Sunday, January 29, 2006

On top of the World

Although I've already been here for a week, I haven't really been inclined to write much. I think maybe I've just been so overwhelmed by all these new experiences that I don't even want to venture into the realm of words. After my experience yesterday however, I'm determined to write down my experiences here. It is so hard for me to come to terms with all that I am learning, and all that I am experiencing. On the one hand, I want to live the life that I'm being taught. I want to live in the moment and be aware of my every breath. I want to realize that every small action is just as important as every large event, yet there are things here that I also want to hold onto in my mind forever. So here I am, learning about buddhism, living a buddhist life, and still frantically grasping hold of everything around me-- tightly gripping each moment as it happens, and after it has past me by.
I'm not even going to go into the past week, because there is too much for me to even think about. Yesterday however, now that I'm prepared to delve into... after a quick breakfast we grabbed our packs and headed down the mountain for Rumtek Gompa. Let me just say that that itself was an adventure. The drivers don't seem to have any specific rules to follow..other then honk before you pass, and before you turn a corner, and really whenever you feel like it. After an eventful drive down into the valley we crossed a stream and began the climb back up. Looking back out of the jeep you could see a perfect view of Gangtok, and Kangchenzonga (the coolest mountain ever!).
We reached the monestary, climbed up the hill in our traditional Tibetan dresses--that I still can't quite get used to--and entered the courtyard to a group of monks walking with a gigantic gold statue of buddha. I am still in awe of hte hours that followed. Although I'm not quite sure what most of it meant, the monks spent hours doing traditional dances in the most amazing costumes. The last dance was called the black hat dance...all of the monks held large swords and scare away the bad dieties. At sunset, the torma, which was the center of attention throughout the day was carried outside and lit on fire. It was absolutely breathtaking.
In between all of this I somehow found the time to get blessed by one of the four regents left in charge during the interim periods between the death of the last karmapa, and the finding of the present one. I got blessed by a guy who is tight with the dahli lama...a guy who hangs out with the 17th karmapa...that is awesome!! Although I still feel unprepared for many of the things that we are doing, I'm glad that we are getting hte chance to experience all of this so early on.
We also had the opportunity to visit the old Rumtek gompa which was a little bit further up the mountain. I've never claimed to be buddhist, but something about this place was magical. As soon as I stepped through the gates that surrounded the area I felt this inner peace...I know it sounds lame, but I'm being serious. Imagine standing on the only flat ground for miles, surrounded by prayer flags and a gorgeous shrine room, and looking out on the Himalya's at the same time. I'm not a very religious person, but I was really really moved. It was as if my soul had found complete peace in a place that I didn't think could exist in real life. Because everyone was at the dances, it was pretty much deserted except for a few random dogs, and the prayer flags that flapped in the wind. It was me, (my group), the temple, and the mountain...really really amazing.
After most of the ceremonies were over, we also had the chance to go receive a blessing by a lama that just happened to be visiting. He felt my pulse and perscribed some Tibetan medicine for me...and told me to stay away from too much sugar when I get older...
By five oclock the sun had set, the festivities were over and I could barely keep my eyes open. Everything that I had experienced that day was running through my mind and my body. Just being there was medicine enough. I fell asleep as soon as we got home-- probably because I was more at peace with myself then I have ever been in my life. In just one day here I've felt more comfortable in my own skin then I have ever felt at home. I wish that all the people that I love could have been here to experience it with me. I want to take them to the top of the world and have them look out oneeverything below. I want to watch a bunch of monks burn the torma with them and realize together that every second is as important as the last, and as interesting as the next.


Blogger rita said...

You are an amazimg writer. I could almost picture the day, and I really want to experience one like it. Thank you for sharing those moments with me.

7:20 PM  

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