The photo above shows the staff lined up, ready to welcome Rinpoche. Those in Buddhist costume are wearing ceremonial scarves. We are all clutching on to long silk scarves, called khata. These were to offer to Rinpoche. There is a certain way to do this. For a new-comer, a daunting process. First the khata is folded up like a concertina. One end is held firmly between the fingers of the right hand. To present the scarf, you thrust this hand over your extended left arm, then elegantly unfurl the long whiteness as you straighten the right arm. All going well, that is. I had other visions. The scarf flying off into the mud, or even worse, the right hand veering into Rinpoche's face.
"Buddhist master killed by clumsy Kiwi"After giving the khata to Rinpoche, he promptly returns it to you as a blessing, wrapping it around your neck.
The prayers were conducted before a makeshift altar in one of the classrooms. Again, there is a lot of etiquette involved. I know some of this, but rely on going near the end and following what others do. The Bhutanese people are always quite accepting of my strange interpretations or whisper advice loudly when I am about to offend. While sitting down, I nearly turned my back to Rinpoche. At least I did not attempt to eat the uncooked rice which was meant to be tossed into the air as an offering to the local spirits.
They both have their own blogs, which I am sure you will enjoy. My view of Bhutan seems rather stale and boring in comparison with these fresh young eyes.
Zeb's is here: Flaming Thunderbolt of Wisdom.
And this is Jon's: Happy Ending Offer.
Promise to come back here, though.