Saturday, February 23, 2008

Once in a lifetime

Letting the days go by....
Kathmandu, Nepal

And you may ask yourself
How do I work this?
And you may say to yourself
"am I right? am I wrong?"

and you may ask yourself
"My God - What have I done?"

Nothing is working. My camera's picture card, the laptop, my watch, audio recorder, cell phone - every piece of personal technology I own is, in some way, broken or dysfunctional.

The one Skype terminal in town sounds like it's coming through Peter Frampton's Vocoder (or was it a Talkbox?), and international phone lines are usually jammed.

Of course, the fact that power is OFF eight hours a day means, among lots of other things, that that's eight hours less of available fax time for the all-important fax to be transmitted from the FRRO in Delhi.

At this rate, I can only hope to be back in India in time for Tibetan Uprising Day (March 10), when a
group of Tibetans will begin a march back to Lhasa. Somehow, I am going to have to find out the origin point of the march and its planned route. For obvious reasons this is being kept somewhat secret.

This photo of the young monks listening to translation on an I-pod was taken at 2007 Spring Teachings.

In local news: three weeks in Nepal has convinced me that the elections are, once again, not going to happen as projected this coming April.

Meanwhile, back in Himachal:

The people I asked to hold my bags and reserve a room for me must be wondering where the hell I am. The phones never work here now, and they don't do email.

The picture below was taken at the Dalai Lama Temple in Dharamsala a couple years ago. The Tibetan women are performing prostrations (full-body-length prayers) in front of the main temple.

Here's a report lifted directly from about the opening days of HH Dalai Lama's Spring Teachi
ngs (aka, Where I'm Spozed To Be).

One year ago, things were so simple. How did things get so complicated?

Dharamsala, February 23: Thousands of Buddhist devotees are attending His Holiness the Dalai Lama's annual spring teachings, which began Friday at the Main Tibetan Temple (tsuglag khang).

Earlier on Thursday, the Tibetan spiritual leader gave teachings on Jataka Tales after presiding over the “Butter Lamp Festival” (Choe-nga Choepa, held on the fifteenth day or the full moon day of the first Tibetan Lunar month), which is the highlight of the Monlam Chenmo (the Great Prayer Festival). On Friday, His Holiness began his spring teachings with Dhammapada texts....

...Alongside main discourse, His Holiness has also been giving teachings on “The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa” (Mi-la-ras-pa’I gur-’bum).

Below is a full text found on the Dalai Lama’s website following the first day of the spring teachings:
The two texts His Holiness the Dalai Lama is to teach belong to the Six Major Texts of the Kadampa Tradition: the Jatakas and Udarnavaga (Dhammapada); Asanga’s Bodhisattva Grounds and Maitreya’s Ornament of Sutras; finally, Shantideva’s Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life and Compendium of Trainings.

His Holiness clarifies that his approach to presenting the Buddhadharma is first to describe its benefit and second how to put it into practice.

All sentient beings yearn for happiness, but not all know how to achieve it. Clearly, material development counts for a lot, but not if it increases your anxiety.

More important is having a calm mind. Recently doctors have demonstrated that medication alone does not affect a cure; calmness of mind also has a role to play.

Cultivating love and affection, warm-heartedness in our relations with others is a source of inner calm.

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