An eloquent 9th century peace treaty between the "Kings of China and Tibet," unwinds from the center of Lhasa. "Om mani padme hum," the Tibetan Buddhist mantra (in Tibetan script on one edge) surrounds prayer wheels and monastery ornamentation.
In the old section of Lhasa, crowds of Tibetans walk through the streets following a kora, a ritual clockwise route that passes through Barkhor Square and past the Jokhang Temple. They twirl small metal prayer wheels in one hand. Other ritual trails lead a thousand feet above Sera and Dreprung Monasteries to small buildings clinging to cliff edges marked with prayer flags and incense burning shrines.