Apr 14, 2013

The People You Meet: Lama Geshi - a blessing for the adventure ahead....

We left the comforts of our lodge in Deboche and slowly made our way along the dusty trail toward our home for the next two days – Pheriche. It was a gloriously sunny day and we ambled through the barren terrain and along the beautifully engraved mani walls taking in the stunning peaks which put the challenge of what lays ahead well and truly into perspective..! Beautiful snow capped mountains including views of Everest, Lhotse, and Ama Dablam.

The morning started auspiciously, we went to a blessing held at Lama Geshi’s house, a lama who had escaped Tibet in 1947 and settled in Pangboche, finding a spiritual and real home under the eye of the mountain, Ama Dablam. He is the highest ranking Buddhist Lama in the area. Almost every climber to the Everest region visits him to receive a blessing before their climb. For many climbers and trekkers, this is one of the highlights and life long memory of their visit to Nepal.

We stopped in at Lama Geshi’s incredibly ‘atmospheric’ home to receive a blessing and a small gift. This includes a piece of paper which has been blessed and inscribed with a prayer, and a string of coloured cord (a sungdi) to wear around the neck, with a knot representing the prayer to the goddess and for our safety. In return we must respect; respect the mountain and each other and Lama Geshi asked us not only to think of doing well on this expedition to Lhotse, but also in life. Be a good person was his message. The message was delivered through a chant of prayers for our safety and permission to climb the mountain while tossing rice into the air and occasionally ringing a small bell. The entire ceremony lasted about 20 minutes.

Sitting in front of Lama Geshi and receiving the blessing along with the rest of my team was a very humbling experience which promoted a time of personal reflection. A beam of light seemed to shine down on the Lama as he sat in front the only window in the dark, dusty room which seemed to let in a trickle of light. He sits surrounded by years and years of climbing history and Buddhist symbols. His smile was gentle and his eyes full of wisdom…  Lama Geshi also conducts pujas where climbers receive his blessing for a safe climb. Many Sherpa will not touch a mountain without his blessing.

We then enjoyed our walk in the sunshine up to Pheriche and the comforts of the Himalayan Lodge. The Himalayan Lodge is a fantastic little lodge with excellent food and a great atmosphere – the main room was packed with climbers from all walks of life including a Qatari prince and a team from Extreme Everest who are studying the effects of altitude on the body.


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