Yak butter candles at Rong Pu Monastery, the
highest monastery on earth, next to Mt. Everest.
I’ll never forget how they smelled, or how they
warmed the small room. 
Rong Pu is a sacred spot to pray before making
the arduous Everest climb.  We climbed down
vertical stone steps into a cave to see this tiny shrine.

Monastery of the Panchen Lama,
who has a sacred reincarnated
lineage, is a scholar and the one
responsible for finding the
incarnation of the Dalai Lama.
Unfortunately, the Chinese
government has taken it upon
themselves to appoint the latest
Panchen Lama, violating Tibetan
Buddhist traditional belief.
Swastikas are not an uncommon sight in Buddhism.
Note that the arms go clockwise, in the opposite
direction of the Nazi swastika.
Since the Panchen Lama is known as
a scholar, prayers from students are
frequent before exams.  They are
typically given with money and a pen.
Monks accepting donations for the temple.

The Panchen Lama’s monastery was founded in 1447,
and today is home to thousands of monks.  Two thirds
 of the buildings in this massive complex were
destroyed in the Cultural Revolution, but a few
beautiful original doors remain.
Small amounts of money are tucked
everywhere at monasteries.  The
sheer volume taken in must be far
beyond the amount necessary to
feed the monks or run the temple.
The Chinese government takes
any or all donations as they wish.