Sakya (4,280 meters)

SakyaWe drove about four hours by Jeep from Shigatse to Sakya. Sakya is the name of the town, monastery and sect. They are not Yellow Hat Sect; I spied several monks with Red Hats. The hotel had western toilets and hot water at night. Although there was no heat, they did have heating pads. At almost 13,000 feet, any comforts were welcome.
The north part of the monastery was first built in 1073. The south part was built in 1268. Much of the monastery is under reconstruction. We entered a very large hall where about 100 Tibetans were singing as they worked. They were renovating the floor. They also kind of line dance and use a tool to pound the floor. The tool is a staff about as tall as a person with a flat, circular weight attached to the bottom.
We entered a large hall. It had 24 pillars (8 x 3). The pillars were each the trunk of a tree. This area of Tibet does not have trees (it has sand and rocks with some runoff water). The trees had been carried from Nepal or India. They were large, magnificent and about three stories tall. They were wider than two people could reach around. The hall contained a large library of scripture. Reportedly, all the original Sanskrit Buddhist scriptures are now lost. However, when the Tibetan language was codified, the scriptures were translated into Tibetan. These scriptures are believed to be the closest to the originals. The monastery is building a school and developing as a scholastic center.
The town dos not get many tourists. Every young child we met said, “Hello, how are you?” The tea houses play DVDs. After school, the children line up outside and peer in through the windows.
The monastery also had a large gold and precious stone stupa. The lama of the Sakya Sect has moved to America, but the monks did not know what city.

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