Big bro Chris has been well occupied taking some drawing classes in the afternoons with a Tibetan painter friend of mine that also lives in our neighborhood, Boudha. Tomorrow or the next day he will begin as a full time student at the Tsering Art school at the Shechen Monastery here, which has a pretty vigorous traditional routine: 30 minutes of prayer followed by 3 hours of drawing class in the morning, 2 hour lunch nap break, some prayer at 2pm, and 3 hours of painting class in the afternoon. He'll continue this through Jan 10 or so when he leaves Nepal for the Big Easy.
We attended the annual seminar on Buddhist philosophy and practice at the White Monastery in Boudha, I had been looking forward to it greatly and am sad it is over. However, there is a follow up retreat this weekend up in a small hermitage on the rim of the Kathmandu Valley this weekend, I'm going to walk up from our apartment building in Boudha to the hermitage with a sleeping bag and tent (3 hours or so) and walk back, so it'll be kind of like camping. Mostly meditation up there, I went three years ago and it was splendid.
I caught Chris meditating this morning in his room, I'm feeling a bit proud of that, rejoicing in an attempt at recognizing the natural state, or at least calming down a bit.
things are well these days, i've been able to redirect a lot of my fulbright money towards monasteries and nunneries, trying to purify a little of the collective negative karma of the american government and being an american. we have all been complicit in many terrible deeds. (as well as good ones like sending a hopeless spacecadet like myself to hang out with buddhists and try to let something rub off if possible).
"the mind is like a crystal, which takes the color of the fabric that you set it upon. therefore to practice virtue it is necessary to keep virtuous friends dear and distance yourself from those that engage in non-virtue." - Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.