Beginning in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province and historically one of the main access routes into Tibet, we passed through the magnificent mountains which extend along the Yangtze river valley to Kanding, the capital of the Tibetan prefecture of Ganzi (Garzê), where we entered Kham heading north-east towards Derge. Once in Derge, we met with the director of the famous Derge pharkhang (Derge printing house), which was built in 1729, and which is where the Buddhist scriptures of Kangyur and Tangyur and many other Buddhist works are still being printed from traditional wooden blocks. From the lively town of Kandze (དཀར་ མཛ ས་ ོ ང་) nestled in the vast and splendid Ganzi Valley at an altitude of 3,800 meters, surrounded by the majestic Mount Chola and green hills dotted with yaks, we head to the Galenting the monastery the abode Jamyang Khyentsi Wangchuk, the maternal uncle of Chőgyal Namkhai Norbu. We returned to Gandze via another route, southwards, visiting Adzomgar and the stupa where Nyagla Padma Dondul manifested the body of light, and visited the famous Nyimapa monasteries of Palyul and Kathog. Traveling with us was P.F. Talamo, the director of the National Museum of Archeology at Campi Flegrei, who is collaborating with the MACO and the Museum of Sichuan University on two exhibition projects. Our guardian angel on this trip was Harry Mao, long time student of Buddhism, and veteran of over 20 trips through China and Tibet. Harry has agreed to travel with us again in 2020, as we retrace the 1988 journey, led by Rinpoche, across the Silk Road.
LHASA AND BEYOND
The trip to "Lhasa and Beyond", was set to discover Lhasa "the City of Gods" and its main monuments: the temple of Jokhang and its most revered statue, the Jowo, sources of inspiration of the architectural structure of MACO and the statue kept inside it ; the Potala Palace, home of the Dalai Lama; the Lukhang, the secret temple of the fifth Dalai Lama. In addition to the ancient capital, the tour explored the beauties and cultural treasures of Central Tibet : Samye the first Buddhist monastery founded with the help of Padmasambhava in the 8th century, an architectural reproduction of the world; the great Stupa Kumbum of Gyantse built-in 1427; Shigatse, once the capital of the Central Tsang region, and its nearby Tashilunpo monastery, home to the Panchen Lamas; Yumbu Lakhang, the legendary home of the first Tibetan king Nyatri Tsang PO of the Yarlung dynasty located in the Yarlung Valley, considered the cradle of Tibetan civilization.