|Basket offering bowl, Dewathnag|
|Offering shrine, Dewathang|
It was quite disheartening to see how thoughtlessly the plastic products are being used to offer for tshok in recent empowerment ceremony in Bartsam. If we closely examine the products on the offering shrine more the ninety percent came from plastics. The biscuits, chips, waiwai, maggi, koka, bread, mimi, lays, parle-G and the list goes on. I observed that almost all the people gathered in the ceremony had been actively involved in offerings of package foods and stuff from the shop. It was logical that people coming from far places would have had no option to cook and bring in organic items however there were alternative offerings in the shops, like oranges, walnuts and sugar canes. Even many lay people and civil servants from the same community had the choices of easy offering. Why not people go for bio degradable and environment friendly options. Don't you think the reason boils down to education as an key player.
Our students as outside visitors to Bartsam were surprise to see the unlike practice to that of what they practice are in line with environment friendly and healthy organic items. I felt that could be the reasons why my students sitting near to me during empowerment session murmur into my ear complaining ''They are using plastics and it is unhealthy practice.'' The problem is not with what is being offered on the shrine but it is with what is left unconsidered once the inside products are used. So one has to ask these apprehension questions where does the plastics go? who would care of it? what are the immediate effect? and what are long term effect? and other more.
|Offering shrine, Bartsam Tashigang|
I also felt that our students have certain right interpretation when they have said ''Bartsam is dirty.'' and I guess their interpretation came from what they have observed in an around the temple. I take this complain as a positive note to change in a way the present situation demands. We know that now because of modernisation at our door step everything from living standards to eating habits have changed to what we call ''modern ways.'' I agree that modernization is vital but remember let's not live behind the legacy that would not be cherished. Our simple local practices cherished for many years by our forefathers can be reintroduced from our sweet home and community.
|Lopen Tsheten Norbu|
If you happened to visit to Chokyi Gyatsho Institute especially during one of the Drubchens or pujas. It is common to see an amazing and local ways of offering. The shrine is adorned with golden, white and red food, different curries, raw vegetables, cooked potatoes, orange, banana, homemade chips, momo, Indian sweets, cucumber, pineapple, sugarcane, apple, beaten maize, roasted rice, walnut, peach, boiled beans, cooked pumpkin and the list keeps on going. These offering comes from our community and this is where the first wise choice begins for the people of Dewathang and other premises around. I would say these are the choices that has many positive implication to our environment, health, cost and our ways of offering.
|Offering tshok, Bartsam|
Another important aspect of environment friendly and locally available practice one can witness is using of tree leaves and banana leaves instead of plastic plates and cups. I believe these are traditional bowls used by villagers commonly. When I was a kid in my remote hometown, I remember I ate many times on this mother nature plate. I also saw my mom and dad packing cheese and butter in it beautifully and wrapped it from all corners and send it as parcels. I wonder if these practices have deteriorated because of modernisation but now I realise it is extremely good practice once existing widely and I feel we have to re-establish this tradition.
While there are many expensive and polished offering bowls readily available one can see homemade bamboo container storing tshok on the shrine. It is beautiful container from mother nature and still serves the purpose.
|Garbage in corner, Bartsam|
I am very confident that if we create this environment of practice and nurture the mindset of the young and old through education we can change the way we are now and bring in positive force to our mother nature and the world at large.
|Fruits and foods, Dewathang|