My thoughts and activities in Dharamsala

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Mist of Oceanic Wisdom

It has been a very busy for the pass two weeks, just for those who have been wondering, LOL. I had decided not to update last week because of the upcoming teachings being given by HHDL. But within a week, Mcleod Ganj has experienced a up flux in new Tibetan arrivals from all parts of Tibet due to the teachings and the Kalachakra intiations next month. It is so apparent, these Tibetans carry themselves in a much different manner than Indian-born exiles, for one they all wear the traditional clothes. Some of the attire is amazing. Some men will have thick red cords that wrap around their head like a wreath. Some women will have only the back half of their heads braided in tiny braids that join at the back with neat knot. Yesterday I was walking up Temple Rd with the Venerable Tashi Tsering la, and he was telling me where they came from by looking at their dress. "Oh he is from Ladakh, they are Amdo, they are from Kham" etc. From what I hear, they are coming in the thousand from inside Tibet to go to the Kalachakra and that most will return to Tibet after it is over. At a week and a half ago there was a huge march from Mcleod Ganj to lower Dharamsala. The reason for this was because, in Lhasa, Tibet there is a colossal monastery called Drepung. Inside Drepung some of the monks staged a protest in which resulted the arrest of 5 monks. They where protesting a "re-education program" that Chinese government had placed on the monastery. The goal of this program to instill patriotism in the monks, since it is through the monastery that the Tibetan freedom in mostly alive. So it seems like throughout the world different Tibetan NGO's have been staging marches and demonstrations. That day I did not attend the march, cause I heard of it after the fact but I heard the yelling from my room. Last Saturday, Tibetans celebrated the day the HHDL received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. At the main temple there was a Himalayan festival, with music and dance from all over the Himalayan region. Then that night at TIPA, there was a contemporary music festival with some pretty good Tibetan artist. This was a bit of relief for me since the last TIPA show that I went to was pretty rough. There was one female singer named Chokey, some of my Tibetan friends told me that she is called the Tibetan Shakira. She definitely is not a Shakira, but I will have to give it to her that is the first Tibetan male or female that I have seen who knew how to move their hips. And she was energetic. Most Tibetan singers don't really move when they sing, they stand there like beanpoles. Oh, and then there was a Tibetan rap song. VERY INTERESTING!!! At the end of the concert Chokey invited the crowed on stage to do some shaking of their own, ironically a majority of the dancers where mostly Inji's and Tibetan dudes. I have had the pleasure to meet the mother's of two BC Tibetan girls. I met Tenzin Khandoe's mother just yesterday, and last week I met Tenzin Dolkar's family. It is great to meet the family side of these folks that I know from BC. But the highlight of my week was attending the HHDL teachings. Tibet Charity had cancelled school for the week so we had the time to attend. They lasted for five days starting December 12th and ending on the 16th. On the 11th people on already secured their spots on the floor, which I did also. HHDL taught in the Buddha Temple. These teachings were requested by the Korean sangha, so there was many Koreans in town. Each day the teachings starting around 9am and lasted to 11:45am and then started again at 1pm to 3pm. Each time we entired the temple we had to go through a pat down and search with security. At the beginnings of each teaching tons of folks will circumambulate around the Buddha and Kalachakra temples. Usually when I got to my spot, I will stop and watch as the crowd of Tibetans and Injis murmuring mantras under their breath walk around the Temple. Then after taking this in, I will follow suit. Obviously of the whole day the highlight is seeing the HHDL walk to and from his throne. From my spot I could clearly see him as he taught and also when he left walking down the stairs that I sat by. He'll be just feet from me. One day he had started alittle early. I was trying to go the stairs to my spot but the guard had stopped me and few others, so as we waited there he was right in front of us. We all stared as we watched him scale the stairs. The actual teachings were great, His Holiness is extreme erudite in his explanation of the Buddhist tenets. Being that he is from the Gelukpa school, known for complex scholasticism, HHDL shows his true colors in his wisdom. The knowledge that comes out of him is just incredible. The basis of the teachings on a book called "The eight verses of training the Mind". So HHDL first outlined several various Tenets' arguments on consciousness from Buddhist and non-Buddhist schools. For the most part HHDL argued from the Madyamika (Middle view proposed by Nagarjuna) prospective. The other schools that he discussed were Chittamatrin (Mind-only proposed by Vasubandhu and Asanga), Vaibashika (ancient Hindu School), and Samkhya ( Hindu School also found in various yogas). HHDL will first describe in detail all of these schools thought's on mind and consciousness and then he will elaborate on then with his own commentary. It is great to watch as he did his thing. His body and composure as spoke helps to connect with what he is teaching. If you what to learn more I suggest that you get some books. research or something for I am in no position at this point to explain what was said. But on the first day, there were a group of new arrivals sitting next to me. I had said some few things in Tibetan to them. On guy whispered to me if I know now to read Tibetan. I whispered back "tets tets" "alittle". What insued was a brief written conversation in Tibetan. I found it quite amusing for I was glad that I could at least write where I am from in Tibetan, although it is not truly a huge accomplishment. The translation could my heard in English over the FM radio, and the translator was great. He himself was a monk and a great scholar. I only understood basic words from HHDL, for he mostly spoke in Dharma language and honorific. I noticed that younger Tibetans were also listening to the translation on the radio for it if quite difficult for them too. The older folks had traditition Tibetan scriptures and were follwing along quite nicely. I hope that evenutally I will be able to understand with out radio cause it is cumbersome. I have found two courses offerings in India. One in Dehra Dun and one in Dharamsala. They are two year intensives in Tibetan, and I am trying to see if this is possibility for me. They cost money, but it is not much by US standards. I will continue to search to see what oppertunities I can find. I would total love to attend a two intensive course. I will see what develops. So now that teachings are over. There is one week of class at TCMEC, and then I will prepare to head to South India for the Kalachakra. Dorje Rinchen la aka Dorje Momo has left already for the Kalachakra. Many Injis are going to Goa for the New Year. So Mcleod Ganj is aboutt to become a ghost town with many Tibetans and Injis leaving. Yesterday at the temple there was a huge puja (ritual) to protect the area from earthquakes. Last tuesday around 3:30am a tremor had gently rocked Mcleod Ganj. I was sleeping so I did not feel anything. I found out about it through my Pema my tutor that day. Then I read the paper and saw that several tremors were felt from Afganistan all the way Fuij. So well see if the puja will help us out. I am getting a bit tired so I am going to ditch out. I hope that everyone has a great holidays, though I have to say I am so glad that it is not a big deal here. Once again reporting from the Tibetan capital-in-exile this Hotfoot saying "Peace out, Bitches"



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Anonymous said...

It's not that we don't know how to shake our 'laffy taffy', it's just that we are intimated by the very thought of doing it. We simple Tibetans!