020 – Lapa Lama – Boudananth/ Darjeeling

ARTIST – RITU THAPA
PHOTOGRAPHY – MITCH WARD
INTERVIEW – ANSHU PANDEY

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Lapa Lama is a monk from Darjeeling in India. He was interviewed at Bouddananth stupa- the largest Stupa in Nepal and a very famous and holy site in Kathmandu. After the earthquake the Buddhist monks played an important part in helping victims and distributing aid.

“ I was doing a puja at somebody’s house in new road. I had come from India to do this. From the morning I was doing the puja and at around 12 there was a lunch break, I was taking a rest and at that moment I felt the first earthquake. Everybody ran out of the house and I ran too. In 5 minutes I had reached Assan market.

“Right after Assan I went to Bouddha to get one room. And to pray for PADMA-SAM-BHAVA (Buddha) I prayed to him for the whole of the people of Nepal and for everybody’s safety. I had come to new road with my guru; we tried to contact each other many times but could not connect. At that moment I realized that the teaching of Buddhism is all about life. This earthquake was not caused by the people it was natural cause. I realized that the teaching of the Buddha – nothing is permanent in this world. This of the teaching of the Buddha and so if this is the end of life that is how it is… I thought that this day might be the end of the world, and the new era of Buddha is about to begin.

“Right after that day, monks from the country went out to help everywhere in Nepal. I went to Bakkum in Sindhupalchowk, nearby the china border. When I first reached there with the team of monks, we took oil, food and rice to the village. What local people asked is “you have brought this dry food, but how can we cook this, we need fire and heat” I told them to calm down, they were so angry with the government. I told them “the government will soon distribute 15,000 soon” they said “the govt has not given us a single match of fire yet, so they will not help us. We will not let them here”

“I told them RIS LE AFE KANCHA – (anger can harm ourselves only) I asked them how they are surviving after the quake? > They told me “we are being looked after by china government, they bring tents and bring cooked food directly to us,” I told them “we are here to help also, we are not from any country, we are from the monastery, we are from the side of humanity”

“The second time we came back we brought tents and bed sheets, and we began to help to build temporary houses from the bamboo found in that area, More team of us monks went to more than 20 places more than 20 times, for more than 3 months.

“We got our donations and our funds by asking to friends in foreign countries. We did not allow sending the money personally, but with our monk team we collected money in 1 account, and we distributed from there.

“People and their animals have been hurt, every kind of living beings. But I am hopeful about the future,

“Its not just here, many places in the world have been affected by disasters and by earthquakes. I pray for all living beings in the world.”


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