Thursday, 10 April 2014<br /><br />Today was the second relaxed rest day in Namche Bazaar. Everyone is up and around, feeling fine.<br /><br />We wandered to the other side of Namche?s hillside basin to the village gonda. The gonda is the community prayer hall. The building?s bright yellow roof and red stuccoed walls stands out amongst the stone and white buildings in the rest of the village. <br /><br />For centuries, the people living in Nepal?s mountain valleys have practiced the Buddhist faith. About 1240 years ago, Guru Rinpoche brought Buddhism from India to Tibet, where it split into several different traditions. Sherpas follow the original, oldest Nyingmapa tradition. Until 1959, Buddhist education came from Tibet. Now, these teachings are passed on at monasteries in Nepal and India. In the Khumbu, the two biggest monasteries are at Thame and Tengboche.<br /><br />Namche?s gonda is brightly painted with low doors for entry. We first stopped in the gonda?s small visitors center, which held a collection of religious objects. Our Panorama host, Sherap Jangbu Sherpa, is also the chairman of the gonda management committee. Several years ago, Jim worked with him to publish a booklet for the center and large graphic panels inside, to explain some of the items and tenets.<br /><br />The gonda has a fairly small central room, perhaps 20 x 25 feet. Its walls are ornately decorated with many religious paintings. Low benches sit along two walls. The Lhakhang (altar) dominates one wall, with a large carved Buddha behind glass. There are two sets of religious books on either side of the altar. The first set is the Kagyur, of 108 volumes, which records the teachings of the Buddha. On the other side, the Tengyur has 220 volumes of writings on literature, law, grammar, logic, rhetoric, history medicine, painting and astrology. The books are printed from wooden blocks or hand-lettered onto long, narrow pages pf paper. The loose pages are stacked, wrapped in a square cloth, placed between wooden planks and bound with a strap. They sit in individual niches on the wall.<br /><br />In a corner, there are the many puja instruments. These include: nga (drum), sil-nyen (large cymbals), gyalling (a Tibetan flute), sang-doong (long horns, always blown in pairs), kagling (trumpet), thung (conch shell), and ting-sha (small finger cymbals). These create sonic offerings to bring the participant closer to the gods by making people happy.<br /><br />After the gonda visit, Martin, Steve, Danny, Carol, Barbara and Shane walked with Kharma up about 500 meters vertical to the Everest View Hotel. They had great view of Everest and its surrounding peaks. It was also a good chance to warm up their trekking legs for a long walk tomorrow. Later, they wandered into town in search of vegan pizzas for Shane and Barbara and cheeseburgers for everyone else.<br /><br />Jim, Lauren and Scott walked up to the new medical clinic, sitting high above Namche. Sherap helped organize the clinic and get it built. It provides basic medical services for the community and trekkers. We later traversed the hillside for about thirty minutes to have a clear look up the valley to Everest.<br /><br />The bright and clear weather we enjoyed for the past three days got a bit dour this afternoon. We had late-afternoon rain and some snow flurries. With a bit of luck, it will dry up for tomorrow?s Pangboche trek.<br /><br />Tonight, we are going to celebrate Sherap?s 60th birthday. While he is downplaying the moment, it promises to be a festive affair and the dining area is being set with lots of food. Sherap said Lhakpa is in charge of the event. He said Sherpa women are tougher than the men, so he does not debate her on things like this. I guess wisdom does come with age.<br /><br />Lots of love to our family and friends.<br /><br />Posted by: Scott Williams<br /> <br /><br />Blogs by other members of the expedition<br /><br />Shane ? http://HeartHealthyEverestClimb2014.blogspot.com<br />Steve ? http://Wetumpka2Everest.blogspot.com<br />Jeff - http://www.highpeakadventures.com/high_peak_adventures/web_log/web_log.html<br /><br />
Scott and Lauren with Everest in the background... keep an eye on the prize!!!