Witches (?) of Tsogyal Latso
2001 summer

Happily I (with a Japanese friend) had a chance to make a pilgrimage trip to Darkyul.
After Guru Rinpoche's caves of Drak Yangzong and Dzong Kumbum, we reached Tsogyal Latso -- Yeshe Tsogyal's life-lake.

The lake is surrounded by profound trees.
La (soul) of Yeshe Tsogyal, the partner of Guru Rinpoche, lives here.
The peaceful lake surface is said to tell various vision of the past and the future, especially in the moonlight.

The La-shing (life-tree) of Yeshe Tsogyal stands at the north shore of the pond. Further north stands a small temple called Tsogyal-ling or Kazhima Lhakhang.
In the temple, we can meet Guru Rinpoche, Dorje Neljorma and so on. Inside the glass-case on the right side is a wood-trunk-like object which clearly reminds us of women's breasts.
It is a ranjung (naturally-made sacred object) of the breasts of Yeshe Tsogyal's mother. It is said that Yeshe Tsogyal grew up by the milk from this tree.

actually it looks so...

Only Kandro has beautiful long hair. The other three nuns have skin heads.

Tsogyal Latso has four nuns. One of them is called Kandro, dakini.
We stayed at the guest room of the temple. Next morning, nuns asked us to take photos. No problem. We enjoyed almost one-hour photo ceremony around the pond and temple. Always Kandro is the leading actress. The others helped her by dressing, advising poses and decorating her with flowers.
It was completely peaceful time,
until a nun said the word:
"Will you still stay here? The ferry is at eleven o'clock"

We planned to go south to cross Yarlung Tsangpo River by ferry. Then we would reach at Lhasa on the same day.
The problem was that the schedule of ferry was not clear. But now the nun shows it is eleven o'clock.
It is already 10:30. Never on time.

But anyway, we hurried up for the ferry pier.
Nuns waved their hands, saying good-bye, very heartwarming good-bye.
It takes one and half an hour on foot to the pier.
We still had a slight hope. Tibetans are never punctual (we Japanese always feel it). Departure time should be delayed as usual.

We passed by Drakdra village, the birthplace of Nubchen Sangye Yeshe, barley fields and crowd of sheep, approaching the Yarlung Tsangpo pier.

"No more boat today"
A villager told the truth to show they were sometimes punctual enough.

Ekajati, a powerful protectress
of Dzokchen teaching

Anyway, the nuns.... they clearly know the ferry schedule.
Why did they tempted us for the photo session at that very time???? One hour!
A kind of conspiracy?
Kandro is a witch catching travelers to eat?
I never forget the innocent and lovely smiles of the nuns.

Another hope.
At the upper stream is Dorje Drak Monastery, one of the six head monasteries of Nyingmapa tradition. We can walk to Dorje Drak along Yarlung Tsangpo. So we can cross the river from Dorje Drak because they have more ferries in the afternoon.
It was some 15 km on a map. We asked some tractor drivers and they answered:
"Only three hours' walk"

We started to enjoy walking. There was a concern. Drinking water was not enough. But it seemed that three hours would be OK.

Behind the hill must be Dorje Drak! -- how many times did we expect.....

We walked and walked.......but we could not find any sign for the goal. The Yarlung Tsangpo bank are wholly covered with sand hills and rocks. Further, the weather was completely fine. No place to prevent the strong sunshine.

We drank up the drinking water. There were rivers. But it was rainy season. River water is not good for drinking. We poured the water into our water bottle, but we decided that we made best effort not to drink it.

Four hours passed, five hours passed. We should have given up earlier. It was too late to go back. But we had no sing of Dorje Drak.

Seven hours after the departure, we finally arrived at Dorje Drak.
We already had no sweat because of dehydration. We bought bottles of soft drinks at the shop and drank and drank.

After sunset, we could cross the Tsangpo River to the south bank. From the pier, we had to hitch three cars to reach Lhasa at midnight.

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