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.

Saturday, 12 January 2008

India, Day 15 - Birthday Surprises

Saturday 12th January 

I woke up feeling much better. The fever seemed to have gone, and all that remained was an itchy throat that made me cough almost continuously. Breathing the sand and dust from the unpaved roads irritated my throat and lungs. The Tibetan medicine I was taking, together with the two days of rest, were beginning to work. Whatever I had was going round. Several people in our group were feeling poorly, and those who had been vaccinated seemed to be getting it even worse than me. 

I felt strong enough to go to the teachings, and I was glad I did, because I had an encounter with Robina Courtin, one of the first Western Tibetan buddhist nuns. I loved to hear her online teachings and almost felt like I knew her. When I saw Robina amindst the crowd I ran towards her as if to an old friend I hadn't seen for a long time. She received me with open arms, gave me her email, and told me to write anytime I wished to. Her embrace left my whole body shaking. Another karmic connection!

Back at Gyakham Khangtsen I knocked at Alan's door. It was his birthday, but he was too ill to attend the teachings and stayed in bed instead. He called me in, and we spent a good length of time laying quietly on the bed. 

I then persuaded him to try a Tibetan doctor, and accompanied him to Loseling Clinic, the medical centre at the settlement. 

After the consultation, the challenge of getting the precribed medication! Tibetans don't queue and Alan's cultural conditioning didn't allow him to push his way in like the Tibetans. Fortunately I was there! Noticing his reluctance to adopt the local customs, and realizing we'd never get out of there unless we did as we saw done, I asked Alan to let me take over this task, to which he gladly obliged. I raised my sleeves, pushed my way through tens of monks, and got the medicine in less than 5 minutes! Proud of my achievement, I felt grateful for the skills developed throughout the 1980's in Lisbon, in the daily challenge of getting inside the buses and subway!

Meantime, at Gyakham Khangtsen, the monks were busy in the kitchen, quietly preparing him a suprise birthday party.

P gives me CD. Very elaborate and special meal in evening; cake, katak (traditional ceremonial scarf), and much enjoyment. I was surprised by the effort which had gone into making the celebration. [from Alan's travel diary]

Continues here.

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