Thu May 25 19:20:17 UTC 1995

A few observations on Tibetan stupa practices: the most common practice 
is circumambulation, which Buddhists do in a clockwise direction, with 
their right shoulders toward the stupa. Bonpos go in the opposite 
direction. The use of prostrations is very common. It is generally done 
by way of making full-length prostration around a sacred site, and is 
considered to bring greater merit than just walking. Some Tibetans even 
make complete circuits around places like Mt. Kailash doing prostrations.

As for the picking described, I'm not sure what that is. I have seen 
Tibetan nomads making small offerings while circumambulating a stupa, but 
have not observed Tibetans picking up things while walking around a 
stupa. Does anyone else have an insights on this?

John Powers
Wright State University
cjpowers at

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