Dekyi Thang literally means “happy field” in Tibetan. The author remembers the Dekyi Thang of her childhood and mourns the neglect and commercialization of present-day Dekyi Thang. The author notices the growing number of butter lamp shops inside Dekyi Thang, which seems to be changing from a place of worship to a place of business, and points out that only butter lamps bought from each hall can be offered in the hall. This article was published on March 26th.
By Nianzhu (Prayer beads)
In the morning, I went to Deckyi Thang with my family. In my childhood memory, Deckyi Thang was always an exciting place; the smell of the offering smoke could be smelled far away; both strangers and acquaintances were praying for something with holding the palms together devoteedly.
But this time, I was a bit disappointed. I haven’t been to Deckyi Thang for some time. Also, I haven’t thought there would be too much change. We drove directly to the main gate. My uncle told me that there was already some improvement on the main gate. He said it was closed and we only can go through the back door. After asking for some details I understood that some conflicts happened between the shops inside the monastery and shops at the main gate. Because of this reason, the main gate was closed. There was unspeakable feeling in my heart.
“Then let’s go through the back door. Is the back door a door?” It is just a hole on the wall with a size of a car can drive through. After just driving through the hole, it is the place for making offerings. Beside the offering-making platform there is the monastery shop. We went inside and bought some offering liquor and prayer flags. We made some offerings, offered liquor and prostrated. Then we went to offer butter lamps and prostrate in some halls.
We first went into the Wenchang (Wenchag is a powerful Chinese mountain god) Hall. There were a bunch of butter lamps. The incense-fire was not bad. There was a small room beside the hall selling butter lamps. Following one’s heart is the key, so I was thinking about offering three butter lamps in each hall. While I was counting the butter lamps, a grandfather who sells butter lamps said that each hall has its own butter lamp shop. The lamps bought here are only for Wenchang Hall. I didn’t know how to express my feeling at that time. I could neither laugh nor cry. It was very sad. I didn’t say anything. Even if I said or asked something, what kind of explanation would they give? Nowadays this kind of situation gradually becomes common.
While I held the butter lamp and lit it, I even forgot the prayer words I was thinking before. I prostrated but I couldn’t remember how many times I prostrated. In the next halls, I only prostrated, but I didn’t offer any butter lamps.
Deckyi Thang in the past was a brilliant one, but today it is ……………
During childhood, when there was an important (religious) day, this was one of the most exciting hall, but today when I went there, not to mention about the monks and butter lamps, and even there wasn’t any hall-keeper monk, cold and empty, makes the heart chilly.
This is the big prayer wheel, which I often came to turn with my deceased grandmother. Today it requires a lot of energy to turn it. The broken windows.
There are three new halls near the back door. One of them seems the hall of Future Buddha (called Maitreya in Sanskrit). The hall is surrounded by prayer wheels. When I went to turn the prayer wheels, there were no other disciples except the echo sound of my footsteps. Turning the wheels pulled me over to lose my energy. The crying and laughing like sounds seem satirize me, satirize the real people, or saying I have no energy.
This day I was speechless.
Translated by Reb Sa