錫金蓮師洞 Guru Rinpoche Caves in Sikkim

打算要寫這篇已經兩年多了,懶散至今。

This writing had been a victim of my procrastination during the past 2 years. The disease hasn’t been cured completely so let me post some pictures and do a preliminary write-up for the time being.

札西頂: 一切的中心 / Tashiding – The Center of All

121008 NorthCave 08(LR)01

仁增果登說,整個錫金是聖地,札西頂又是這神聖壇城的中心點,四個蓮師洞則分別位在札西頂的東南西北四個方位。

According to Rigdzin Godem, Sikkim is a holy place and Tashiding is the center of this sacred mandala while the four Guru Rinpoche caves are situated in the four cardinal directions.

121006 TashiDing 11(LR)01 121006 TashiDing 03(LR)01
121011 Tashiding 001(LR)01121006 TashiDing 12(LR)01

二世欽哲是在這裡荼毗的,有舍利金塔在此,還有一座見即解脫佛塔等等諸多殊勝的佛塔,因此要去蓮師洞和從蓮師洞回來時,都會上札西頂來朝拜。

Since Tashiding is such a holy place, plus all those sacred stupas, it is a must to come paying respect and offering prayers whenever on our way to and from the caves.

121006 TashiDing 69(LR)01121011 Tashiding 16(LR)01-2
121011 Tashiding 14(LR)01121006 TashiDing 68(LR)01

在這裡做煙供和供養功課是最快樂的時候,很容易就在這裡待上一整天。
Making offerings and prayers here was such a happy thing to do. I can easily spend a whole day here.

121011 Tashiding 15(LR)01121006 TashiDing 02(LR)01 121006 TashiDing 80(LR)01

札西頂有十億個空行城市,很多岩石上有空行足印、通往秘境之門等等的聖跡,要請人說明才看得出來。有一位幾十年前從康區玉樹來的人在這裡刻瑪尼和佛像,若是會講藏文,老人家還蠻樂意介紹的。

Tashiding is said to be the place with 1 billion cities of dakinis. There are a lot of sacred imprints on rocks, such as foot prints of dakinis or the door to the hidden lands.

121006 TashiDing 05(LR)01121006 TashiDing 76(LR)01
121006 TashiDing 01(LR)01121011 Tashiding 11(LR)01121006 TashiDing 52(LR)01

南蓮師洞 Southern Cave: Lho Khandro Sang Phuk

洛·康卓·桑埔,這個是最多人來的,從車子可以開到的公路邊走下來只要十多分鐘。

This is the cave with easiest access and hence most people only come to this one. It only requires a 10 minutes walk down to the valley from where you can park the cars.

121010 South Cave 021(LR)01121010 South Cave 016(LR)01
121010 South Cave 013(LR)01121110 Cave 003(LR)01

洞在地下,要鑽過很狹窄的通道才能進入最內的蓮師修行洞室。

The cave is slightly underground but not very deep. You just need to crawl through a very narrow passage to enter the inner chamber. The last passage is said to be the image of a particular deity. I won’t name which one so that you can look at the rock and use your own imagination.

這個通道據說是某本尊的形象,哪尊我就不說了,大家自行觀修吧。

121010 South Cave 006(LR)01121010 South Cave 002(LR)01

洞穴所在的河邊有溫泉,大石旁就有幾個泉眼,從河底的細沙內冒出,可以泡腳。到季節時,還可去旁邊搭起的竹棚內泡湯~~

There is hot spring from the river. You can sit by that big rock and soak your feet. In high season, the cottage will be open to allow a bath I think. Somehow  I never came here in that high season.

121010 South Cave 017(LR)01121010 South Cave 019(LR)01

 

東洞 Eastern Cave: Shar Chog Bey Phuk

121005 South Sikkim East  Cave 006(LR)01121005 South Sikkim East  Cave 020(LR)01

這個東邊的蓮師洞稱作“霞丘北埔”,現在也有公路通了。從公路走下來也是十多分鐘,路很好走。

There is motor road to this Eastern Cave now so the access is very convenient as well. From the road, it is also a 10-20 minutes walk down.

121005 South Sikkim East  Cave 005(LR)01121005 South Sikkim East  Cave 021(LR)01
121005 South Sikkim East  Cave 008(LR)01 121005 South Sikkim East  Cave 018(LR)01
121005 South Sikkim East  Cave 015(LR)01121005 South Sikkim East  Cave 012(LR)01121005 South Sikkim East  Cave 011(LR)01

也是要鑽進地裡。但這個洞穴往下可以走到很深的地方,是那種可以不知在裡面走多少公里的洞。下面的路比較危險,不像南洞只是在洞裡爬爬就進去了。要走下去的話,一定要帶手電筒。

This cave is however very deep underground, the kind of place where it seems you can walk miles down there and get lost. A flashlight is a must if you decide to go down.

121005 South Sikkim East  Cave 014(LR)01121005 South Sikkim East  Cave 013(LR)01

這隻小狗從離開公路的居民家裡一路帶著我們走來;等我們從洞裡爬出時,它還乖乖坐在門口等我們。連我這麼怕狗的人都覺得它很可愛。

This cute dog had been leading us along the road to the cave and was faithfully sitting in front of the gate when we climbed out.

 

北洞 Northern Cave: Byang Lhari Rinchen Nying Phuk

Tashiding(LR)01北洞和西洞都沒有公路可到達,都需要坐車到附近的村莊,再徒步走上去。這個北洞,尤為辛苦。

去了之後,過半年才發現,這是拉尊·南卡·吉美取出伏藏《持明命修》(《山淨煙供》即是其中的一部分)的地方,於是很感激某人在西洞和北洞二選一時,選了這個北洞去。雖然辛苦,但是個吉祥緣起。

Northern Cave and Western Cave are not accessible by car and requires a one day trekking from the nearest village. The journey to this Northern Cave is especially harsh. But several months after I went, I realized it is where Lhatsun Namkha Jigme revealed the terma Rigdzin Sokdrup, “The Practice of the Life of the Vidyadharas”, from which the “Riwo Sangcho" comes from, hence I have been very grateful to the friend who picked this cave over the Western Cave for me.

第一天:札西頂 –拉章 / Day 1: Tashiding to Labdang

首先,從札西頂有吉普公車到一個叫拉章的小村子。那個山路很差,所以一定要吉普車才開的過去。

上圖是我們兩人的行李,背包是必須的,行李箱沒可能背上山,所以要換成軟包。札西頂的這個路口有去各地方的吉普公車,我們就這樣行李一放,進了路邊地下室的小餐館吃飯。我是很不放心行李就這樣扔在路邊,不過真的也沒被人拿走。札西頂真是個民風純樸的好地方!

So in order to go to Northern Cave, we took the public transportation from Tashiding to Labdang. The road was bad so even if you hire your own car, you will need to hire a jeep and someone who really knows the road.

When we went to have lunch before the jeep departed, we actually left our  2 backpacks and 2 duffel bags on the street unattended (just like what the picture above shows). I was a bit worried, but when we finished lunch, coming out of the restaurant, these bags were still there intact. That’s another reason why I love Sikkim. It’s just not like other parts of India where you need to watch out all the time.

吉普車上另一個乘客是拉章的人,他答應當我們的嚮導,所以我們到拉章之後,就在他家落腳了。

There was another passenger on the jeep. He is from Labdang and agreed to be our guide for the trip. So the jeep dropped us directly somewhere near his place, then we walked for 10 minutes into the mountain to his house.

121005 South Sikkim East  Cave 021(LR)01121006 Labdang 01(LR)01

這個尼泊爾裔嚮導的家簡直是個世外桃源。吉普把我們放下在路邊的人家,然後我們爬上崎嶇陡峭的山路,進山到了這個有五六戶人家的地方。他們全都是一家人,完全與世隔絕,各戶人家中間圍著菜園,養雞、養羊,完全自給自足。

其中有一戶人家裡剛好請了一位喇嘛在修法,我們尋著聲音晃進去,他們也不以為忤,給我們茶,讓我們坐在火邊享受這靜謐中的誦經聲。

The guide is Nepalese descend and his place is like a small shangrila to me. There are a few cottages together. Next door is his grandfather’s and others are his cousins’.  They grows a lot of things in the compound and have chickens, goats around.

We wandered into one of his cousin’s place as we heard the chanting of a lama doing a one-man puja there. They are all very nice people. They gave us tea and let us just sit there by the fire and enjoy the moment.

121006 Labdang 07(LR)01121006 Labdang 15(LR)01121006 Labdang 13(LR)01121006 Labdang Village 002(LR)01

右邊那個小房子是雞舍。天快暗時,他們就趕雞回去,雞自己會走上那根木條爬回家。雞回家後,人就把那木條移開,大概是要預防有什麼動物晚上會來襲擊雞兒吧。

Before it gets dark, the rooster and hens would walk over a wooden stripe  to get back to their elevated shelter. First time seeing chickens can be trained to do something.

121006 Labdang Village 001(LR)01121006 Labdang Village 004(LR)01

尼泊爾人的房子好乾淨,木地板是一塵不染的。嚮導把家裡最好的房間騰給我們睡,只有一張單人床,所以一個人要打地鋪。我看他們一家人都睡地板上,所以也許那張床說不定其實是沙發。好吃的晚飯也完全是尼泊爾菜。

The guide let us stayed in the best room in his place. The Nepalese wooden cottage is very clean, and warm at night. The family cuisine was also good.

第二天:拉章-山上 (9 公里) / Day 2: Labdang into the Mountains (9 Km)

121007 To Cave 04(LR)01北洞就在那山裡面的某一處,遠方的山頭還有雪。

2012年的雨季結束的晚,當地人還沒有清理去蓮師洞的路。錫金雖然海拔高,但溫暖潮濕,森林完全是雨林的模樣。雨季時,所有植物一長,就沒路了。我們是當年第一批出現來朝山的,那個嚮導小男生人也真好,竟然願意帶我們入山,我完全沒有想到他和他帶來幫忙的姪兒會有多辛苦。

Northern Cave is further inside the mountain from where I stayed.  Somewhere in the opposite range in the picture.

The 2012 rainy season lasted longer than usual. The local community  has not cleared the road to the cave yet. We were the first group trying to go that year. I was very surprised that our guide was willing to bring us in after I saw how much work he and his nephew had to do. They literally had to cut a road out of the jungle for us.

121007 Village to the Lodge 001(LR)01兩千多米的海拔,我們要走九公里的山路,翻過兩個山坳才能到蓮師洞。按一般人的腳程,單程要走五到七個小時,當天是無法來回的,所以晚上要在當地人為朝聖者所搭建的一個小屋裡過夜。

The altitude was 2000+m. 9 km to the cave, for the locals, it is a 4-5 hours walk, for city dwellers, probably 5-7 hours, so there is no way to do a day trip. You have to spend a night at a shelter house the community built near the cave.

一開始幾百米的路還有左圖的小徑,沒過多久就是茂密的雨林。嚮導兩人,一個人背著我們的一個大包和他自己的小背包,一個人背著自己的小背包拿著鐮刀從雨林中硬是砍出了一條路。

This kind of trail only happened in the very beginning. Once we got to the other side of the mountain, there was no trail at all. The guide just took turn to cut a one-man wide passage out of the thick rainforest.

有些地方,植物長得太茂密,還砍不出他們通常走的路,於是又折回,另闢他徑。他們的體力真的讓人咂舌,高海拔負重爬山已經很費力了,砍樹更是體力活。

121007 Village to the Lodge 005(LR)01121007 Village to the Lodge 020(LR)01121007 Village to the Lodge 012(LR)01

有些地方,則是路完全塌了,只能爬過鬆動的落石。這種時候,我都會很感謝在法國楓丹白露森林裡教我攀岩的英國同學。有些地方是必須沿著陡峭的山壁走,原本當地人會搭建一個右上圖的那種圍欄扶手,但因為今年還沒清路,很多這類棧道都塌了,只能念著阿彌陀佛想辦法貼著山壁爬過去。

In some places, we had to climb though land slides. Those are the times I’d thank Robert for teaching me rock climbing basics in Fontainebleau.

For the parts where the safety fence that locals built were completely out of shape, you can only chant mani and pray those grasses on the cliffs can provide you some support .

121007 Village to the Lodge 006(LR)01121007 Village to the Lodge 002(LR)01

But the view is good. At least in the beginning when you still have energy to appreciate and explore.

121007 Village to the Lodge 013(LR)01
錫金的蘭花很有名。Probably orchids.

121007 Village to the Lodge 015(LR)01121009 Cave back to Labdang 001(LR)01

看了蘑菇就覺得肚子餓。Cute mushrooms.

開始還有點閑情逸緻拍照,過了一半就只想著要努力在天黑前到達目的地。

特別是走了1/3路程,停下來休息時,才發現除了那割人腳的荊棘蔓草、黏了我一身的種子,還有無數多的血蛭在襲擊我們。

血蛭很小,就指甲月牙那個大小,它們會在快要有人經過時站在樹葉上,人一經過就跳上來,然後順著你的褲子爬到鞋子或褲管裡,有些還直接從頭上樹葉空降到身上。

不知道的時候沒什麽感覺,等我把血跡斑斑的褲管捲起,在別人幫忙下把那十幾隻抓掉,再啓程之後,只要有一隻進來都會覺得很癢,很想把它從自己身上攆走。但是走走停停也不是辦法,過一會兒就只能放棄,完全一個修心的過程。

121007 Village to the Lodge 024(LR)01 121007 Village to the Lodge 023(LR)01  121007 Village to the Lodge 022(LR)01

The real challenge was leeches. I didn’t realize there was such a thing until after 1/3 of the trail, I saw those blood coming out of one guide’s leg after he took out some leeches, even at that time I still thought it was due to those nasty sharp vines. Then those guys finally enlightened me by pointing at my own bloody pants. After I rolled up the pants, I saw leeches on my leg for the first time in my life – not one or two, but more than a dozen.

They were tiny. Most are not even 1 cm long. Yet they are vicious. Like motion detectors, they would know before you  come and stand up on the leaves, twisting and waiting for you. Once you pass by, they jump over to you, then they follow your pants or shoes to seek the soft skins to satiate their blood thirst.

快要進入目的地山坳時,那個山頭可能海拔比較高,突然血蛭就失去蹤影,在身上的也好像死掉了,雖然還咬在身上。

121009 Cave 9(LR)01

看到這個已經從拉章走了快9公里的牌子時,真是歡天喜地。其實離要過夜的屋子還有幾百米,蓮師洞還要1公里。

Fortunately when we got closer to the destination, probably due to the high altitude or something, the leeches all suddenly disappeared. Even those biting into you became inactive.

The shelter house is still several hundred meters from this sign and the Cave is probably 1 km away.

121007 Village to the Lodge 027(LR)01121007 Village to the Lodge 028(LR)01

最棒的是要涉水過這個小溪,順便洗腳、清除血蛭。雖然水溫低到腳一浸,就凍成紫色,但還是快樂無比。特別是這時帶的水已經喝完,拿空瓶裝溪水飲用,那個香甜甘冽,加持降臨,真是難以忘懷。

這時對血蛭已經有初步瞭解,它們喜歡咬皮膚薄、大血管靠近體表的部位,所以群聚之處就是腳踝那一圈和腳趾附近。據說若是等它們吸飽血自己會掉落,而且它們的唾液會有助止血。死在我腳上的洗掉後,血還是從它們咬出的那兩個小牙齒孔泊泊流出。

This stream before reaching the house was like heaven. We ran out of water so refilled ourselves with this cool and sweet nectar. Also, took the leisure to stop and wash off the dead leeches on my feet. Though it was freezing and my feet turned purple, but it feels great.

因為天已經開始暗了,大家也累了,所以我們決定今晚先住下休息,明天早上去朝洞後再下山。

我大概累斃了,小屋的照片一張也沒有。

基本上就是一個有屋頂墻壁能遮風避雨的地方,沒電沒水沒信號,不過屋外有接山泉的地方。嚮導在外面生了個火,煮了他們背上來的YY泡麵(我愛YY!)。吃完後,因為沒電,也沒事可做,於是就6點18分我們已經全部躺下睡覺了。那應該是我這輩子最早上床的一天。

當地人實在很好,開路、搭橋、建屋子之餘,屋裡還備了一些泡棉墊,可以拿來墊在睡袋下面。睡袋一定要帶暖的,我帶的小螞蟻睡袋說是0度ok,完全不夠暖,冷得睡不著,到半夜厚顔討了別人的一半睡袋來蓋。嚮導則是背了一床毯子一裹了事。

The house is just a roof with walls for people to tug in for the night. No power but there is running spring water outside.

Since it was getting dark, so we decided to stay put and wait until the next morning for the cave.

Our guides made a fire and cooked some instant noodles they brought up as dinner. Then we all tugged in at 6pm. You do need a warm sleeping bag. My light one, said to be good for 10 C, was definitely not warm enough.  The guides simply wrapped themselves in a blanket so I should’ve asked them to bring a blanket for me instead.

121007 To Cave 05(LR)01

第三天:北洞-拉章 (11 公里) / Day 3: Up to the Northern Cave – Back to Labdang (11 Km)

隔天,繼續努力。

今天上洞、下洞各1公里路,再9公里路回拉章,共要走11公里,雖說是下山,但其實還是很多上山的部分。

So today, 1 km to and from the Cave, plus the 9km to get back to Labdang, a total 11 km to go.
121009 Cave 3(LR)01121008 NorthCave 05(LR)01
121009 Cave 4(LR)01121008 NorthCave 06(LR)01

雖然一路都覺得是在很特別的氛圍裡,但到了洞裡就更特別了。特別到連我這麽鈍的人,都覺得空氣中漂浮著異常奇特的光彩和力量。

Although it feels walking in a special zone throughout the journey, the feeling got even stronger when getting closer to the cave.

121009 Cave 15(LR)01121009 Cave 21(LR)01121009 Cave 13(LR)01

洞是半開放的岩穴,嚮導幫我們掛上風馬旗。

It’s a half open cave. Our guides helped us put up some prayer flags.

121008 NorthCave 02(LR)01-2

看到前人不畏艱辛而背來的佛像、油燈,實在佩服不已。

I was amazed by all those statues and big butter lamps brought here by previous visitors.

121008 NorthCave 03(LR)01

做煙供、供養,還在洞裡把一天的功課都做完了。

Sang offering and various prayers. It feels like something flowing in the air, like an unheard song, invisible, vibrating, making your mind clear and joyful.

總覺得洞的深處隱約傳來空行歌唱的聲音。

121009 Cave 24(LR)01121009 Cave 14(LR)01

Though we started early, we spent a lot of time at the cave and it was almost 10 when we got back to pick up our luggage and had some breakfast. Next time I will spend more than a night there.

磨蹭到九點多才回到昨晚落腳的地方,吃了早餐,拿上行李回拉章。

依依不捨,下次要多待兩晚。

121009 Cave 12(LR)01121007 Village to the Lodge 021(LR)01

回去的路上,連小背包都讓嚮導幫忙背回去。即使如此,還是到晚上七點多,天都全黑了才回到拉章。我的腳程就是來回都要9個小時 [汗]

嚮導今天不用開路,走得飛快,估計三個小時就回家了。

很感人的是,大概下午四點我又餓又累,還加上可能失血過多而頭暈時,竟然其中一個嚮導又上山來,帶著水、熱熱的烤餅給我們吃。

Though I passed my little backpack to the guide, it still took me 9 hours to get back to Labdang. For them, since they don’t need to cut trees and make roads anymore, it probably took them only 3-4 hours to get back.

And they are super sweet. When I was tired and hungry on the road, one of them came back to us at around 4 pm to bring us some hot tea and warm roti!

因為他們先走了,天黑後很難認路,又沒有手電筒,友人拿著那天曉得能撐多久的手機當電筒,還好他算是很有方向感的人,於是帶我走出了大山。
121007 Village to the Lodge 003(LR)01121009 Cave back to Labdang 004(LR)01

第四天:拉章-札西頂 / Day 4: Labdang to Tashiding

121009 Labdang 9(LR)01

實在很愛我在拉章住的這個地方。
Love this place I stayed in Labdang.

121008 NorthCave 07(LR)01-2121009 Cave back to Labdang 005(LR)01

昨晚回來在嚮導家門口清血蛭所遺留的血跡,今天還清晰可見。

身上有32個咬痕,腳上估計一兩百個是跑不掉的。

最慘的是,別人都是血蛭拿掉後,20分鐘血就止了。我是一整個晚上都在試著止血。試了各式方法,到了半夜還有三處止不了。

On the previous night I took out those leeches in front of the guide’s house, my blood on the ground was still visible this morning. In total, I had 32 bites on my torso and 100-200 bites on my legs/feet. A great cleansing with all the blood I offered to this pilgrimage!

121009 Labdang 15(LR)01 這是拉章村的公車站。旁邊有個社區辦公室,一定要去那邊交錢支持他們的開路和維護聖地的工作,每人只收20盧比,5毛美金都不到。

嚮導也很好,雖然我們沒有事先講好價錢,但帶我們上山,加上兩晚在他家的住宿吃喝,也只收了我們兩人四千盧比(80美金)。不太好意思,於是多給了一千盧比的小費。

This is the jeep stop in Labdang. The community has an office nearby. They only charge 20 Rupee per person for their hard work on making roads and maintaining the shelter. Please do support them.

For my guide, even though we did not talk about price upfront, this morning he charged a very reasonable 4000 Rupees for the two of us, including brining us up there, home stay, meals and everything. So  I offered  a tip for their hard work. Make sure you can find this guide if possible. Too bad I forgot his name already 😦

121009 Labdang 17(LR)01

回札西頂的路上,佛光普照。

Beautiful lights on the way  back  to Tashiding.

121009 Labdang 2(LR)01

札西頂!Tashiding!!

關於 bella.chao
a simple wandering being on less beaten tracks in samsara

2 Responses to 錫金蓮師洞 Guru Rinpoche Caves in Sikkim

  1. Banmar Chien says:

    好殊勝的行程!

  2. IC Chao says:

    Bella,

    Do you think, I’m qualified to go there? What is the best month to go?

    Take care about yourself!!

    I.C.

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