Marieke ten Wolde's blog

Documentary photography, and other things interesting enough to bother you with

Posts Tagged ‘books

Tibet travel log 5, Respect the books

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Do not put books on the floor, do not sit on books, do not step over books, do not place anything on top of books, keep food and drinks away from books. Respect the books.

I once took my travel guide book from the dashboard in the car where it was cooking in the sun into the shade on the floor, actually to protect it. My driver was very upset: do not put books on the floor. ‘OK, but it is just a guide book and the sun …’, ‘do not put books on the floor’. Later that night, I realised my guide book even had a preface with drawing from the Dalai Lama, luckily my driver did not know. Otherwise, I fear, the book would not even have been allowed to be stuffed in my camera bag. I have no idea where I then should have kept it, in that hot and dusty car.

There are many reasons why I like Tibetans and their great respect for books is definitely one of them. Monks and nuns stuff their often tiny quarters with all sorts of books including Buddhist teachings, explanations and philosophy.
I found that also lay people often own and read books, even when they have their mobiles with the messaging systems, their TV’s and Internet. I have been in the winter homes of Tibetan nomads in Kham where a complete wall was covered with religious books.
The great complaint I always heard is that there are not enough books published in Tibetan, so they are precious possessions and are passed along and read over and over again.

Praying sitting under the book shelfs, making sure to always stay lower then the books.