"Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart and out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thought towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can."
~ Dalai Lama XIV
I found these wonderful words framed on the walls of a monastery in the outskirts of Leh. Climbing the what always seemed an unattainable height from the entrance, gasping for breath after every ten steps at a good 13,000 ft, the rewards on having finally made it to the top of the monasteries never went amiss. So etched with beauty was every nook and corner, and such awed were we by the gamut of hidden treasures that the daunting perch ceased to matter within moments. If it wasn't for the echoing serenity and the balmy silence of the monasteries alone, the dramatic panorama of the sandy mountains that one got from their top added layers to the unforgettable experience.
Fixed to the mountains like a crusty lump of gem on the rocks, the Diskit monastery stands at a formidable distance from the main road. And when you have made it to the top, a 106 ft towering statue of Maitreya Buddha awaits to wash away your breathlessness. Watchful stupas stand out from the frame of the Shyok river valley, facing the mighty Himalayas of Pakistan. Huge, colourful prayer wheels dotting the neighbourhoods. The Shanti Stupa, in its pristine glory, rising from the earth like a giant white bird fanning out its wings across the azure sky. Its circuitous walls chockablock with myriad Buddhas and the important phases of his life. Its turns giving way to breathtaking glimpses of the jagged mountains. Another round of panting through the stone stairs of the Thikse monastery, on our way to meet another Buddha. The ever-radiant face calming one's frayed nerves. The courtyard walls adorned with kaleidoscopic murals from many a Buddhist lore. Monks on their way back to their quarters. The eternal words of Dalai Lama XIV.