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Wanders of Monlam Journey Some tid-bits, some stories and mostly a way for us to stay connected...

Making room for what lies ahead

INDIA | Monday, 1 January 2007 | Views [1550] | Comments [5]


Happy New Year! Well I’ve made it this far without any serious shenanigans! One night outside the monastery that has evening teachings by His Holiness Karmapa, I came out and my shoes were gone. I waited until the end and was having a melt down..I kept thinking well, they need them more than me, but that I REALLY need them because they are the only walking shoes that I brought. Now, the other part of the story is that this monastery is down a long dirt road with absolutely no light. Bumpy, mudy dusty, dark, and at least a mile from the main road. (Giving you visuals so you can imagine what it was like for me when I had to leave) A lesson on Impermanence. Fortunately the next night they appeared and obviously were taken by mistake! Really pointed out how often we jump to conclusions about the bad qualities in others.

In the evenings of the monlam HH Karmapa teaches to the foreign audience. There are so many of us, almost 1000 and the first time he has taught in an organized setting for westerners. Here are mostly Taiwanese, but also other Asians and of course the North Americans, Europeans, Australians, South Americans…You get the drift. The festival has taken over Bodhgaya and I am assuming the 3 consecutive ones that follow bring a majority of the years income to most of the locals. There are 4 schools of Buddhism and each school holds a similar event under the Bodhi tree. This year the Karmapa began learning English, so has also done some readings for us without a translator. On New Years Eve, my group got an audience with him and on New Years day we had audiences with Tsoknyi Rinpoche and Mingyur Rinpoche. There are many high Lamas and Rinpoches here, including Khenpo Tsultrum Gyamptso Rinpoche! (Such luck) The New Years Eve teachings were quite remarkable and profound in their simplicity. He said that the end of the year always signifies a time for us to change and/or make changes…and that the reality is, that it isn’t necessary for us to be bound and ruled by these concepts of time and custom. We need to focus more on our own willingness to change, and the inspiration and motivation behind that. But for now, we seem to need to depend on and feel supported by the concept of a New Year, and with that the new beginning. We are easily persuaded to use this time as an opportunity to start fresh. He talked about difficulties and hard times/painful times and how these are actually beneficial, because they become fuel for further human development. That we need to adorn our lives with the beneficial results, which become the attributes and expression of our dignity as humans. To really let go of the past, of the baggage, and make room for what lies ahead. That our main aspiration should be based on development of depth of wisdom, and that this development is dependent on our daily outlook.

Today, New Years day I am getting my aspirations for 07 in order and hope that all of you are doing the same. I am feeling so grateful that I am here and that my life is supporting my desire for change and deep learning.

So, far I haven’t gotten sick nor do I feel sick. Mosquitoes everywhere, it is cold in the mornings and evenings, warm and breezy in the afternoon, feels like San Francisco weather. The trip getting here was long but not terrible. I slept for 16 hours my second day here. This town is crowded and it has it’s beauty but is also filled with filth beyond imagine. Plastic bags, plastic water bottles and plastic wrappers end up everywhere. I walk by small children shitting in fields, Men take a piss wherever is convenient. The heaps of trash and mangy dogs..The cows. Everywhere cows. The busses and rickshaws and ponies and bicycles..Horns blaring in all ears fighting for dominance. So far it has been easier to just ignore the begging and persistence of the world surrounding me. I can’t imagine what it must be like to live like this and yet one is faced with how high and unrealistic our standards really are..and I am not talking just about our own comfort. This is my first taste of India. And so far it is nothing like what I thought it would be and then everything I thought it would be like. It continues to baffle me and I will write more about my experiences when I have had more time. Take a look at the pictures I have posted on this site: ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THIS PAGE CLICK ON BODHGAYA UNDER PHOTO GALLERY.. Maybe you’ll get a feeling of what it’s like to be here. My lungs are not happy because it is so dusty and I have to wear a surgical mask when walking around. I look forward to writing soon and hearing from you, Laura

Tags: Adventures



Hi, Laura, thanks for the update! So glad to hear that you had a safe journey, and that your health is good. I've never posted on a blog before, so I'm not sure who's reading this...happy 2007 to you (all).

  Donna W. Jan 2, 2007 8:44 AM


LD - Happy New Year! Do they have a Four Seasons there? ;) Missing you already and sending you positive thoughts for your journey ahead. Be safe.


Chas & Curt

  Charles Smith Jan 3, 2007 2:02 PM


Thank you for your blog! Maybe we met in Bodhgaya. This is the road you'd better walk with shoes on... But don't you love it anyway? I lost my shoes there one day too, but found them before leaving:

  mist Jan 24, 2007 3:42 AM


laura, thanks so much for taking the time to share the insights you have aquired. even though its 2 months later, they are still good to read. took me a while to find this. my new year has had amazing changes and challenges. this advice was good to hear. take care and take heart.

  beth Mar 2, 2007 1:08 PM


laura, thanks so much for sharing the teachings you heard. the new year has always been important for me to reflect, and those words were good to hear. my year has had some crazy changes, and it has been easy to lose focus. having your journal and photos have been a treat. i'm impressed with all you've gone through for your studies, more than most of us would!! we all encourage you to stick with it, even in the cold!! hope our good wishes warm your heart from a distance. take care and keep journaling!

  beth Mar 2, 2007 1:36 PM

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