Golden deer on the roof of the Jokhang, Lhasa
Golden deer & the 'wheel of the Dharma', Tibet.
It is common to see this image on Buddhist temples in Tibet and elsewhere. It is a Buddhist symbol recalling the first sermon of the historical Buddha at the deer-park of Sarnath, near Varanasi in India. This statue is on the roof of the Jokhang temple in Lhasa. In this photo, the Potala palace is seen in the distance.
On becoming enlightened, the Buddha went to seek previous companions who had deserted him. These ascetics had abandoned the Buddha for rejecting their extreme practices of mortification. Instead the Buddha sought a more moderate 'Middle Way' to enlightenment.
Arriving at the deer park of Sarnath he taught his first sermon, outlining the 'Eightfold Path', the basic teachings of Buddhism. This teaching is described as 'turning the wheel of the dharma.'
The deer and the eight-spoke wheel symbolically represent this event.
Next month: The pathway to hell!
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The principals of Footprints
Tours are practicing Zen Buddhists whose interest in Buddhism was stimulated
by living with the Sherpa people in the Everest region of Nepal.
Our travels in Tibet and Nepal are enhanced by these beliefs.
Our next trek into Tibet and Lhasa is part of our tour to the Kyirong region of Tibet.
Preceeding the Kyirong trek we shall be in Nepal on a botanical trek to
the rhododendron of the Solu regon.
return to the photo page  from which this account originates.
revision 18 Mar 2001