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.


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

Sunday, 30 December 2007

India, Day 2 - Exploring Camp 2

Sunday, 30th December 2007

[Alan's notes in italic] 

Wake up feeling recovered from change in time. Went to see Assembly Hall before security tightens. The shrine is awesome. 

6am - I woke up early, to the sounds of Tibetan Buddhist prayers. I grabbed my camera and followed the sounds all the way to the Assembly Hall. One of the Tibetan women, puzzled by what I was doing, pointed at my camera with inquisite eyes, and I showed her the picture I had just taken. She then asked me to take a photo of her by pointing at me, the camera, and finally at her face. She was absolutely delighted to see the image of herself on the screen custom display.

Huge statues, many tankas, beautifully ornate stucco work, decorated columns. Deep tones of chanting amplified booming from speakers - deeply resonant. 
I was close to tears several times, slowly walking round the hall. The compassion aroused was powerful - the mental effort to overcome suffering. Rizong Rinpoche was leading the chanting. As he was leaving we managed to meet him and say hello.
In the afternoon Geshe Wanchen came to Gyakham Khangtsen. It was powerful to see him smile. He seemed pleased that a London student had come to India. He shook my hand several times. It left me feeling very happy to be amongst so many wonderful practitioners. 
I practiced tai-chi behind our block. Many young children sat and watched, and seemed disappointed when we finished. [from Alan's travel diary] 
Time to explore Camp 2

 After breakfast I decided to explore camp 2.
First, I walked to Palden Drepung Tashi Gomang Monastic University

I went past Gomang Community Canteen (non profit) and noticed the big Vodafone and Airtel banners... On the bottom right, a local small shop where you can buy colgate and pepsodent!

At first I was  shocked by the the amounts of Sprite, coca cola, fanta, and 7-up consumed by the monks, but I quickly realized that water was, and still is, a major issue for this whole community. In the Tibetan settlement, most of the limited water resources have been declared "unsafe to drink," so no wonder that those who can afford it will buy fizzy drinks.

Many Ladhaki women, in their traditional clothes, sat in groups watching the world go by...

I found my way to Drepung Monastic University, where the Dalai Lama was going to teach a famous tantric text known as Manjushri nama samgiti
and slowly strolled around the camp,

exploring the side strets,

observing the lifestyle,

the cows slowly walking on the streets,

the market on the main road,

the monks chanting and counting their mantra recitations as they walked by,

people chilling out with a fizzy drink at Loseling Library Coffee Shop,

taking it all in, the trees and the architecture of the buildings,

and the breathtaking sunsets...

Continues here.

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