24.10.2012 23 °C
There was a massive storm here last night with huge claps of thunder and lightning and when we woke up we saw that it had snowed quite heavily in the mountains. We also figured out why we could hear every noise from the street in our hotel room, one of our windows is missing the glass!! It does have a screen though so hopefully that is enough to keep animals out especially the monkeys who are apparently quite destructive here. Our guide norbu who is just lovely was telling us a story about a monkey in Delhi who snatched a baby and carried it up to the power lines and was throwing it to anther monkey back and forth! Can you imagine!! I asked if the baby was OK and he said yes he ended up with a fractured arm as when they dropped it there was such a large crowd below trying to rescue it they managed to catch him. Crazy place this India.
We had breakfast at our new local hangout and then headed to the temple to meditate which I actually managed to do, it was very brisk this morning and you ciukd feel the snow in the air. On the way back from the temple we spotted this groovy little stationary shop and kim and I went a bit crazy buying some very cool bits and pieces. I then spotted a beautiful quilted rug with elephants on it and decided I needd to own it, after a bit if bartering I managed to get him to sell it to me for 2000 rupees which is about $35
We then rushed back to the hotel as it was getting close to 10am and that is when we were heading to the Dongyu Gatsal Long nunnery which is run by the venerable Tenzin Palamo. We piled into a tourist car which is just a fancy name for a taxi and headed to the nunnery which is about 1.5 hr drive away, the trip was just as crazy as the bus trip but by this stage we are used to the mental way indians drive! We stopped for lunch on the way and kim and I learned that snack food in India means a small meal and not to order spring rolls as they literally make them from scratch. Jan our tour leader told us that they may have even ran down the the road to buy the ingredients to feed us.
We then get to the nunnery where we met with project co-ordintator who was lovely and welcoming. We had brought along a huge pile of biscuits and cake to share with the nuns who ranged in age from 10 - 40. We had also brought a kata along with a donation for the nunnery to be given to tenzin palm I and to be blessed by her. I was very excited to meet this lady as she was the reason I explored Buddhism in the first place. I had read her book a few years ago and it had inspired me to look further into the religion and I couldn't quite believe I was here meeting her, I would not be here in India if it weren't fo her it was definately a goose bump moment. After meeting with tenzin palamo and listening to her talk about the nunnery (which is stunning and beautiful and very well organised) she also told us about her oush to get nuns in the Tibetan tradition ordained behind novice and it just made me realise that no matter how noble the religion there are still flaws and sexism exists everywhere. There will be a meeting tomorrow where they will be discussing whether to allow this to happen so everyone cross fingers or say a prayer that it will be done!
After the talk with tenzin we head to a building where all the nuns are chanting the Tibetan scripts, it was breathtaking and the room was gorgeous, we sat and listened while they served us coffee and biscuits and cake (although kim and I missed out on cake and biscuits). The lttle 10.year old nuns were adorable, cheeky and funny. Ten
in had told us that she preferred the nuns to be at least 12 years old but depending on the circumstances they take the younger ones. Some of these nuns go into retreat for 3 years or even a lifetime...it is a whole new world. I found the whole experience incredily moving and inspiring and it has motivated me to explore this religion even further
We then drove back to the hotel, and we go through a festival with fireworks where the Hindus are re-enactng the killing of some demons, there is never a dull moment in this country. We were very lucky to have norbu in our car and so he answered all our questions and told us stories like the one about the monkey. When we got back found a restaurant and had something to eat and just chilled, I had to promise to bring back my coke bottle the next day though,lol
Tomorrow we head to the Norbulingka institute which is dedicated to preserving Tibetan art and culture so that should be interesting :-)
kim Tomorrow we are heading to