I am headed back up to Chapagaon today after a few days in Boudhanath visiting friends and attending the Lunar NewYear festivities. Today should be a slow day of reflection and meditation, as it is Ash Wednesday, after all, the first day of the Spring fasting and planting season.
My birthday is on Saturday, and I plan on celebrating it with a Tara offering ritual (Female Compassionate Buddha of Liberation, who clears obstacles and grants long-life), and a feast with all the monks at the Chapagaon monastery. It is a nice way for me to give them a party. After the feast and some digestion, we will have a soccer tournament!
SEVERING HAIR, SEVERING ATTACHMENT:
As all things, my dreadlocked hair is definately impermanent. Phagchog Rinpoche decided to demonstrate this to me in a direct way last week with a quick haircut, my first in almost six years.
After my hair cutting blessing by His Eminence Phagchog Rinpoche. I have been offering my obscuration and defilement saturated locks to power places in the Kathmandu Valley with a prayer for purification.
Self portrait as of new haircut today.
But at least I didn't shave my head and become a monk, like this little guy, our youngest addition to the sangha in Chapagaon. Now there are 45 monks at the monastery!
Cute monks playing on a tree, photo taken by other cute young monks. They are pretty good photographers, sometimes.
More cute monks in front of a doorhang, taken by other cute young monks when I wasn't around.
LUNAR NEW YEAR PHOTOS:
May the New Fire Hog year 2007-2008 be auspicious for all, may our obstacles for selfless action be dispelled for the sake of all beings!
A charming little Tibetan girl eating some ice cream her own way. Since its Tibetan New Years, her parents have her all dressed up in a brand new red chupa (Tibetan ladies dress).
The great stupa Boudhanath, in the neighborhood I have lived in for part of the last three and a half years. A Nepali guy has shimmied up the pole in the foreground to hang some new prayerflags, as it was Tibetan Lunar New Year (Losar).
Some of the young monks I am working with in Chapagaon all dressed up in the ceremonial yellow robe at the Lunar New Year festivities in Boudha. Some of them have only been monks for about a week, at the tender age of six...
A monk dancing at the White Monastery in Boudha for the pre-Lunar New Year festivities.
The great Chokling Rinpoche, the incarnation of the last of the 108 major treasure revealers of Tibet Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa, presiding over the Cham Lama dancing last week at the White Monastery.
The protector dieties dispelling obstacles for the coming Lunar year.
Monks chanting in assembly at the rituals for anniversary of the death of Orgyen Tulku Rinpoche at the White Monastery.
RANDOM SHOTS AT TEMPLES AROUND KATHMANDU:
A bell in a traditional Newari Buddhist courtyard (Bahal). Before the 15th Century these courtyards were inhabited by ordained monks, but now they are used for lay rituals done by lay preists. There are a number of beautiful old chaityas (Buddhist devotional monument) in the background.
A nighttime shot of a Krishna temple in Hadigaon, east Kathmandu.
This statue of Nagarjuna (Phagpa Ludrup) in an old Bahal in Kimdol, is said to be about 400 years old, and is also said to be the only one of its kind in the Kathmandu Valley. The great 2nd Century Indian Buddhist scholar Nagarjuna developed the tenets of the Madhyamika (Middle Way) philosophical system, treasured by most Himalayan Buddhists as the highest and most subtle explanation of reality possible.