Asia | China | Tibet – Damnyen Heaven
I thought it couldn’t get any better than going to a horse festival and getting top play a huge, old damnyen with a bunch of real musicians and getting two cups of free chang (Tibetan beer).
But when we reached Shigatse and were coming back from dinner, I met another damnyen player in the street, and he wanted money to play a song. I thought it would be a good idea so I paid him 10 yuan to play anything he wanted. He did a really nice drinking song and danced, too.
Then I asked if I could play his damnyen, and he let me play something for him. He sat on the sidewalk to listen and I squatted down so I could get it to sit in my lap (his carrying strap was too long for me).
I played one song that Ali taught me (I never found out the name), and then I played Zebu Rinchen Wangdu, which I’m actually pretty good on now. And he was so happy when I played that, and we sang a bit together.
Afterward, I said goodbye to him, and shook his hand, and he put my hand up to his forehead and we blessed each other.
This morning after breakfast, we left the hotel and drove to Gyantse, where we just finished seeing the Kumbum stupa, which has 108 different rooms with different statues in each one. There are several levels and you keep going up and up.
Of course, 108 rooms is a lot of rooms to look into each one, especially when you are experiencing a bit of high altitude effects. So I just went where I was drawn.
As I was turning the corner outside of one room, a dove flew out of the room. I’ve always had a particular affinity for birds and they’ve been important spirit messengers all my life. So I went inside this room.
It had four statues and the main one was a black protector deity with three eyes. He was very fierce and yet the lama to his right had the kindest eyes I’ve ever seen. So I just did a little prayer there and was glad I saw those statues.
Tomorrow, we’ll take the road again and should be reaching Lhasa in the morning. If all the internet connections from here on are this good, I will write more in a day or so. (The photo at the top was actually taken in Nepal, as I don’t have any of me playing damnyen in Tibet. The other photo was taken at the Kumbum.)