Langtang Gompa – what is it?

Langtang Gompa with flowers outside (c) Temba Lama
Langtang Gompa with flowers outside (c) Temba Lama

It is a place for everyone, even trekkers who need shelter from the elements. This link takes you a photograph taken in 1972 by someone who took shelter overnight inside the gompa; sleeping on the wooden floor and with a wood fire for warmth.

Another, more practical answer, is that it is a Buddhist monastery in the region of Langtang in the Nepali Himalayas. But the real answer has more subtle nuances. In general, a gompa can be a meditation room or a large-scale monastery. It might have outbuildings and monks or nuns living onsite, or it might not.

A gompa is a meeting place for a Tibetan Buddhist community. It is a place for learning, prayer (puja) and meditation. It is not purely for the members of the religious order that live on-site or nearby; it is for all the people who live in the village (and for those passing through). Everyone is welcome.

My first experience of a gompa was in Besi sahar https://suziricher.com/2013/03/04/hyulsa-gompa/. Apart from the din of the music and chanting, what struck me most was the relaxed atmosphere of local people coming and going, and the fact that people’s everyday lives and their beliefs are one and the same.  They are completely interlinked, but in a relaxed sense. When the mobile phone went off during the puja, no one noticed or cared (except us foreigners, I held my breath for a few seconds). The music continued alongside the telephone conversation. People drifted in for a while and then drifted away again, taking from the puja what they wanted.

Group of people sitting on wooden benches around the edge of Langtang Gompa
Puja inside Langtang Gompa (c) Temba Lama

Langtang gompa is no different. It is part of the community. It is where people go for puja. Seasonal  pujas are held for the villagers, funeral pujas can last for days and pujas are held to mark the full moon and new moon. The gompa is part of the rhythm of daily life in Langtang.

People gathering at the Langtang Gompa
People gathering at the Langtang Gompa (c) Temba Lama

Please help the people of Langtang to save their gompa from serious risk of collapse. They have raised the equivalent of £20,000 so far, your help is needed to raise the £16,000 still needed for the restoration work of this historic gompa.

Please share this post and please donate to the appeal at: http://www.justgiving.com/HEART-LangtangGompa or if you’re in the UK text ‘GOMP99’, followed by the amount you wish to give, to: 70070.

Thank you!

Suzi and Hayley

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