March 29, 2016

Oh My, What A Trip

submitted by Amara Charles Back

The benches where the monks will sit

Tucked away in the high mountain village of Wutai Shan China we return to the ancient Tibetan Temple where we stay for our retreat.

We wake at 3:30 am to cross the dark and cold stone courtyard to get our blankets. Brrr! I can’t wait Where we bowto sit with the monks and chant with them for the morning ceremony. But first we make 108 bows. You put your hands on the two mits and then whoosh! – until you are lying straight on this board. It gets a little easier every day, and it sure warms you up for sitting and chanting. I remind my self we’re only doing this for a few weeks. They do it every day.

sun coming in TempleWe are surrounded by Tankas and Temple art that has been soaked in ceremony for centuries.

We listen to the hum of the monks deep voices that shakes the cells of our bodies as the sun starts to come inside. Our spirits are carried to the dharma realms where I imagine the Buddhas reside.




It’s alwP1000148ays a happy moment when warm buns are brought in for the monks. It means the ceremony will soon come to an end.

As the birds begin to sing outside,  we get to have our yak milk tea and bread too!



Many Temples and sacred items were destroyed by the Chinese government.

So precious are the things we got to see. 

Tanka Inside The Temple

Tantra Tanka inside the temple


4 animals painting on courtyard wall


Stunning Guan Yin inside temple


 Tiger & Monk on temple entrance


Rats on Door to the Wealth Guardian Temple


Ancient butter candle in hidden Guan Yin Cave

IMG_2415 (1)

Sign says ‘Spontaneous Enlightenment’. We walked through  just in case.


A Tibetan Man we met. Yum!


Our beloved teacher Angela Yan. No way we’d be here without you.

Sifu Gandan

A hard-to-get picture of Sifu Gandan


Farewell to Wutai.  Off to Bejing.

For Tea

of Course!



 Tea Scouting ! Many, many trips to the bathroom.


Got Tea here

and here…

Till we meet again

Till we meet again


Many Blessings. In beauty, Amara and Shyena


Om Mani Padme Hum












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Brian Obrecht says

I love the description you have. The pictures are wonderful. That is a delicious part of the world and I envy your ability to explore it to intimately. Keep it up!

Amara says

Thank you Brian! So nice to hear from you. How on earth are you??? Much love Amara


Wow, Amara & Shyena, you are two brave souls to go there in Winter! Good for you. I loved seeing your pictures. I reminds me of my trip to China and all the temples we visited too. The tea was the best! Still have some for safe keeping! Would love to share my pictures of my trip with you sometime, and see many more of yours.
Many blessings,

Amara says

Hey Gary! wow. great to hear from you. Yeah, I know, we went because there were no touristas…I know why too. It was FREEZING. But grand! Would love to see you sometime soon. hope you’re happt and well. Love Amara