28 November 2008

A defender of a place that humans are supposed to respect

Along the border of Serka Zong, beneath vibrantly colored prayer flags in the shadow of the Forbidden Mountain, rests a simple stone wall with intricately carved stones piled on top of it. This is a mani, or prayer, wall is covered with mani stones.Mani stones are often stone plates, though rocks and pebbles have also been used, carved with either mantras or ashtamangala as a form of prayer in Tibetan Buddhism. Ashtamangala are scared symbols commonly referred to as the Eight Auspicious Signs; the eight symbols are the right turning white conch shell, two goldfish, lotus flower, Urn of Wisdom, endless knot, Precious Parasol, Wheel of Law, and Victory Banner.Though the mani stones are beautiful to look at, their artistic value comes from the elaborate and tedious carving work, rather than the end result. The act of carving is seen more as a meditation or spiritual ritual, and is therefore more sacred than the outcome.

The intentionally placed stones are often placed along rivers and roads as an offering to spirits found in the area or the genius loci, the guardian of the area. Since Serka Zong lies at the intersection of water and road, it is safe to assume they are left for the mountain’s sentinel.

1 comment:

Princess Fee said...

Wow - I have never noticed these before! Yet again, something I need to look out for on my next trip to the World.