Thursday, December 16, 2010

Nepal Air Crash: Maratika Pilgrims Killed

Pilgrims at Maratika

A small Twin Otter aircraft operated by Nepalese carrier Tara Air, subsidiary of Yeti Air, crashed on Wednesday, killing all on board. The crash site was located at Okhaldhunga on Thursday morning. All the passengers were returning from a trip to Halesi Mahadev (we know it as Maratika) -- a popular and important pilgrimage site in Khotang district associated with Padmasambhava and Mandarava -- when their aircraft lost contact with the ground five minutes after take-off.

Maratika is often profoundly linked with the concept of longevity arising from practice associated with Mandarava; thus, this tragedy is -- in my own view, rather stupidly -- being regarded by some as an extremely negative and highly specific omen of disruption within a particular practice lineage.

This is no time for divisive speculation.

That this tragedy occurs proximate to their pilgrimage is disturbing, but please understand the merit of their act of pilgrimage is undeniably powerful and complete, and the blessings of Padmasambhava will undoubtedly flow in a rain of benefit to them. It is the deepest prayer of our heart that the deceased immediately arrive at the Copper Colored Mountain, as we have great faith they shall.

Early reports indicate 18 of the 22 dead are Bhutanese, and 1 American. The King of Bhutan has offered 1,000 butterlamps, and prayers are underway at 20 temples. Bhutanese and American officials are at the scene, inclusive of the Bhutanese Cabinet Secretary and nine members of his team. The bodies are being cared for with great respect by Bhutanese Buddhist monks, assisted by doctors.

We extend many prayers for the living and the dead, and express deep love for our brothers and sisters in Bhutan, and Nepal.

UPDATED: The American Embassy at Kathmandu confirms one deceased United States citizen, male, not identified pending notification of kin.


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6 reader comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this and your wonderfully sensitive response.

Anonymous said...

Naming any air transportation service "Yeti Air" would seem to invite disaster.

Wangmo said...

Thank you so much for the really kind and helpful way you handled this. I think it makes this easier to deal with, it really does, and thank you for your prayers.

Anonymous said...

Better than offer butter lamps, people should do something to improve the position of women in that area (geographical, religious) --- Mandarava is turning her back on all of them over there.
It is obvious that people with power, like kings and lamas andsoforth are the appropriate persons to make these changes about.

Editor said...

I don't know that divisive speech is warranted in this situation, you know? The Bhutanese people, in particular, clearly understand the King's offering of 1,000 butterlamps. That was precisely the correct thing to do at the moment, but by no means was that the extent of his response. Bhutan is not a neurotic country like you are used to in the West. As to the position of women in Bhutan, it seems obvious to me that you have never been to Bhutan. Please do not divide your world this way, but strive to have kind thoughts toward everyone, and in particular, send prayers to the victims of this tragedy and their families.

cloudhand said...

thanks, Tenpa-la.