From Cow walking the platform to High Hopes in Dehradun to the devotee Ram · 1/22/2017

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Summary Highlights (pictures still being processed).

Cow walks the train platform, High hopes of mobility happend for prior-wheelchair bound person, and a Ram with a piercing golden eye, shows devotion to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama at the annual Kalichakra in Bodhi Gaya, Bihar, India.

DATE Format: Day-Month-Year:
26.12.16


It began with Lama Tenzin’s extended visit in November 2016, after Kuten La and his entourage had departed the United States in the first week of November, following a month stint around the U.S.., with the Bay Area and the desire to create a Nechung Center in the East Bay. The hope is that one day Kuten La would be able to transmit information from one of his chants and ceremonies where he provides information from the spirit known as Nechung.

During the October - November visit with Kuten La and the team from the Nechung Monastery in Dharamsala, we had some wonderful moments. Wonderful gatherings at Anette, who was the San Francisco host for their stay in S.F., and another one with Bob Thurmond, noted Tibetan scholar from the Tibet House in New York and the Medium of the Oracle of Tibet at Angela Alioto’s. All the while we were also working with the chief Tibetan monk posted in the East Bay, Nawang Khenrab to see about creating a new center in the East Bay that could host celebrations, pray, ceremony and interfaith gatherings. Some land and a building in El Cerrito has been identified, now the fundraising begins in earnest with Nawang leading the charge.

My one note of utter gratitude and shame was driving a van filled with our Nechung Monastery monk team, including the personal assistant to Kuten La - Namgyal, and also Newang from the East Bay. Never forget that as I made a left to go to Sausalito after going through the tunnel from the Marin Headlands, I looked right and then left, and then proceeded to make my left turn. As I merged into the normal lane, a whisk of wind palpably went by our van, and then the shock of all was that there was a car speeding down the same lane and it literally got within hair of colliding. My heart was racing, I was ashamed that I had just put so many at risk. And at the same time an incredible sense of gratitude went out for whatever may have protected us, despite that car. I dropped the monks off for their Sausalito Church presentation and parked down in the flat area near the Ferry landing. I paid for 3 hours and then just chilled as my heart continued to race along with the relief. Nawang was very kind after I apologized for the close call, he said he would have wanted to be nowhere else at the time. Every time I go to Sausalito and pass that turn, the extreme relief and a bit of shame for what had happened goes through my body. When we all got back to the van to return to San Francisco, I was a tad worried that we might have gotten tickets. Instead, the ticket was good until the very minute that we left the parking, amazing.

Lama Tenzin had never stayed in one place so long, our apartment, as he recovered from surgery on his foot that had take a painful toothpick all the way through. Lama Tenzin - I think - discovered this device that enables a wheelchair bound person stand fully upright called the Mary Walker. Despite idyl threats that someone else was going to go to CED in December to take the “Mary Walker” to Pema Choedon. Pema has been wheelchair bound most of her young life. We tried every which way to figure out how to ship it so that it could be received in Dehradun, India. The costs were so exorbitant that we happily considered the economic argument for someone to fly with the the Mary Walker and hand deliver - roughly same price as shipping. With a generous donation from one of our Board members, the cost of the flight to and from India was covered. Given that it was holiday season, my volunteer efforts were flexible enough so this could happen.

When we got to the C.E.D. House in Dehradun. It was late afternoon. After landing at 3 am, a person whom we had recently met in SF and also from an Indian family met me at the Airport to drive north 6 hours. It was a miracle of sorts as simply being in contact with Sunny was a rare occurence. Nonetheless, Sunny pulled up with his car just around 6 am as he had promised. When we arrived and greeted everyone at C.E.D, we got to the business at hand, getting the Mary Walker ready for Choedon. As soon as it was ready, Choezim courageously took the reigns of the walker and stood upright, perhaps for the first time in a long time. Within moments, Choezim was also able to move her legs and feet ever so slightly to independently take steps. Within an hour a bit more freedom and hope was written on Choezim’s face. What a gift for me to see this firsthand. The rest of the trip in my book was icing.

From the 27 December to the 2nd of January 2017, I slept at the special tower guest quarters, joined in the di-di-di-di morning prayers that the kids always started at 6 am sharp. There I learned that some of the numbers on the emails etc. reflected their seating chart numbers for prayer. I thought how cool that Pema Lhamogurung was using “22” in her gmail address. It was not because it was her favorite number, or her age, it was because of the sacred place in the prayer room.

For the next six days I raced about with Lama Tenzin to get the new space of the Restaurant at C.E.D. ready, shopping for wood and glass to bring it together. We then focused on two of the young women that did not live at C.E.D. but are becoming part of it. We found a sewing machine, singer?, from this shop in old Dehradun run by a family of Sikhs. We had it ready for delivery so Shamra could begin her sewing enterprise at the C.E.D. busy section, with a food market, a place for hair care, now a restaurant, and other things. We also began planning to bring Taruna, a double-amputee, whom Lama Tenzin helped her become mobile by taking her to Jaipur Foot to get her prosthetics. Taruna comes from a Christian and Hindu family. Shamra comes from a very devout Christian family, especially her sister Shawn, whom would only hear music that was from the Christian world of music. CED also is home to a young mother, Anandy and infant Arte, and sister Bebita, who needed help in a nearby village. Bebita survived a severe case of acid or fire that had covered her entire face. She still has the scars for it and is getting along. Bebita and sister are also of the Islamic faith.
So with such an august interfaith group, Lama Tenzin and I decided we would have a New Years gathering for these women and their sister. We were able to find religious appropriate gifts for each person and faith - Hindu, Islam, and Christianity. At the New Years day party we were able to hand the gifts to each of family.

After connecting with Subhir of Dun Travel - Lama Tenzin’a travel agent the rest of the adventure - or so I thought got planned and reserved - mainly train tickets with sleeping bunk. We were able to get a budget trip together to use trains to go from Dehradun or a train station a couple of hours away to Lucknow and then to Bodhgaya and back by 15 January 2017. One-way it was probably about 50 hours of training. I took a day to see Lucknow, a majority Muslim city, and slept a some Government Guest House that Subhir set up as comp.

3.1.17

Departing from Lucknow, I was excited to finally get to Bodhgaya, which I heard about from various spiritual travelers. A day in Lucknow happened to be just right, visiting a city park, a cafe called 'Sheroes' run by women that had acid thrown upon them as a way families and others judge the conduct of women in a double standard way.

Now I arrived at the Lucknow train depot an hour or so prior to departure. I read the schedule for departures and the platform. I situated myself on the platform, and proceeded to verify with those around me this was the right place. I spoke at length with India military of Nepali descent. Again verifying I was in the right place. I followed a cow that was taking his time making his way down the platform. I couldn't figure out if he had come down a long stepped staircase or across the tracks.

With time of departure approaching, word came that there was a two-hour delay. I stayed around to make sure a delay was really happening. I walked up and out of platform to the central train station. The schedule still had not changed on the big electronic board. I started perusing the station and then I went up some stairs. I happened to hear a loudspeaker that my train was boarding on altogether different platform. To me, it was a unusual that I even heard the loud-speaker ,as I had never taken note before. All passengers were being asked to board. Thank goodness I heard it and got on. A miracle to be in a place to be able to actually hear and listen to a pertinent announcement at the time. There had been prior announcements.

Finally near-breathless, I walked through the coach to identify my seat, alas there it was, I was, feeling very lucky. It is a compartment with three levels of beds on each side. I start placing my luggage and am somewhat relieved that a person speaking English says hello. Mistakenly they placed a women in a compartment of men. It was truly to my benefit. Across from me was Klara Hendrycboua from the Czech Republic. She now resides in Dharamsala at the Tibetan Library. Klara is researching and studying Tibetan texts and has been for two years.

We get into wide ranging topics from her perspective on Tibetans - especially those that are refugees. Having dated a Tibetan she has a very personal experience. She is a little miffed that more Tibetans, especially the young, don't learn their own spiritual ways and don't show curiosity. Instead, there is an entitlements mentality based on the refugee classification.

Then her real knowledge of Tibetan Buddhism she shared generously. We review the meaning of 10 mantras, their spelling, how they sound by recording her voice saying them. The AUM or OM symbol is made of three elements representing the mind (top circle), the wings (speech), and the base (body). She includes the chant, didididi. . .that the C.E.D. Kids also use in their morning prayer. It is used to warm up the vocal chords.

There are different approaches to Buddhism, which she described as different paths to enlightenment, with consequences for not following the way - once you have committed. She emphatically said do not be initiated and take the vows if you are not ALL in. Each buddhist lineage, like Terravadic, has differences regarding how many lifetimes it may and has to be practiced to arrive at nirvana.

It helped me decide how I would approach my Kalachakra experience and it freed me to check out Khatmandu, Nepal for part of the 10 day period. I feel my discussion with Klara was my 'Tibetan Buddhism' initiation. One talk with Nymgal, chief personal assistant to Kuten La, the Medium of Tibet's Chief State Oracle, about the meaning of OM MA NI PAD ME HUM and how to say mantras was also very helpful. Each syllable has a meaning whereby you are asking that attribute to elevate to the consciousnessness of the Buddha. OM = Mind, Speech, Body; MA NI = Wisdom. & Intellect, PAD ME = all grow as a Jewel of the Lotus, HUM = Pivot to be the highest Buddha consciousness and with compassion radiate this desire to all sentient beings in the 6 desire realms of the enlightened, god, demi-god, human, animal, and hell realm.

5.1.17

So at last I am in the heart of the Kalachakra. Buddhists from around the world gather. Estimates range from 50,000 to 100,000. The numbers were depressed because the Chinese ordered home Chinese Tibetans or else lose jobs, etc.. Also, China forced Mongolia to withdraw it's invitation for the planned Dalai Lama to visit.

Despite all of this news a festive atmosphere with the most intense level of devotion and respect for His Holiness the Dalai Lama the 14th is always on display. Large tents are ready to provide cover for the Buddhist teachings to be given by H.H.D.L. are already in overflow especially for Himalayan people. All people not inside the large tents with video monitors sit outside gates facing toward H.H.D.L.. The lines to get in the tents are as long as a 1/2 mile, several lines, one for monks, one for people from the Himalayan region, Indians, foreigners, and the general public, VIPS, media.

I had arranged with Phagyab Rinpoche through Tim Trumpeter that I could reserve a bed during the Kailshakra. Bodhgaya is a revered place where the Buddha meditated under the Bodi Tree. Each year Tibetans from around the world gather to the tune of 50,000 to 70,000, swamping the towns existing population. The His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama himself leads an initiation and teachings over a 10 day period. For non-speakers, a radio with a station for your language was available to understand the teachings done in Tibetan.

Upon learning about the teachings each day led by the Dalai Lama, I went in search of an fm radio that tunes into simultaneous translation of the Dalai Lama. My cell could not be brought into security areas. I found the Digital Store. Just as I am looking at radios, I SAW A NECHUNG MONK WHO WORKS WITH THE ORACLE. WE HAD JUST HOSTED THEM IN SF AND THE U.S. tour, OCT -NOV. 2016. I jokingly told the sales person to not sell to him. It was Nymgal, the personal assistant to Kuten La. His place of staying was only a half-block from where I was staying. He invited me to come and see the other monks, have tea, dinner. I thanked him and said I would. I was just so excited to run into him, as I wanted to see them but did not have a direct contact. Now to me, that is a major synchronistic 'upward spiral.'

Two more monk meetings, sort of like this would occur. On the last leg of my return trip from Nepal was a monk who knew my name and traveled with the Oracle on his U.S. tours. It was refreshing to speak with him following a long layover and wait to get on the road. At my last lunch with the Phagyab Rinpoche he had his brother join us. He said hi and there was a strange familiarity. Turns, out in 2008, I had visited the Sera Monastery after being in Chennai. I had lost my phone or left it in a cab while celebrating the Jubilee of the Bon Secours Nuns. I met his brother after a train ride to Mysore, a bus ride and auto-rickshaw ride to meet him. He was kind enough to vouch for me so I could get an Indian sim card with a basic cell phone. Now, there he was across the table. Oh yeah, we probably remembered at the same time this experience. He is a highly learned Geshe in the Tibetan monk world.


6.1.17

The visit to Nepal seems to come together easily and under budget. Kerry, a women with our Phagyab Rinpoche group suggested I book at this clean inexpensive place called, Boudha Inn. It came in at under $15 a night. I would also save money by not having to cover the expenses of my room in Bodhigaya that was $50/night. After some research I worked a deal with a travel agent to get to the Nepal border for under half as much for flights and other hiring car deals.

Psyched, I left at 5 am in the car with a Nepali. Dinesh the travel agent assured me that he would get me across the border and secure a bus ride to Khatmandu. When we got to the border, the driver ushered me and this Nepali into a horse-drawn rickshaw. Again, the driver said that the Nepali would help me find a bus from the border to Khatmandu. I felt excited for this classic mode of travel and I got in the back of this cart with my luggage, and the Nepali hops on the front with the driver.

OK so we start moving through the border territory. At one point we pass some Nepali police, and I would later realize the driver and Nepali agreed that to get through these 'open borders' they would simply move directly to the Nepali side. The horse drawn driver dropped us and asked that the Nepali join me to find a bus. Needless to say I was dumbstruck, where was Indian immigration, where was the Nepali border patrol to stamp my entry and get the visa. With my atrocious Nepali, I asked when on the bus would we go through the Nepali Border. I heard what I wanted to hear and thought the Nepali border patrol would enter the bus and take care of things.

While waiting for the departure of the bus, I strike up a conversation with a digital shop owner and get some earthphones. I also get Indian rupees exchanged for Nepali rupees. I am just chatting with the store owner 1/2 hour to departure. Then the Nepali shop owner informed me there is a time change from India to Nepal of fifteen minutes. That means the bus was loading. I rapidly walked across the street and to the bus departure. Time is ticking, all the travel and bus offices are dark, so I do a mad dash going from 1 dark office to another to find my luggage to put on the bus.
The bus promised WiFi, NOT. And as we started winding our way up the mountain in the dark, continual drafts of wind came through the front window on either side of the bus. The window was either non-existent or it couldn't be closed. I did not realize how steep and narrow this trip was, until I returned by Jeep in the daytime several days later.

I kept asking if we were in Khatmandu, I was waved off several times. Same thing would happen when I thought we had stopped to have a bathroom break. My lack of language or simple word preparation, really gets to me. Anyhow they finally said this is it. I was expecting a central terminal for the capitol city. Instead, it was a dirt parking lot - that's it. They were telling me it's another hour, but I thought I was in Khatmandu. I was in KHT at the outer ring a street that circles the whole city,

I arrived at 7 am and the hotel was happy to welcome me in at this time for the day ahead. It was Sunday, and high on my mind is how I could become legally in Nepal. Due to my border crossing, I had received no Indian departure stamp, no Nepali entry stamp or visa.

Nepal Immigration

,
See ...'Gary when back to Nepal border and he sets me with an electronic ricksha and tells him to visit the Nepali and Indian immigration off

Putting your legal status in the hands of strangers that do not speak you language

7.1.17

Biki, Monkey temple, Mandala of sunrise, orphanage, Thamel Bangara dancing

8.1.17

Nisha at Java Coffee
Tech for girls focus, may come to US to study
Vol with Non-profits

10.1.17

The return trip from Khatmandu would occur with a Nepali corrected visa and stamp of entry on the passport. This took three days of Nepali inefficient immigration work. Each day I would arrive at Nepali immigration and each day there were new instructions of what I needed to provide them, data with written proof of where I stayed, what were my train tickets. All of these things I had to construct hard copy versions of purely electronic transactions. They refused to look at anything but actual print-outs of tickets, invoices from hotels and places I had stayed. All of this I had no such hard copies. I then went about re-constructing as much of a paper trail as possible. First, I needed a C.E.D. note confirming that I had stayed there and not at a hotel. Next, I had to get copies of my air tickets which I had not brought because I did not know I would need them for verification. My stay in Lucknow was comped, meaning I did not pay for it, nor did I have any written receipt. Day 1 Kathmandu Nepali Immigration I heard all of the documentation they needed just to make a determination of what to do. Electronic info on my phone or iPad was not relevant to them.

By the third day of going up and down stairs and getting this or that from one department, I finally got to the decisionmaker. He questioned me as if I was guilty as charged. I explained everything as best I could, including some of the innane requests by the people handling the process. The final step for a determination was in grasp. They made up a fine that I would have to pay in U.S. dollars. Here, I was fortunate that Diane Federico had provided me with some U.S. cash to purchase a couple of items. That U.S. money was key to getting across the goal line of paying their fines so I could finally get the ‘missing’ entry stamp from Nepal. At least when I get to the border, I could pass through the Nepali border without incident.

At border meet ticket guy for bus, he heard my frustration at not seeing Nepali Immigration, found an electric rickshaw,
On India side, hand off to poor communication rickshaw rider to get bus to Gaya, nearly everyone said their wasn't a direct. He took me 20 minutes into Raxell town, got worried I am in middle of nowwhere, not good at communicating, finally arrived at bus terminal - purchase a ticket for 6 hours later, Hang out at HP gas station,

After getting back into Bodhgaya following a 24 hour trip, that began with a crowded Jeep ride around sheer downward mountain slopes
Ram faith and sentient connection::
Send compassion to all sententbeings doing mantras
OM MA NI PAD ME hHUM - SIX SYLLABLES FOR 6 REALMS OF DESIRE:
Enlightened, Gods, Demigods, Humans , Animals pivot to action and thought elevate to Buddha consciousnessm and share compassion with all sentient beings, to be cause of happiness, free of suffering and live in equantimity.

13.1.17

Miraculous moments appear to happen more frequently on trips especially when the language in that place you may know five words. Embarrassing though it is, that was me in In India and Nepal.

It feels miraculous because you are putting complete faith, even the safety of your life, under somebody else's care. It just happened on my trip by auto-right clshaw from Bodhgaya and the train station in Gaya - a 12 km trip on typically choatic rural and urban settings. Given that time in traffic is a true 'wild' card, I figured leave 2 1/2 hours before train departure. Some of the Indians, with confidence said a hour is sufficient as it only takes 20 minutes.

So before I got into the auto-rickshaw, I said where and agreed on a fair price, not the lowest. So I thought it was all good. Then through a series of actions, I thought the rickshaw was dangerous and I needed to change. He kept looking and checking something under the rickshaw. So he pulls over - stops on the side of road and makes hand signals with his phone, “someone is coming.” At this time, I am getting a little worried and irritated. I urged him to flag another rickshaw down. He didn't, then he started driving slowly. And he made a left turn toward a rural road and I am getting uptight - though I am putting into practice my breathing and mantra with EGRET, I also was remembering to relax - Hakuna Matata - no worries. Then after some time I directly and authoritatively said 'Gaya Railroad.' He appeared to understand and not just mimic my words - which happens a lot when you are communicating in languages with minimal vocabulary.

Then, after I was emphatic - he makes a u-turn. I am wondering where the hell were we going. He went into an HP gas station and got some fuel. Then we continue in the u-turn direction. I am concerned that he 's gonna take me back. I am looking at signs hoping to see the symbol for railroad tracks. Nothing. I finally see that we are in Gaya, I have a little more hope. He was weaving in and out of traffic avoiding cars heading our way.
It feels like it takes eternity and we finally get to the train terminal. I was grateful and relieved I was there, and did not get pawned off to another driver in the middle of a dark country road. Once I saw my driver and realized he could have been 14, I felt concern for this driver and his use of this unsafe vehicle.


17.1.17

Humanitariian. With an Hero
Ranji, Father - taking to hospital
Immediate help offered to Ranji
Saying bye at trainstatiol
Misplaced sympathy basd ON YOUR EXPERIENCE OF WHAT IT WOULD BE LIKE TO BE DEAF, NOT THE ACTUAL PERSONS EXPERIENCE = PROJECTION

MIMICRY OF LANG. IS GENERATING FEELING OF CONNECTION BY HEARING WHAT YOU WANT TO AND EXPECT, NOT ACTUAL COMMUNICATION OF REALITY
- HUGE BASIS FOR MISUNDERSTANDING = EG. LEARNING FOR PEMA OF ADDITON = REAL LEARNING VS MIMICRY

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