Christian K. Wedemeyer ckw1 at
Thu May 25 19:56:38 UTC 1995

	The Tibetan pilgrims were most probably "picking" things up at 
the stupa, not leaving them.  In 1990, I went on a day trip to Nalanda 
and Rajgir with a group of Tibetan pilgrims.  They also would stop every 
once in a while and pick up fragments of the bricks or soil from the 
premises of the holy sites.  This is one of the more unfortunate 
devotional acts common among Tibetans.  They are collecting pieces of 
sacred ground so that they may keep them as relics.  These may be placed 
on an altar and are very often encased in statues, stupas, or reliquary 
boxes (ga'u) for devotional reverence and its derivative good karma and 
	You may also have noticed them touching their rosaries to
particularly sacred monuments at pilgrimage sites.  This is based on a 
similar regard for the power of holy sites (like Frazer's "sympathetic" 
or "contagious" magic).


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