It’s been over a month now, and finally I’m getting it about not having to be busy all the time. I left with something of an agenda to see as much of India as I could in my six months here. After covering great distances, looking at things then moving on, I’ve come to a place where I’m happy not being so busy and learning a little more about this one area. This is reflected in it having been a while since I last wrote. I was filling up my day and night with things to do. It was almost like home, where there is such a tendency to peddle faster just to keep up with everything we think we want. In the long term, my well-being depends on being out of the rat race and simplifying my needs and desires.
I really love being in a place where even the most casual tourist is trying to touch the sacred, to learn something new about the world and themselves. Despite the number of tourists, there is an atmosphere here conducive to improving oneself. I have doubts about what improving might even be, when I think about it, but if things seem better, I’m going to continue day by day to go with the flow.
That said, here is some travelogue stuff. I loaned my camera out, so I can’t add pictures this time, but I will later. HA!, depending on how compulsive I feel.
My days are sometimes a little busy, though I’m hardly getting an early jump on the day’s actvities. I still have a tendency to wake up early, but there’s nothing realy to do till 10. I read and have some chai, maybe a bite to eat. I’m kind of in the backpacker social circle again, so often I’m doing something the group has talked about. Many have been here for awhile, so they have good suggestions. More importantly, they have good ideas how to get it done. Sometimes it’s just a walk through the surrounding forest. Sometimes it’s something right out of Lonely Planet. Let’s see what I can remember…
Yesterday was actually busy. In the morning I went with a German woman I’ve been hanging out with to the Tibetan government complex. Funny, I haven’t even gone in the temple yet. I’m finding I’m not needing to see or sit in temples much. We went to the national library, or at least what they were able to get out of China. She was intersted in health care for the refugees, especially the torture victims. I was more into trying to figure out political realities. That of course is a big subjuct here. Ah, they have such hopes. Maybe in a future lifetime their wishes might happen to some extent. For now, we live in a world where commerce and power render a spiritually guided existence as little more than a quaint idea. Time marches on and modernization will be defined as material development and the pursuit of things which ultimately disappoint. Oh well. All we can do is be responsible, if we choose, that is.
It’s very casual at the governmet center. There’s no security to speak of, some Indian army at the open front gate looking bored. Inside, personnel are easily approached and very friendly. We walked into the office of the minister for refugee’s affairs. The young woman we first talked to said she was new there and she would find someone to answer our questions. The minister who was sitting at a computer in the back, not in a walled offece space, came out and spent about 20 minutes with us, answering questions it would have taken forever to research.
By the way, I don’t think I’m going to get to see the Dalai Lama. Unbeknownst to me, he was here the next morning after I arrived, but the public appearance was at 7 and I didn’t hear about it in time. Now he’s off to somewhere.
I did get a blessing from Lama Karmapa, the head of one of the four sects of Tibetan buddhism. That was special, to me. I went down to his monastery about 30 km from here for that a couple of days ago. You should have been there. There were maybe three hundred people sitting and waiting for him and his entourage of monks to come out. You could here a pin drop. No coughs, no voices, vitually no perceptible movement. There were maybe 20-30 babes in arms there. Not a peep. Even when people went up to him in line, it was so quiet.
Anyway, back to yesterday, after the library my friend and I went to the Norbulinka Institute. It’s a lovely place where there is an exceptionally nicely maintaned temple, beautiful gardens, and displays of the finest Tibetan, furniture, thankas, clothes, jewelry, etc.. The detail is amazing. Of course, it reminded me of Thai art. Some of these things take months, even years, to make. It is allowed to watch the work in progress. The beauty of the place was remarkable in a country with so little man-made beauty.
Ths is getting awfully long. Too much is too much. I thank those of you who have hanged in there this long. I’ll write again soon, and put in some pictures, though the pace of my picture taking has slowed too