Dharamshala

The Construction Site

The construction site scene is fascinating in so many ways: first, it’s visually stunning, then I think about: the construction method, the women’s role, the carrying technique, the cost of labor versus machinery.  And if I start feeling sorry for them, I want to remember what Tashi, our driver, said to us in a different but similar context: “It’s a job!” by which he meant that there are pride and appreciation in having a job, any job.

Geshe Lhakdor

Geshe Lhakdor was my teacher for the last ten days in Dharamshala.  He is a top Buddhist scholar whom the Dalai Lama in-trusted with the Tibetan in-exile most critical mission: preserving, disseminating, and continuing their unique culture.  The audience was thirty-five university students from all over India; they are smart and curious.  It’s a pure joy to see and listen to their minds in action.  Geshe Lhakdor handled us with grace and wisdom.

It was a change of pace from the intensive sightseeing phase to a more introspective and scholarly experience.  I am grateful for the enrichment and in-depth understanding of Buddhism.

Heavy rainstorms of 30 minutes to an hour in duration are daily occurrences, after which the air feels like it has been cleansed from the smog and pollution.  The misty clouds are low, and sometimes below our hotel balcony, at the top of McLeod Ganj Hill.  The temperature is high, 70 to 80f, and the humidity is high as well.  It’s my first time experiencing this kind of weather for more than a day; it feels strange.

The Kashmir Valley is under curfew.  Thirty-seven people died last week in separatist riots.  It seems like the number is rising every day; thus, we take Srinagar is off our plan.  Now en route to Amritsar, to learn something about Sikhism.

Buddist Proverbs

During the stay, I collected a few Buddist proverbs, some associated with the revered Dalai Lama.  The themes of death and forgiveness were dominant.

  • Living right is about preparing for death.
  • To whom emptiness is possible, everything is possible.
  • Don’t make your mind like a feather, don’t get excited too much about good news and despair deeply of bad news.
  • People with strong purpose leave a strong imprint.
  • Meditation is habituation with positive emotions through which one becomes a compassionate person.

The Paradox of our Age, by the 14th Dalai Lama

We have bigger houses but smaller families
more conveniences, but less time
we have more degrees, but less sense
more knowledge, but less judgment
more experts, but more problems
more medicines, but less healthiness
We’ve been all the way to the moon and back,
but have trouble crossing the street to meet
the new neighbor
We built more computers to hold more
information to produce more copies than ever,
but have less communication
We have become long on quantity,
but short on quality
These are times of fast foods
but slow digestion
Tall man but short character
Steep profits but shallow relationships.
It’s a time when there is much in the window
but nothing in the room

Let Go

of everything that
hurt you, but never
forget what it taught you.

Forgive Others

They may not deserve it, but you deserve peace.

Six Ethics to Life

Before you Pray – Believe
Before you Speak – Listen
Before you Spend – Earn
Before you Write – Think
Before you Quit – Try
Before you Die – Live

Meditation on Dying

It is true to say that most of us
dislike thinking about our own death.
We spend most of our lives amassing
possessions of embarking on
an endless number of projects,
as though we were going to live forever,
as though it was not absolutely certain that
one day – tomorrow perhaps,
or even in the next moment-
we will leave everything behind.