AN ELGIN EXCLUSIVE FEATURE
Humanitarian and Actor Richard Gere visited Gangtok for a five-day tour to explore the ancient and magnificent Buddhist monasteries of Sikkim. Gere has had an interest in Buddhism since his early 20s, and has explored numerous pilgrim sites of the same all around the world. Gere has also visited locations known for Buddhist ceremonies and events in India like Gangtok and Leh.
Image by Gulf News
Gere praying with alongside a Buddhist monk.
Gere visited Gangtok in the spring season, around April of 2013. He planned to visit the Buddhist programs in Gangtok, including an empowerment prayer at the Tsuklakhang Monastery, in addition to attending a friend’s wedding.
Tsuklakhang is a very holy Buddha temple located inside the Dalai Lama temple complex. The place is serene and is surrounded by religious scriptures, paintings, and golden rolling bells. This location is perfect for you, if peace is what you are looking for; they even have a meditation room for you to find complete inner peace. Along with a meditation room, the monastery has various Buddhist idols as well. At Tsuklagkhang, Gere attended a long-life empowerment ceremony performed by Khochhen Rimpoche and Sokse Rimpoche.
Image by Telegraph India.
Richard Gere at Manan Kendra.
Gere also talked about his personal experience and journey with Buddhism at a seminar called ‘Buddhism in the West and My Personal Experience’, at Manan Kendra, Gangtok. A journey to Sikkim, a clear view of the beautiful city Gangtok, is the perfect thing for a person who is merely interested in Buddhism.
Image by Page Six.
Gere enjoying his time around a gathering of Buddhist monks prior to a prayer.
Gere has often talked about how visiting Sikkim and following Buddhism has made him a calmer person. Sikkim seems to bring the best out of everyone. If you want a getaway to become a sincerer and more modest version of yourself, a few days in Gangtok and visits to the Buddhist monasteries is the best way for you. Gere scheduled his trip in a manner that allowed him to visit a few monasteries in Gangtok, and few more in West Sikkim, within five days. “I feel very comfortable here, very relaxed, at ease as if this is a very natural place for me to be in. I have a personal commitment to come back here again and again,” said Gere in an interview about his trip.
Be it the “friend’s wedding” that Gere attended, or the willingness to visit Tsuklakhang, or explaining his spiritual journey with Buddhism; no one can ever pinpoint a single reason as to why Gere visited Gangtok, but we can analyze that this trip brought more closure, joy, peace and depth in his life.