Saturday, July 21, 2012

Inner Sanctum of a Temple

We set off walking uphill, on our way to renovate a vandalized chorten on the way to Phajodhing. It was mid-morning, a month ago. Sunny day. Bright. We, 12 of Go Youth Go members, carried a load each of lime, paint, sacks, spade, knife, packed lunch and some drinks.   
After almost an hour-in fact, sweated-we reached the spot. Wow, we were into the interior of the forest, all surrounded by beautiful green trees. The air, so clean and cool and pure. I was delighted beyond words. In some ways, this was a great relief for me. Away from the intense, cramped and noisy Thimphu City.

But, eh, in one corner of the hill, sat the chorten abandoned and despised, in sullen silence. It looked bruised, dispirited, looted. Oh, the mere sight of it pained me, provoked such an ache of my heart.
Immediately, we deployed ourselves in rebuilding the chorten. With real gusto though. Responsibilities were divided among us. I received a bucket to fetch water from the stream about a hundred yards downhill. A couple of others got a sack each and spade to ferry clay. Others went onto collect pine needle and made a fire to burn incense and pine needle as was the ritual. Strong boys from the group gathered stones. Two boys, who had good knowledge about architecture, put back the treasures and refilled damaged areas. And of course, a few brought their great humours.
In no time at all, the required materials were gathered. Water. Clay. Pine needle. Stones. It was, in fact, all about teamwork and teambuilding among the group members. Then, we started rebuilding the chorten, so uninterruptedly, so determinedly.
After a while, there’s torrential rain beating down on us, and it’s ferocious.  The rain water mixed with girls’ black mascara, eyeliner and foundation. Boys’ gell streaming down, all milky white. Our clothes wet, our hands and legs muddied.

But no one complained about the downpour. We kept on working, feeling much stronger, against the onslaughts of the pouring rain and cold. We admired work of art, architecture and the efforts our ancestors had invested building this chorten.

In the lunch, we shared our packed lunches. Three had brought rice. A few others, emadatsi. One brought ezey. Others had brought vegetables curries. Even it’s teamwork in having lunch and more importantly, all about sharing.
The lunch warm in our bellies, we resumed our work. And this time, recharged with a commendable spirit and determination. As we worked, we too conversed, laughed, played, tussled and tangled. In fact, sweating profusely.
But the clouds up in the sky never cleared. The downpour never stopped and soaking us. And, oddly, wonderfully, it opened my eyes to the radiance of a deep sense of grace and glow to my heart. Like this rain water, like this sweats and this mud which had dissolved every particle of worldly dust from our body, the effect of laboring rebuilding of the chorten cleansed our tainted souls. Anger, desolation, apathy, weariness and despair-all flushed down. And only the positive feelings had been illuminated in our heart. And a growing belief in a spiritual dimension, developed compassion and heightened sense of love.

And the dispirited, bruised, looted chorten resurrected in its glory. Its treasures restored, its grace returned. Once again, it stood incomparably beautiful, shining in bliss, plentitude. And illuminating in a halo of lights of beauty, love, spiritualism, compassion and protection. This is one plain empirical truth, I had discovered. The chorten like a mirror reflected our own image, inner sanctum of our temple.  
The afternoon was nearing its end when we complete rebuilding the chorten. The rain stopped. Ah, miraculously, the setting sun stood feverishly beautiful in the west as we packed our things and headed our way home downhill-muddy and slippery. Flurries of birds were swirling around us twittering and chirping as if they were thanking us. Fresh wild flowers budded full, supposedly, in enormous gratitude and a sense of homage for us. Rustling leaves waved us farewell.
And downhill, we clambered, with a smile of satisfaction and love. Our heart exalted. Because not only did we resurrect one chorten, but our own negative feelings cleansed and heroically restored with compassion, love, happiness.

Note: Go Youth Go (GyG) is a membership-based community group of highly motivated young people which is committed to bring positive social change in Bhutan. It has over 160 active members.
GyG is on Facebook:


  1. Deeply touched and encouraged to join GyG. Can I be the member? Do I need to register? I will be an active member in future. Promise! Actually, I love going to campaign and doing social works for people. Let me know.

    Great Job! :D

  2. Felice inizio settimana a te...ciao

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