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Photo © Thomas Laird, image from: Ian Baker and Thomas Laird. The Dalai Lama's Secret Temple. New York: Thames & Hudson, 2000.

Study and chanting of texts, the rigors of yogic austerity, a sprinkling of sanctified water, a coin in a begging bowl, a day or a lifetime as a monk—there’s no end to Buddhist practices. Good works accumulate merit and directly benefit the practitioner’s body and pysche.