17th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Natural World
The Lama & the Huntsman

I was in Spiti Valley, in Himachal Pradesh, India. After a 5day hike in the region, I visited Key Monastery with my new local friend. Kye Gompa is the biggest monastery of Spiti Valley & a religious training centre for Lamas, located on top of a hill at an altitude of 4,166m (13,668 ft) at the Himalayas. It was a cold morning in October. The young monks prepare themselves for a test at the terrace of the monastery. The view was incredible & we felt the warmth of the sun on our face & took our breakfast. A monk showed up & started to recite Buddhist Sutras out loud. This remind me a Tibetan story about a Lama practising on a big mountain. A poor hunter lived nearby (*according to Buddhism killing living beings is a sin). The man hunted to support his family. After each hunt, he'd give 2 deer to the Lama. If he didn't find deer on the one side of the mountain, he would fly over a cliff to hunt on the other side. "If a sinner can fly over mountains, me, through my spiritual practice can easily fly there too", thought the Lama ! Yet the Lama fell into the water. "Because what matters is the heart".

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 10.2018
Date Uploaded: 11.2019
Photo Location: Key Monastery, India
Camera: NIKON D5300
Copyright: © Apostolos Kaloudis