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Story: Just before the Chinese New Year 2017, my husband and I took a trip to China to visit his family who he hadn’t seen for over three years. All the celebrations meant we made our way through far too many cigarettes and baijiu in the first week, so to give ourselves a break we decided to venture to Jiuzhaigou, a national park located in the eastern part of Tibet. 

En route to the park we stumbled across a monastery. Upon entering we heard melodic morning prayers being uttered by 20 monks. One of them signalled for us to follow him into a back room where four huge Buddha statues were kept. “Bow to them and put three incenses bearing your wishes into the burner,” he instructed us in native tongue, “you will feel the amount of strength that this most sacred ceremony can give you”.

Many say that Tibet is the closest place to heaven on earth – and it’s true. You can see it in people’s eyes; they are pure, innocent and at peace. It’s a place to worship, not only the monasteries but nature itself. They say that whatever reasons brought you to Tibet do not matter; what matters is that you are there now and one step closer to heaven.

As our taxi driver cried out when we passed a holy mountain on our way back: “Here is to heaven, to earth and to people. Tashi Delek!”

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