Thursday, October 19, 2006

making connections

yesterday a monk from a monastery in patan (south kathmandu) accompanied one of the monks that i live with in chapagaon to our monastery, and i discovered that he was a newar who lived with a few other newars ordained in the tibetan tradition in a monastery that is converted from the old style newari monasteries (bahal). i offered him a ride back on my hog (indian bullet 350cc royal enfield motorcyle), he accepted and i ended up staying last night at the monastery, the padmavarna mahayan gompa. they have a decent little library, totally disorganized, with their own liturgical materials as well as writings on buddhism in nepali, english, hindi, tibetan, sanskrit and newari. i found about thirty publications in english that i can use directly or indirectly for my research, and the venerable old lama, who is 92, seems to have a lot of freetime and is very willing to sit and chat. i think i may collect some stories from him, at least create a biographical sketch, because he has been a practicing mahayana/vajrayana tibetan style buddhist monk for fifty years, crucial to the dissimination of the kargyud nyingma dharma to newars.

this is also quite funny and sad at the same time:

Rick Santorum and the "Eye of Mordor"

In an interview with the editorial board of the Bucks County Courier
Times, embattled Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum has equated the war
in Iraq with J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings." According to the
paper, Santorum said that the United States has avoided terrorist
attacks at home over the past five years because the "Eye of Mordor"
has been focused on Iraq instead.

"As the hobbits are going up Mount Doom, the Eye of Mordor is being
drawn somewhere else," Santorum said. "It's being drawn to Iraq and
it's not being drawn to the U.S. You know what? I want to keep it on
Iraq. I don't want the Eye to come back here to the United States."

We're sure that we wouldn't either, if only we had the slightest idea
of what Santorum was saying. The Courier Times translates for those of
us who are not so conversant in spooky Tolkienese: The "Eye of
Mordor," it seems, was "the tool the evil Lord Sauron used in search
of the magical ring that would consolidate his power over

To be fair, Santorum's interview with the editorial board wasn't all
about fantasy. Well, at least not the Dungeons and Dragons kind.
Santorum said that he disagreed with the notion that the United States
is "bogged down" in Iraq. As for talk of a troop withdrawal? Santorum
said: "I don't think you ask that question. I know that's the question
everybody wants to ask. But I don't think anyone would ask that
question in 1944, 'Gee, how long are we going to be in Europe?' We're
going to be in Europe until we win."

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