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seemed so dry, though his mother buttered his tea well and urged him to drink one cupful after another.
Drolma brought in a big leather bag full of “dsamba" (roasted barley meal) for Tsering to use in the lamasery at Batang. Palma, Tsering's mother, also followed with a big brick of tea, a sheep's stomach full of butter and a string of cheese. (Cheese is formed into small squares and hung up to dry like beads on a string till it gets hard.) It only then dawned upon Tsering that he was to be away for a long time, and he felt anything but happy.
Trashi ate scarcely anything, only looking at Tsering with her big, black eyes, full of pity and sorrow. This did not help little Tsering, whose breath became more and more labored till he suddenly ran down to Gezang to prevent an involuntary confession.
The mother named after the goddess Palma “the illustrious") was the prime mover in this whole affair. She had coaxed the ponbo, and finally got him to find a priest in the great lamasery of Batang to act, during the boy's apprenticeship, as his teacher and guardian. But now she almost
. wished she had allowed Dorje to have his way.
The little boy was at last ready to start, dressed in his best-a red “nampu," many-coloured boots and cap, with
' charm-box (k'awu) of silver hanging on his breast. Palmo thought he looked so sinall and condescended to cheer hiin up by saying she would soon come to see him.
But as Tsering was climbing on to the big white mare, held by Gezang and partially loaded with provisions, little Norbo burst into crying. Trashilhamo sobbed against her dirty woollen sleeve, while Tsering, riding out of the big courtyard behind his father, allowed the tears to flow freely. They did not cease till the little company got down into the lovely pine forest, growing on either side of the little river which drains and fructifies this beautiful highland valley. The mother stood on the roof looking after them, and as she turned to descend the ladder, her eyes were dim with tears. And Drolma heard her say “ nyingje” (an expression of loving sympathy and pity); that was all she said, and that almost to herself. And why nyingje ? Was not this the consummation of all her hopes, the answer to her oft-repeated prayer, “Grant me grace to fulfill the requirements of religion ! Grant me masculine posterity!” But by the time the cows were milked she had triumphed over her weaker self and congratulated herself on having a son who, before long, would be a holy priest able to stand between her and God, her failures and God's law, putting all right generally for herself and family. In her mind she already saw him wielding the ecclesiastic sceptre and interceding on behalf of “all animated beings.”' Not only was Tsering insured against hell by donning the priestly garb, but he would himself form a part of "God militant," the church which is His body, or “Gendun," which was merely “lingering in this world for the good of mankind.”
As for Tsering he was soon interested in what he saw of the fine country through which they travelled to the Batang monastery, built on the left bank of a Yangtze river tributary. Here the chief entered reverentially with his hat in his hand, his long plaits of hair down his bended back ; his tongue partly protruding
Tsering was handed over to his teacher, who put him through the “initiation"-shaving off all his hair, save a little tuft on the crown, which would be cut off at his ordination as “traba" (monk). When that was cut his separation from the world would be complete.
It was a week later and the moon was lighting up the red and yellow walls of the monastery.
Tsering was sitting on the flat mud roof of his cell, learning the Tibetan alphabet. For some days he had been taken up with the novelty of the place—what he heard and saw. But the strict discipline imposed on novices, together with hard work and study, curbed his spirits. He was homesick, and wept as he kept on saying: “ka, k'a, ga, nga” (a, b, c, d). This
ab irritated his teacher, who came up and gave him a good twist of the ear. “Why do you weep?" he demanded harshly. “I cannot
” learn, I will go home, I won't be a priest," Tsering sobbed out.
“Stop that talk! You will have to learn eight letters before you come down to-night,” said the priest, and left him.
The teacher was not an unkind man, but he believed in discipline, that is, for subordinates.
In another week Tsering submitted to the inevitable, and after the lapse of six months he was presented before the “K'enbo” for entrance examination. To the pride of his teacher, Tsering passed with much honour, so much so that the abbot gave special instructions regarding the lad.
His ordination was simple, but definite. It consisted in the literal recitation of selections of holy writ. Then followed a few pointed questions, such as :
“Are you the posterity of butchers ?
Are you the posterity of blacksmiths ? (The only castes in Tibet regarded as outside the ordinary pale of society.)
Are you guilty of parental murder ?"
To each of these questions Tsering answered cheerfully ma yin” (no) as taught by his teacher.
Then the remaining tuft of hair was cut, and the abbot gave him another name, Ngawang (magic power), by which he was henceforth to be known. He was then divested of his ordinary clothing and arrayed in the distinctive dress of a traba. He might now attend the meetings of the clergy in the big halls and be recognized as a traba, but there were still many examinations and ordeals to go through before he reached the special attainments of a “lama.” Ngawang, however, advanced rapidly in monastic learning, and was finally sent to Trashilunbo in Central Tibet for further study.
There was a certain young man from Ranang (the home of the goat), Norbo by name, about 23 years of age, who was the only son of the Ranang chief, or headman. He was well dressed in brown “gonam" with a silk turban wound round his head. The hair was coiled round his head in two massive plaits in such a way as to display the silver and jade rings with which they were ornamented. Part of his hair was cut so as to form a low fringe on his forehead.
He had a string of splendid “k'awus” (charm-boxes) of silver, set with corals, fastened over his left shoulder. And the ever-present, long sword, sheathed in silver, was likewise studded with a row of precious stones. He, like most men of East Tibet, stood six feet high in his many-coloured boots of cloth and skin.
By arrangement between the Bameh and Ranang chiefs, Trashilhamo and this man had been engaged to be married one lucky day, and this without either initiative or conseut from the parties most concerned. Neither of them took