Thursday, November 30, 2006

on the way up the hill

this afternoon i will walk north from our east kathmandu neighborhood into the hills. it won't take but about twenty minutes to be outside of the madness of town, into a village along the road that winds north east up the valley sides. gentle hills give way to mountainside, and after a few hours i will be happily sitting at the Nagi Gompa, a Tibetan Buddhist nunnery for a three day meditation retreat with some of the practitioners from the seminar chris and i attended over the last two weeks, led by the presiding lama, Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche.

i'll be crashing in a tent on the lawn of the monastery, and should have a great view of kathmandu in the valley below. carrying my little tripod so maybe i can get a decent sunset shot of the city, or nighttime lights.

chris is staying in town to continue his tibetan drawing and painting classes, which seem to be giogn well, although i think it is difficult for him to sit cross legged all day the way asians do.

yesterday as i was walking to a shiatsu massage appointment, i met Lama Tsering Wangdu on the circumambulation path around the Boudhanath stupa (by met I mean saw him and stalked him down), said hello, and he replied that I should go to his monastery. After the massage, I walked across the neighborhood down the Boudha road to Tusal, and upon arrival at the gompa (monastery) discovered that he was about to commence a long life empowerment, requested and sponsored by a group of twenty or so Newari women, mostly middle aged and elderly. They have a close connection to Lama Wangdu because he used to live in Jawalakhel at a Tibetan refugee camp near Patan, where many Newar Buddhists live.

The long life empowerment is technically a ritual empowerment or permission to practice the mantra and visualization meditation of Amitayus (Tsepagme), the Buddha of Infinite Life. Once done with the ceremony, the thirty or so local students of Lama Wangdu finished their chod feast offering, and after two plates of delicious rice and lentils with curry vegetables, i walked home to meet chris and watched a cheesy Korean sword action movie.

Off to the hills!

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