remember running across maybe half a dozen stalls that had been set up by locals to sell stuff to pilgrims.. it was quite a moneymaker

48:53 KB yes and also this brings a new problem which is an ecological problem and now all the place around Kawa Karpo are pretty dirty and you can recognize the place where you had tea house only by the garbage now.

49:13 BM because our phone line was interrupted is it possible to extend the time?

49:30 BM It seems that the more difficult the passage the greater the merit.

49:46 KB the most difficult the pass and the pilgrimage the most merit to get, but something I must say that I saw only in Kawa Karpo. I knew that existed, but I never met that before. In Kawa Karpo I met a lot of substitute and the substitute is a tradition that you had always in Tibet but it was the first time I really meet people. For instance, if you have somebody that is old or sick and can't go anymore around a pilgrimage, you can pay somebody to make the pilgrimage for you. So in Kawa Karpo I met a lot of people who hired somebody to make the pilgrimage for them. And once, in Yungtsa I saw a couple, it was people from Lhasa, the man wanted to have five kora in one and the lady three in one, so they hired seven people they paid 550 Yuan each and so in that case all the merit the substitutes gain are transferred on the one who paid. Which means you can buy merit. It's an old tradition. It's documented in a lot of stories and many people speak about that long before. What some people tell me before it was not something you had to pay if you were giving the money, you were giving the shoes or the food, but not money. Now in Kawa Karpo you pay, I mean the world change eh, you pay and when you arrive when the substitute is going back to the village he has to give the banbo to the one who paid. You found the way to do a new pilgrimage?

52:04 BM laughing, um, the very last pass that you have to traverse, the Shola. Do you remember what that was like for you?

52:17 KB It was alright.

52:20 BM yeah, we got lost

52:22 KB ah, no no no, I didn't get lost but I have a funny story about that. I lost the cover of my camera and after I crossed the shoal I went down and was a little in despair because my camera was without cover and I met a beunpo pilgrim who was coming in the other direction and I asked him if it was possible for him to take my cover and bring it back to me in Yangtsa and when I met him in Yangtsa he said that he saw my cover but it was on a cairn, these piles of stone which is a sacred thing so he told me I couldn't take it, it was an offering to the god, so I don't have any more my cover.

53:16 BM I remember being so delighted when I made that final pass. We had 7 pack animals..racing to the top¿recordings of me breathing very heavily and you hear the bells from the horses getting louder¿

53:42 KB but what you can do, and what is allowed also is to take the tail of the mule, it helps a lot sometimes. What is not allowed is to ride on the horse, but just to take the tail is allowed, a lot of pilgrims are doing that.

54:04 BM I knew not to ride, my guides were getting impatient, but I wouldn't ride.
One thing I'm not clear on is who was Kawa Karpo, I know Bacot refers to him as a hermit.

54:32 KB it's Bacot who say that. Well, for the Tibetans Kawa Karpo is what you call a Sidat (Sp?), another term for Ula, a local deity.

54:44 BM but where did the story come from, the idea of Kawa Karpo as the local deity.

54:54 KB I think it's long long ago, it's exactly like animation in Ando, the local deities, it's a long long path who was there, and Kawa Karpo is the Ula and like all the Ula it has a wife, because these kind of deities have the same relation that the human beings so they have wife, they have also daughters, so Kawa Karpo he is married with Meninsimu, which is another mountain of the range and they have a daughter and the daughter, maybe you saw it, is a rock that you can see on the right side when you arrive in Katna (Sp?). Most of the time you have a lot of links of kinship between the mountains but they change according to the pilgrimage guide, we didn't talk about the pilgrimage guide, but you have a lot of relation and they have adulterous relations and they have fights. You have a lot of stories about the mountains because they get married together but they get married also with human being.

56:16 BM since you brought it up, what about pilgrimage guides.

56:20 KB the pilgrimage guide, it's not exactly what we call in general a pilgrimage guide, it's not what in Western we call a guide. Most of the time it's a text which describes the subjugation of the local deities and the transformation of the place into a Mandala, which means that multi-turreted palace of the Buddhist deities. These texts were written by the Buddhists and tended to convey the pilgrims towards a higher level of spiritual insight. It's another way of buddhicizing the place and in most, very often, it's the central division of the practitioner. But you have also the guides, a little more in our, like the one we have, where the place is described but always showing you what are the sacred places, the Buddhist sacred place and also telling you what you have to do and what you have to do is prostration, circumambulation and reciting mantras which are the three Buddhist behavior you have to have in a pilgrimage.

57:51 BM You'd mentioned mandala. I spoke to several different people asking if there was a mandala in side the mountain and they said no.

58:04 KB well, it's the Buddhists tried to transform the landscape in a mandala in a palace of a Buddhist deity and most of the time if you take a pilgrimage guide you will see that Kawa Karpo is the palace of such gods like Kailash, like Animachen, but according to the history of the buddhicization it's the Buddhist deity or the local one who still had supremacy. And in Kawa Karpo it's still very strong, if you go to Kailash for instance, in Kailash, kangri (Sp?), the local deity, is almost forgotten by the people. They just think about themselves. If you go to Animachen it is still very present. People are going to Animachen and they are asking everything to Animachen. So it depends totally on the degree of buddhicization and this also changed the origin of the people who are coming. The more a mountain is buddhicized and more you will have pilgrims from all Tibet. If you go to Kailash you will see people from east, west, everywhere. If you go to Anymaten in 90 you had just the local people. If you go to Kham, because we did the interview, 90 % if the people were khampa, it's a sacred mountain for khampa, we had some people from Lhasa but it was almost nothing, they are all coming from Kham, all Kham.

59:52 Kawa Karpo? So Kawa Karpo is primarily Khampa (KB: yes) Most of the people we ran into were actually nomads.

1:00:05 KB well you have a lot of people who are also farmers who come, cut a lot of nomads, yes.

1:00:16 BM why do you think the local deity is still so strong in Kawa Karpo?

1:00:22 KB well it's not just this area. Anymaten it's even stronger I'd say, and I was even surprised how much people in Kawa Karpo forgot the stories about the mountains, when you go to Anymaten you have a lot of people, everyone knows the stories about Anymaten, and you have a lot of stories about the mountain and now a lot of stories are put in the present. If I have time to tell you the stories of Anymaten¿

1:01:01 Maybe not, because our time is drawing nigh. You're going back to Kawa Karpo, is that correct?

1:01:14 KB I'm going back this year, 15 of September, for 2 months.

1:01:23 BM do you think it'd be possible to talk when you get back. I'd be anxious to hear how things have changed?

1:01:31 Yes of course. We spoke mainly on Kawa Karpo do you think it will be understanding for the people? (BM: I think so)

1:02:00 BM Kawa Karpo, that mountain range, what do they belong to?

1:02:09 The range is called Kawa Karpo I think from the name of the main teacher.

1:02:17 BM is this part of the Himalayan chain?

1:02:23 no no, it's the range, in Chinese it's called Mei'li.

1:02:40 BM is there something else that you would like to say that I've not asked you?

1:02:52 KB well I had thousands of stories to tell you but the problem is we started with Kawa Karpo and the only thing I think is to try to be understandable by the people and you have to listen to the tape and tell me if you think it's ok.

1:03:33 BM You've been very useful. I will email you but I'm sure we should talk when you get back. What you said has been very good.

1:04:11 JG Is it valid to do this story, it's just as big as the others right?

1:04:28 BM Our producer just wanted to know if Kawa Karpo is as significant an example of Tibetan Pilgrimage as others would you agree?

1:04:38 Yes, it's very important pilgrimage but we forgot to say something very important just now. I think it's all the stone which are engraved on the trees and this is to wipe your sin, each time you put a stone you discharge your sin on the tree and you go free from the sin.

1:05:02 BM I remember seeing that and wondering what was going on.

1:05:04 KB so we covered this important stone so if you put a lot of stone you have no more sin with you.

1:05:12 BM do you think that we could learn something from this to be incorporated into our daily life here?

1:05:20 KB Yes, to be more practical, pragmatical.

1:05:26 BM Katia thank you very much, I appreciate you delaying your trip to the country.

Katia: you are welcome.

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