My North Indian travels safely behind me, the fragrance of the lotuses blooming on Srinagar's Dal Lake clings to my breast in the morning fog and returns to my overflowing mind.
So many things to ponder, I have no idea where to even begin expressing them. Yet there's no way I can keep it all from pouring out.
Of all the places I wanted to go, so many were only reachable after roughing it for long periods of time. Leaving at daybreak, driving on the edges of cliffs on the 4000m high layered peaks of the Himalayas. By noon, traces of the truth would appear before me like a mirage.
The combination of yellow dust, black soot, and a lack of oxygen leaves my lips completely parched. For a second I wonder why this suffering is happening to me, but then I quickly feel a sense of shame, raising my palms together with a sense of awe and wonder, and bow a few times in silent meditation. Suddenly, the meaning of the Tibetans' full body prostration prayer rings clear in my heart . . .
Ahhhhh...... I'm so grateful for this karma.
Only as night turns to pitch black is my hungry belly sated. Among these mountains where not a single light can be found, the facilities the region is most proud of end up being a shabby hotel that was more like a rustic inn. Yet it was there in the dark sky that I could see the glory of the full moon... a sight that would certainly be described as "sublime beauty."
This pristine and refreshing light of the moon is often thought of as something symbolic, signifying a divine force that purifies even a mind that is unable to forgive others. But my goodness! Tonight was the kind of night where the symbolic became real, the beauty striking to the core of my heart.
At dawn as well, though no lights came on, as the candle wax dripped down and I splashed on the few drops of water available to wash my face, I felt as though nothing was missing, my mind was nothing other than abundance and gratitude.
In the good-natured faces of these ancestors of the Tubo Kingdom, close to the heavens and darkened tan, you can catch a glimpse of their beautiful minds, steeped in a daily living faith, offering kindness to others each and every day.
It's no longer surprising for the city of Leh to see even Western foreigners visit, as this city is the peaceful home to a living and breathing form of Tibetan Buddhism. I was most impressed with a young Israeli couple I met at one temple there. I suppose we were able to easily talk to one another because everyone who was there shared a something in common in that we were all devoted to the happiness of others.
There was one beautiful young man in particular. In line with his strict Indian upbringing, he was taking time off of school because he had to raise money for his older sister's dowry. Life was hard, but he wasn't going to quit. He even spoke of starting up a Korea-related business some day.
During my long trip, the Indian people could not have been more magnanimous in taking care of me. They showed sincere appreciation for the love I offered their culture and they never failed to offer me warm greetings when coming or going.
India's history and beautiful culture...
My thirteen-day meeting and separation. . . this pilgrimage, its great experiences, and then my return home... Now, it all seems as if a dream.
Wow. What a wonderful trip it was..
lotus - two palms joined