Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter from a mountain-top!

May your True Nature, the Natural Mind, arise from its slumber! And once arisen, may this profoundly good news overflow and benefit all beings! May Peace, Compassion and Wisdom rain down like a Shower of Blessings!

I've been going to and fro - over to Gyuto and trying my feeble best to chant along.

It will take years at this rate, and Lama Thupten Jigme says that sounds about right.
You can see him here on the left giving the note
for the next part of the chant to the assembly. The sound he makes, despite his illness, is very low and beautiful. Not at all rough or forced. At this point of the practice, the monks join in with a sustained chorus of prolonged notes deeply proclaiming their joy. They rejoice singing Emaho! How Wonderful! over and over for about 15 minutes. This seemingly endless Halleluia has been my personal favourite part of each day's puja. Tomorrow, Easter Sunday of all days, the whole practice is sealed with a Fire Ceremony. The Chant Master goes to Delhi the next morning for treatment. I truly hope all goes well for him. Only the likes of him can pass on the expertise to
the next generation if this tradition is to survive.

In the same photo, you can also see the Chopon holding a vase full of beautiful leaf-bearing twigs... he has a gorgeous cape with a lotus flower just blossoming!

In the distance, you can see a 'side-throne' which is reserved for HH Karmapa who lives above the Temple.

Yesterday, the U.S. Speaker of the House was in town to show support for HHDL and the Tibetans. She caused a huge stir when she condemned outright the Chinese violence and brutality. She even said it should be 'no surprise'!

Brave words indeed. We need much more of that!

I glimpsed HH Karmapa twice yesterday. Once in his car as he passed me on the road and a second time at Gyuto. Neither time was i able to take his picture. i was too slow, sorry. but - believe me - he was waving and smiling at me from this balcony [left] just before i produced my camera and chased him away... honest.

Yesterday was also a major Hindu festival. It is called Holy and is celebrated by throwing dried paint powder at eachother. By throwing bright primary colours, especially on your friends and loved-ones, everyone celebrated the Joy of Life. [Emaho!]


Of course, being good Buddhist folk on top of the mountain in McLeod Ganj, we didn't engage in such frivolity! But ones driver, don't-ya-know, was covered in it as you can see. Never-the-less, he wouldn't stop the car to let me take photos of the joyful chaos. He even insisted i close all the windows despite the 35 degree heat to 'avoid being destroyed by their foolishness'.

We Westerners merely pass through their world. For them, we exist alright - but on some demi-godly realm. They must think of us so strangely. Perhaps we are more like aliens who have invaded their lives. And they must serve us and live off us in any variety of ways possible in order to survive in this new regime. But, i'm certain festivals such as Holy remind them of their ancient roots. And how their wonderful civilisation will surely rise again. A time when they can recall from deep within, the rich vibrant colourful meaning of life!

How GREY we must seem to them by comparison! All pale and complex and neurotically precious!

If only i could simply be

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