Sunday, December 12, 2010

Too Much to Say

It's been a week and a lifetime. Another Sunday. . . Streets filled with color = from the bright blue of the Sikhs' headwraps, to the glittery gold and bright red wear of the women in attendance at the Hindu wedding... the burgundy and gold of the Tibetan monks, the colors on everyone, everywhere..... no NYC hip black here. 
The third generation Tibetans and younger Indians, especially the males, wear more muted colors. . . those distressed jeans are making their way here, as are some pretty stylin' male haircuts.
But that's all about superficiality today.... partly because I've been in conversation again with the young Tibetan man whose only child, three and a half year old Tenzin, is very sick. But her story and his story are a whole other blog.... and that has to wait for a different time.

And so does the tale of our meeting with Jetsumma Tenzin Palmo... highest placed western female Buddhist anywhere. Stunning. I actually understand some things now. So much more later. I have to go back and eavesdrop on an interesting conversation.

And I have to wonder how and why so many  used Playboy sweatshirts take the route to India.  Love

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Wherever you go, there you are

Sunday...a decidedly different day in Dharmasala. Saturday is a school day, so Sunday things are wide open. All of a sudden, those pre-adolescent boys are on the street, walking the way all gaggles of young people walk...Also noticed, for the first time, young Indian males walking the 'wrong' (not sure that is the right word) way around the Korah with Bollywood music coming from their phones.. A variation on chanting, I suppose.
The Untouchables, or at least those with noticeable disease, maiming, or partial hands or feet,  begging are pretty gentle and non= aggressive at all. Just profoundly needy but seemed cared for, in some primitive way, by members of the community.
But I had myself a totally me, American moment this morning after my early walk, peacefully spinning the prayer wheels along the path. I love spinning them after some robust strong person has started the spin. Somehow the whirl makes me feel my prayers are really entering and joining the prayer messages within the wheels. I always feel connected after that process. Nice, so nice.
Sat in the sun at a nice cafe and ordered a honey-ginger-lemon tea. What could be nicer?  Well... not the tall, thin American woman with two dogs who was sitting next to me. Maybe it was the fact that she was eating ten mo-mos and still had a Barbie-like waist that set me off....Maybe it was her loud voice on the phone to her friend...Maybe it was her loud voice on the phone telling her friend that her friend's dog was being 'so very good' even though she is in heat. Does being good in the dog world mean running in circles attracting every male dog in the vicinity to her body? I don't know.
For some reason, Ms. Dog Owner and Friend's Dog Sitter joins a couple behind her. He is Indian-American and she is Australian. Do they know they are about to learn all about Enlightenment from Ms. Manhattan (couldn't you feel it coming) who has been living here for three years? Oh, she does have to fly back to NYC for a wedding in a couple of weeks, but she will be back Goes to Dharma classes every morning. Has learned about 50 Tibetan words...Is full of 'As His Holiness' says...... It's Buddhism 101, and makes me realize just how very much all our students know about Buddhsim and Tibet in India. They could be giving this lecture/conversation.
She goes on...I am getting irritated, very irritated. her voice drives me crazy. I know just as much as she does. How very Enlightened of me.
She talks, the dogs whirl, now they are whirling around me, two males trying to get on the female. They get closer, knocking my coat off the chair. She continues talking about the long path, never-ending, to Enlightenment. The dogs brush against me and knock over the light fixture, bringing the young waiter over to try and fix it. He suggests I move and apologizes for the broken light fixture. She talks...doesn't miss a beat on her revelations about Enlightenment as her two dogs, esp. the one in heat, cause utter chaos. She is relaxed, ready to move on. I am beside myself. Wherever I go, there I am. Do you think there is any hope?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Know Thyself Once Again

Yesterday I surrendered once again, to my need for some creature comforts and we moved back to the Chonor House,
a comfortable guest house whose profits support the Norbulinka Institute. Neat and clean. Supplies toilet paper in the clean bathroom, That has an enclosed shower. Sure it takes thirty minutes for the water to heat up and it runs all hot then all cold and again. Love the hot. Sure beats the open shower with leaking toilet at last place. felt guilty for a while because the amazing DU students take it all in stride..no moaning, no whining. But add another 45-50 yeArs to their lives and maybe they will be a tad less resilient. I am in awe of those young women washing their long hair in cold water, pinning it up, throwing on their coats and heading out the door in the early morn to do their service. I was once like that.
Plagued today by the 'unexamined life is not worth living' concept. This examined life raises far more questions than I ever imagined.
Have to head Down the unpaved gentle hill before the sun goes down. Stunning mountain views in the sunshine. Immense power and spirituality walking the Korar, path around the temple. Xo

Friday, December 3, 2010

Pilgrims and Purpose

From Dharmasala, India to Mexico City, Mexico pilgrims make their way for various reasons.
I've been thinking of our Winter Pilgrim, Ann Sieben, hoping she is well and healthy on her pilgrimage. And looking at the various Russians walking with pilgrim badges around their necks, one can't help but reflect on how the Tibetan Buddhism survived in Russia, with the Siberian experience sandwiched in-between. But people around the world have such spirit, such tenacity....such willingness to go on. The Dalai Lama's teachings ended officially last night, and I was fortunate enough to sit in a wireless cafe having dinner by myself last night surrounded by animated conversations in Russian. Monks and non-monks alike so engaged, laughing at one moment, then loud debate, and equally loud silences. I understood none of it, but ate my noodle soup and Indian bread slowly, sipped the honey-ginger-lemon tea as if I might never have another drink in my life. Sounds of conversation of people who have spent four full days and nights listening to the teaching of the most revered man in the world - a man speaking to their hearts and souls about compassion. Did it matter that I understood one world of what was being said? I think not. I was just part of a communal energy that made my heart sing....
I found myself only capable of deleting e-mails (mostly unread misc.) from my new and fabulous IPad, but couldn't divert my energy enough to actually rad an e-mail and respond. Just too caught up in the energy of the other. More later...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Intense . . .

It's been so long since I've been on this blog I hardly remember who I am. But we are in Dharmasala with lots going on. Over 900 Russians came into the village for teachings by the Dalai lama this week. We had great seats at yesterday morning's teachings, but have not gone back since. We listen to the translator through a transistor radio and it's just not easy getting the message. The Dalai Lama has this wonderful voice, full of intonations, and it is so much more interesting to listen to the sound of his voice - even though there is no way to get meaning in that way. He also chuckles and laughs a lot when he talks and the translators do not do so. It was an amazing event, with people secring their spots 2 days ahead of time with slots of cardboard taped to the concrete floor, or with an old blanket thrown down. Everything stayed in place, or so it seemed, with noone arguing or complaining about pieces being moved. Hard to imagine such a thing could happen, Must be that it was the Buddhist Temple setting that encouraged people to be so respectful.
Somehow monks managed to disperse butter tea and Tibetan bread among the whole crowd during the teaching, and at lunch time big pails of soups and foods were available to everyone. Most people had brought little plastic cups for the foods....ages across the spectrum and national and ethnic groups galore.
But my time is running out on the computer. It is with great amusement that I sit here clicking away, right next to a monk furiously clicking away on his Facebook page. Love the global world.