The Buddha said:
This existence of ours is as transient as autumn clouds
To watch the birth and death of beings is like looking at the movements of a dance.
A lifetime is like a flash of lightning in the sky,
Rushing by, like a torrent down a steep mountain.

THE ONLY THING WE REALLY HAVE IS NOWNESS, IS NOW.

What the caterpillar perceives as the end, to the butterfly is just the beginning.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Why We Should Understand the Death Process



UNDERSTANDING THE PROCESS OF DEATH
This video teaching by Lama Yeshe is from a weekend seminar on death, intermediate state and rebirth that Lama Yeshe taught in Geneva Switzerland in September 1983. This was the last teaching Lama gave in the West; he passed away some five months later. These teachings were edited into the free book entitled "Life, Death and After Death"

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Audiobook The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

LISTEN to The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche HERE

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Monday, 3 March 2014

NEW: 21 Days in India

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Death Course with Shelly Kagan

"There is one thing I can be sure of: I am going to die. But what am I to make of that fact? This course will examine a number of issues that arise once we begin to reflect on our mortality. The possibility that death may not actually be the end is considered. Are we, in some sense, immortal? Would immortality be desirable? Also a clearer notion of what it is to die is examined. What does it mean to say that a person has died? What kind of fact is that? And, finally, different attitudes to death are evaluated. Is death an evil? How? Why? Is suicide morally permissible? Is it rational? How should the knowledge that I am going to die affect the way I live my life?"


Saturday, 3 August 2013

On death and bereavement

Ven. Chodron speaks on how to support our loved ones through the dying process while managing our grief, and how to prepare for our own death.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

You are It


What comes, will go 
what is found, will be lost again...
but what you are is beyond coming and going 
and beyond description. 
You are It. 
♥ 
 Rumi

Monday, 3 June 2013

Friday, 3 May 2013

Finding deathlessness

Is it possible to find that which is undying, here now? 
While your body is warm and you have life,
will you find that which is deathless?
Know this: 
Your present conditions and environment
are ideal for consciousness to discover and reveal itself. 

Mooji

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Numerology & Synchronicy

Today, the 3rd day of the 3rd month of 2013 (2+0+1=3), is the 3rd anniversary of Alan's death. Once again, just as 3 years ago, the 28/02/2013 can be transformed into 333.

  • This year, the day of miracles fell on the 25/02/2013, which can be condensed into 33. 
  • This blog is now 3 years old
  • I'm now on the 3rd year of my BD Teacher Training, which I decided to do 3 days before Alan died. I started 9 (3+3+3) months later, on module 3.
  • Remembering the night Alan was rushed into hospital, there were 3 of us in the waiting room. 
  • During the following 3 weeks I received a lot of help and support from 3 couples (my parents, Simon & Branwen, and Jan & Tim) 
  • On the day of his funeral, Alan's wife, sister and daughter (3 women) sat on the same bench.
  • Three women organised the funeral ceremony - his wife designed the ceremony, Janie officiated the service, and Jan organised the reunion afterwards, where 3 musicians offered to play.
  • Three "Gifts from God" - Jane1 offered music, Jane2 offered a tribute, Jane3 who worked at the funerary agency
  • Jan managed 3 things (keeping people informed of the funeral arrangements, organising the reunion afterwards, and the 7th day prayer/mantra reminders)
  • The service included 3 prayers and 3 chants (one of which was the Chenrezig mantra, which was repeated 21 (2+1=3) times).
  • There were 3 objects inside the coffin (the Heart Sutra, a Buddha image, and a Crunchie bar).
  • I became the subject of 3 women's displaced pain.
  • I was supported by 3 men in 3 different areas (emotional support, probate, and legal advice).
  • 3 of Alan's students decided to leave the Natural Way tai Chi to form their own school
  • Alan's ashes were finally released on the 12/01/2012 (the day he would have celebrated his birthday), and which again can be condensed to 333.
  • Alan and I met on our way to India, where we spent 3 weeks at Drepung Monastery.

This is what I wrote 3 tears ago 
(I meant 3 years ago, but will leave the typo / Freudian slip)

Alan was taken to hospital on the Buddha's Day of Miracles. He died 3 days later, on the 3rd day of the 3rd month, of 2010 (2+0+1+0=3). 
Alan's mother comes from a Catholic background. The number 333 expresses the principal mysteries of the Catholic faith which are: (1) The Unity and the Trinity of God, (2) the incarnation, the passion and death, and the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Symbolism of the number 333: the first divine man, the mystery of the unity of God, the two natures, that of the divine and the human, the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity (the 3 Kayas, in Buddhism?). 
In Numerology, 333 is a sign that Ascended Masters are Around You, working closely with you.

I also noticed that this blog has now 39 published posts (3+9 = 12 and 1+2 = 3). Looking at the clock, I notice that it is exactly 12:33, which can be reduced to 333.

And watching Noctuaries, a moving documentary exploring bereavement through dreams, images and memories, I noticed that grandad is now living in a care home, on room 33.

Everything comes to pass

Everything you see, comes to pass.
Know that you are not that.
All things that are heard, come to pass.
Know that you are not that.
All things that are touched, come to pass.
Know that you are not that.
All things that are tasted, come to pass,
Know you are not that.
All things that are thought of, come to pass,
Know that you are not that.
All things, which are imagined, come to pass.
Know that you are not that.
All things that are learned, come to pass,
Know you are not that.
All that is manifest comes to pass,
Know you are not that.
All things of the mind come to pass,
Know that you are not that.
That which does not come to pass,
but inside which all phenomena come to pass,
know That - to be yourSelf.

~ Mooji

India, 28th of February 2013

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Griefwalker



"This documentary introduces us to Stephen Jenkinson, the leader of a palliative care counselling team at Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital. Through his daytime job, he has been at the deathbed of well over 1,000 people. What he sees over and over, he says, is "a wretched anxiety and an existential terror" even when there is no pain. Indicting the practice of palliative care itself, he has made it his life's mission to change the way we die - to turn the act of dying from denial and resistance into an essential part of life."

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Monday, 3 December 2012

You are not just the drop in the ocean.
You are the mighty ocean in the drop.
Rumi

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

What is to be feared?


Death is considered to be a traumatic experience, but understand what happens. That which has been born, the knowledge "I Am," will end. That knowledge which was limited by this body will then become unlimited, so what is to be feared? ~ Nisargadatta

Friday, 3 August 2012

Henry Purcell: When I am laid in earth





Recitative
Thy hand, Belinda, darkness shades me,
On thy bosom let me rest,
More I would, but Death invades me;
Death is now a welcome guest.
Aria
When I am laid, am laid in earth, 
May my wrongs create
No trouble, no trouble in thy breast;
Remember me, remember me, but ah! forget my fate.
Remember me, but ah! forget my fate.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

This momentary life of ours


“…Perhaps this momentary life of ours is only the light that divides our infinite origin from our infinite end. ” ~ Juan Ramón Jiménez

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Thursday, 3 May 2012

'Consciousness and Dying' Interview


Author of several books including 'The Art Of Dying,' 'The Truth In The Light' and 'The Hidden Door,' neuro-psychiatrist Peter Fenwick talks about his research into End of Life Experiences and deathbed phenomena and what these mean in the greater picture of who we really are.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Helping After Death

“In Tibet we say that just as it is the nature of fire to burn and of water to quench thirst, the nature of the Buddhas is to be present as soon as anyone invokes them, so infinite is their compassionate desire to help all sentient beings. Don’t for one moment imagine that it would be less effective for you to invoke the truth to help your dead friend than if a “holy man” prays for them. Because you are close to the person who has died, the intensity of your love and the depth of your connection will give your invocation an added power. Call out to them, and the Buddhas will answer you.”

Sogyal Rinpoche
The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
Ch 19 “Helping After Death”

Friday, 3 February 2012

TOP 5 REGRETS OF THE DYING

Bronnie Ware, who worked for many years in palliative care, tells about the most common five regrets:

1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

2. I wish I didn't work so hard.

3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose happiness.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Ashes to Ashes


ashes to ashes
once living, now dead
nothing but a memory

***

ashes to ashes
who I was
I no longer am

**
dust to dust
I am not

*
only eternal becoming

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Alan’s first T’ai Chi book

By a twist of fate, I became a “copyright owner.” That means I can give you the freedom to share and to remix the written material contained in Alan Peck’s first T’ai Chi book as long as you attribute the work and share-alike. As U.G. Krishnamurti once said, “you are free to reproduce, distribute, interpret, misinterpret, distort, garble, do what you like… without my consent or the permission of anybody.”

Introduction to Tai Chi, Alan Peck

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Kahlil Gibran, On Death

Then Almitra spoke, saying, We would ask now of death.

And he said:

You would know the secret of death. But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heath of life? The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light. If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life. For life and death are one, even as the river and sea are one.

In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond; and like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring. Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.

Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honor. Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king? Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun? And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing. And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb. And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Joan Halifax: Being With Dying

Tami Simon speaks with Joan Halifax, who is an anthropologist, Buddhist teacher, and the author of The Human Encounter with Death, co-written with Dr. Stanislav Graf. In 1994, Joan created a project called “Being with Dying” to help health care professionals learn how to care for dying patients in a compassionate, mindful fashion. Here, Joan speaks about the powerful insights on living that she has learned from her years of caring for the dying—including the greatest gift that we can give another person.

Listen now (67 minutes)

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Death and caring for the dying

Ven. Tenzin Kacho teaches this retreat on death and caring for the dying. She draws on her experiences as a hospice chaplain working with people going through the death process to share the Dharma.


Death and Caring for the Dying 2
Death and Caring for the Dying 3
Death and Caring for the Dying 4
Death and Caring for the Dying 5

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Helping Tibetan Children in India

I am helping Tibetan Children in India in memory of Alan.
Find out more on my JustGiving page.
Thank you

Friday, 3 June 2011

When I am lying on my deathbed




One regret, dear world,
That I am determined not to have
When I am lying on my deathbed
Is that I did not kiss you enough.

~ Hafiz

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Be a light unto yourself


When Buddha was on his death bed he noticed his young disciple Anan was weeping.

'Why are you weeping, Anan?' he asked.

'Because the light of the world is about to be extinguished and we will be in darkness.'

The Buddha summoned up all his remaining energy and spoke what were to be his final words on earth:

'Anan, Anan, be a light unto yourself.'

Sunday, 3 April 2011

INDIAN POEM

"This day is a special day, it is yours.
Yesterday slipped away, it cannot be filled anymore with meaning.
About tomorrow nothing is known.
But this day, today, is yours, make use of it.
Today you can make someone happy.
Today you can help another.
This day is a special day, it is yours."

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Time to say goodbye



I love you and now I let you go
knowing there's no coming and going
knowing there's no separation

Thank you for teaching me
how to dance with the wind

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Free online course on Death

Death with Shelly Kagan

There is one thing I can be sure of: I am going to die. But what am I to make of that fact? This course will examine a number of issues that arise once we begin to reflect on our mortality. The possibility that death may not actually be the end is considered. Are we, in some sense, immortal? Would immortality be desirable? Also a clearer notion of what it is to die is examined. What does it mean to say that a person has died? What kind of fact is that? And, finally, different attitudes to death are evaluated. Is death an evil? How? Why? Is suicide morally permissible? Is it rational? How should the knowledge that I am going to die affect the way I live my life?

Click HERE.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Memories...


Alan Peck, Mind, Body & Spirit Festival, 1982

Friday, 3 December 2010

Letter from Gya House

[click on image to enlarge]

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Tribute to Alan

Tai Chi Chuan & Oriental Arts
The Journal of the Tai Chi Union for Great Britain
No 35 Autumn 2010

[to read in full screen click on images twice ]





Thursday, 4 November 2010

Alan, the Chinese Herbalist

Although Alan dedicated most of his life to T'ai Chi, Tibetan Buddhism and Chinese Medicine, his love of art never waned. During the final years of his life his love-affair with cartoons, comics and digital art forms seemed stronger than ever.


This new blog shows how Alan used original mnemonic drawings to help him remember the Chinese Herbal Patent Formulas. May it be of help to all of you who are attempting the same!

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Friday, 3 September 2010

Prepare to Die!!



This is something Alan did not long before he died. He loved 3D arts: comics, manga, digital sculpture, animation, you name it! Alan also liked the idea of this type of reminders; remembering death was one of his daily Buddhist practices.

If you're curious and want to find out more about this topic, the book Preparing for Death in Buddhism can be read online. Just click on the title.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Alan's notes: I am going to die today

[click on image to enlarge]

Saturday, 3 July 2010

The uncertainty of the hour of your death


Planning for the future is like going fishing in a dry gulch;
Nothing ever works out as you wanted,
so give up all your schemes and ambitions.
If you have got to think about something—
Make it the uncertainty of the hour of your death.
Gyalse Rinpoche

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Like a shadow...


In the Vajra (Diamond) Sutra, the Buddha taught:

"All conditioned dharmas, are like a dream, like an illusion, like a bubble, like a shadow, like a dewdrop, like a lightning flash; you should contemplate them thus."

Monday, 3 May 2010

Donations in appreciation of Alan's life


Donations of over £1,100 were collected for Gyakham Khangtsen in Drepung Loseling Monastery, from where Alan's Buddhist teachers came, and where Alan stayed for 3 weeks in January 2008. Thank you so much for your generosity.

See also: letter from the monks at Gyakham Khangtsen

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

A Tribute to Alan Peck

It is with the most profound sadness that we have to tell you about the death of our dear friend and teacher Alan Peck who died on Wednesday evening, 3rd March 2010.

The premature passing of such a gentle man, a sincere practitioner and lineage holder is an immense loss. All those who had the privilege to study and push hands with Alan had no doubt of the depth of his commitment, the level of his understanding and achievements.

His gentle teaching opened the door to the wonders of T'ai Chi for many hundreds of students he taught for over thirty years.

His advanced students will continue to teach the “Natural Way School of T'ai Chi” which he named in honour of Dr. Chi Chiang Tao and, to the best of their ability, pass on the wonders of this lineage to future generations.

OM MANE PADME HUNG

Saturday, 19 January 2008

India, Day 21 - Journey back

We ended up staying 3 extra nights in Bangalore waiting for an available flight. With help, I managed to get a message to my family. The Hotel we were all sent to was luxurious, and I very much enjoyed the opportunity to relax for a little while.

Alan and I sat together on the airplane, kissing and snuggling despite the odd looks we were given. After exchanging contact details, we said goodbye at Heathrow airport and took different coaches to different towns.

Thursday, 17 January 2008

India, Day 20 - Monks' Kitchen, last day in Mundgod, journey to Bangalore

Thursday, 17th January

Last day at the Tibetan settlement. Geshe-la invited Alan and I for a walk around camp 2. First, he led us to the monastery's kitchen, and I was pleased to have a second chance to see the kitchen.

A team of monks was busy making bread

and Tibetan tea was brewing in a massive pan.

Twenty monks sat - some stood - around a long rectangular table 

stretching out the dough in a circular manner

whilst a group of seven monks stood around the rectangular baking stone baking the flatbreads.

I then had another opportunity to have another look at the kitchen utensils 

and all the huge pans, cleaned and lined on the floor ready to be used.

Afterwards, Geshe-la took us to the courtyard where he used to practice his debate skills.

A monk was quietly and peacefully brooming the grounds.

 It reminded me of a story about the way cleaning our environment can be transformed into a powerful meditation. Thubten Chodron shared it it as follows,

They always tell this story about one disciple at the time of the Buddha. He was very, very dumb. He had one teacher, a non-Buddhist teacher who was trying to teach him two syllables, ‘Om Bum.’ When he remembered ‘Om,’ he forgot ‘Bum,’ and when he remembered ‘Bum,’ he forgot ‘Om.’ Eventually the teacher got fed up and kicked the student out. This guy was just completely overwhelmed. “I can’t learn anything. I am so dumb, my teacher kicked me out!” He was crying and crying and crying. 
Somebody brought him to the Buddha. The Buddha, because he had so many skilful means, gave this guy a meditation practice suitable for him. He gave him a broom and had him sweep the courtyard in front of the temple where the monks and nuns were doing their prayers. He had to sweep one side of the courtyard and then he would do the other side. When he swept the other side, the side that was first swept became dirty so he had to go back and sweep that again, so he spent all his time going back and forth cleaning both sides of the courtyard. The Buddha told him as he was cleaning, to say, “Clean the dust, clean the stain.” This man went all day long with his broom saying, “Clean the dust, clean the stain,” as he was sweeping. 
At some point, through the force of offering service with faith and devotion to the Buddha and to the Sangha, and through the force of continually thinking about what does “clean the dust, clean the stain” mean, he realized that it means to clean the two levels of obscurations. The first one being the afflicted obscurations – the ignorance, attachment, and anger – and the karma that cause rebirth? These are considered the dirt, so you clean that. “Clean the stain” refers to the dualistic appearance of phenomena. He began to understand exactly what the obstacles of the path were and he began to understand the value of the wisdom realizing emptiness…. 

Back at Gyakham Khangtsen, we had lunch and got ready to go. As we were about to leave, road closure news arrived. Local communities were protesting, blocking the roads. Anxious that we wouldn't be able to get to the train, we decided to get a taxi to Hubli Airport and fly to Bangalore. 

The drive through unpaved country lanes, some of which also blocked by large groups of Indians, was a nerve recking adventure. I sat quietly on the back trying to focus on the breath and my mantra meditation, noticing the mind becoming agitated about the possibility of missing the flight and not arriving on the agreed date, knowing I had no means to get in touch with my son's dad.  When we eventually got to Hubli Airport I was releaved to find out that there were seats still available in the next flight and fortunately Geshe-la had enough ruppees to help me buy a ticket.

When we arrived at Bangalore Airport it was still day light. Tired of last minute changes, and feeling exhausted and pre-menstrual, I just wanted to stay put at the airport until check in time. However, my companions had other plans. They wanted to get a taxi into town and find a nice restaurant. I was concerned we'd get stuck in traffic and miss the airplain, and wanted to stay by myself at the airport. This proved quite difficult, as they simply refused to leave me alone at the airport. I tried to reassure them that I would be fine, that they had no reason to worry, but they weren't having it. If I didn't join them, then nobody would go. 

Under pressure, I finally gave in. We called a taxi, and ended up having a meal at a restaurant somewhere in town. I didn't feel as safe in Bangalore as I had felt at the Tibetan settlement. Never mind, at least I had a delicious meal, which I'm glad I did, because when we got back to the airport our flight seemed to have disappeared and information was not forthcoming. We were up all night, waiting, in vain... It was already morning when we were told that the flight had been cancelled, and we were all sent to a hotel nearby. 

Continues here.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

India, Day 19 - Nechung, final teachings and haystacks

Wednesday, 16th January

I woke up with deep, resonant sounds coming from Drepung Deyang Monastery, and immediately sensed that something was about to happen. The monks were chanting and playing ritual music with traditional Tibetan instruments. I could hear the "earth-shaking bass tones" of the dungchen long horns, accompanied by cymbals, and the trumpet-like sounds of the gyalings and the ceremonial puja drums, each instrument representing a different offering (the drum, for example, representing a dharma offering, the bell, wisdom, and so on). The monks continued to chant, and the morning birds joined them, creating an other-wordly atmosphere.



I got dressed as quickly as I could, ran down the stairs and out of Gyakham Khangtsen straight into Deyang Monastery. Not many people were there, probably because the ceremony hadn't been publicly announced, so I could sit quite near the shrine, where the kuten (medium, "physical basis," person/body that the spirit manifests in) sat surrounded by monks, the assistants standing around him, others sitting together on the floor invoking Nechung's spirit with their chants and instruments. Sitting so close, I could see the medium's ritual costume, described in detail by Pearlman (2002:p.94-95) as follows,
"On formal occasions, the Kuten is dressed in an elaborate costume consisting of several layers of clothing topped by a highly ornate robe of golden silk brocade, which is covered with ancient designs in red and blue and green and yellow [colours traditionally subscribed to the Mahabhuta]. On his chest he wears a circular mirror which is surrounded by clusters of turquoise and amethyst, its polished steel flashing with the Sanskrit mantra corresponding to Dorje Drakden. Before the proceedings begin, he also puts on a sort of harness, which supports four flags and three victory banners. Altogether, this outfit weighs more than seventy pounds and the medium, when not in trance, can hardly walk in it." 
Eventually, the medium went into trance. His arms, hands, and legs began to shake. The music stopped. As the trance deepened, the assistants placed the heavy headress and fastened it tightly on his head. It is said to weigh 30 pounds. He was now possessed by the Nechung Oracle, and will not remember a thing once the spirit leaves his body.

Suddenly, he raised from the chair, his face contorted, and began to make prostrations in what seemed like a dance. Back on his sit, he started to make strange hissing, snake like sounds, which only the few monks around him could understand and translate. These special monks immediately took notes of the oracles' messages, which were kept secret.

Once the message was recorded, the Oracle threw blessed grains to the crowd of Tibetans, which took it as a sign to quickly push their way forward to receive his blessings and the red scarves for good fortune. I joined them and went through the experience of being in his close proximity for a second time, now in a much more intimate environment, as Deyang Monastery is much smaller than the New Assembly Hall.


Last day of teachings by the Dalai lama

When I eventually got back to Gyakham Khangsten, still shaken by the experience, everybody was already gone. I was late for the Dalai lama's teachings, so I rushed to the temple.  It was His Holiness' last day in Mundgod, and the last chance to hear his teachings. The Assembly Hall was absolutely packed, and I couldn't find Alan or anyone from the group of Westerners staying at Gyakham Khangsten, so I squeezed my way in and sat with the Tibetans.



One of the women sitting near me asked me to take a photo of her, which I did. This seemed to please her and a lot of her friends, who kept smiling and making eye contact with me. One of the women gave me her hat to try it on.

Haystacks and Palmtrees...
In the afternoon Alan and I walked to the haystacks and sat underneath the palm trees by the swimming pool. 








Walk to the swimming pool. Haystacks, palm trees - hope we can go again and take pictures. Oracle. Nechung. Photographs of monks. [from Alan's travel diary]

Continues here.


Tuesday, 15 January 2008

India, Day 18 - Serkong, Zhong, Ling Rinpoche, Oracle

Tuesday, 15th January

Innauguration of Drepung Monastery's Deyang Monastic College. Waited 3 hrs in sweltering heat. Saw HH quite close. [from Alan's travel diary]


Deyang Monastery was packed full and many monks had no other option but to sit outside on the floor. 

Although the event was not open to the general public, we managed to get in and join the monks as they waited for the Dalai Lama's arrival.



Geshe Damcho and Donde-la walked by. Afterwards, we all had lunch at the house, and I decided to join a small group and go to Camp 1.


We walked to the main road,

past the southern indian beggars gathered in groups by the road side

and got a taxi to Lama Camp 1, where we saw the stupas (chorten)

and several other buildings, 

some with eyecatching flags waving in the wind,
others with gates covered in colouful banners with welcome messages to the Dalai Lama,

and decorated with the 8 auspicious signs - a conch shell, a lotus, wheel, parasol, endless knot, pair of golden fishes, a victory banner and a treasure vase.

We found our way to Serkong Rinpoche, which I was delighted, as I was keen to make an offering as requested by Alex Berzin.

There he was, the reincarnation of one of my teachers' teacher. Serkong Rinpoche's energy was indescribable, one really had to be there to sense it! I was moved to tears, and all I wanted to do was apologize for not having realized who he was. Alex Berzin reassured me. "Sometimes it happens," he said, "that seeing a great lama triggers all sorts of unexplainable emotional responses. Don't worry about it."

Afterwards we headed to Zong Rinpoche's residence at lama camp 1, 
a beautiful white house surrounded by trees and several plants,

where we saw the shrine with his remains

and met his reincarnation, a young monk who spoke excellent English.

Later, with a larger group, we visited Ling Rinpoche, recognised in 1987 by the Dalai Lama as the reincarnation of his predecessor Thupten Lungtok Namgyal Thinley. He was only 2 years old when this happened. We all sat in the waiting room for a while; it reminded me of a dentist's waiting room, with several magazines on display to ease the boredom of waiting.

Ling Rinpoche had been found at an orphanage in north India when he was recognised as the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama's senior tutor. I didn't dare to take a photo (the one above was found on the internet).

 After the visit to Ling Rinpoche the group dispersed, 

and I walked back towards the main road,

past the market stalls where Indian people sold fruit and vegetables,

all the way back to Gyakham Khangsten, where Ven. Geshe Ngawang Phende, the residential teacher of the Lam Rim Buddhist Centre in South Africa,

was chatting to an Italian nun on the long balcony up in the first floor.

Meeting the Nechung Kuten
Later in the day, we finally had the opportunity to meet the medium monk in person, in his natural state, without being in a trance.

As someone said before, "It is hard indeed to imagine this serene and peaceful monk being the human receptacle of one of the most fearsome and wrathful protector of Tibetan Buddhism." The Nechung Oracle is said to connect the original Tibetan religion “Bon” (an ancient animalistic and polytheistic religion) to present day Buddhism.

Ven Geshe Damcho Yonten

And finally, as if it hadn't been enough for one day, a final gathering with Ven Geshe Damcho Yonten.

Continues here.