By Xinhua writers Li Na, Yu Zheng
XINING, June 23 (Xinhua) -- Gonpo Tashi, a nephew of the Dalai Lama, has patronized for at least three decades the birthplace of the Tibetan spiritual leader at Hong'ai Village on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.
"I prepare this room for the Dalai Lama in the hope of his back home," said the 65-year-old stocky Tibetan who showed Xinhua reporters a dark, 12-square meters chamber with a richly-embroidered cushion on the throne that has been elegantly prepared for its supposed master.
The chamber is on the top floor of a two-storey wooden house. Outside the chamber hangs a giant photo of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso as well as enshrines six Buddha statues and a yellow monk robe that Tenzin Gyatso used to wear.
Gonpo meticulously dusts off furniture and ritual utensils every morning and dawn.
"I believe that his soul has already been here, though his human body hasn't yet," Gonpo said.
Gonpo's aspiration reminded people of the late state leader Mao Zedong's call for the return of the fled Dalai Lama. But the hope seems narrower as the Dalai Lama was denounced by the Tibet Autonomous Regional Government as a "politician in monk's robes" who is trying to split the country.
Gonpo built a bright yellow prayer hall on the original place where the Dalai Lama was born. The clean but thrifty residential court, consisting of the prayer hall and a two-storey wooden house, faces 4,000 meter-high snowy Tsongkha Gyiri, a widely-deemed sacred mountain which brought about good fengshui, or fortunate geomancy, to the family of the boy who was later believed the incarnate Dalai Lama.
"In sunny days, Tsongkha Gyiri looks like a sleeping Buddha on a lotus," Gonpo said, "Our village sits on the flower plate, which indicates good fengshui."
Standing in front of his house, Gonpo pointed at a white pagoda nearby. "It's famous in religion," he said. "Due to transport inconvenience, the Thirteenth Dalai Lama rode a mule on his trip from Lhasa to the Kumbum Monastery, then from Kumbum to Labrang. He stopped over, just in front of us, to take a long break. It was said that he made his determination at the sight of this holy mountain. He hoped that his reincarnation should be found nearby."