A few waking hours, a few walks in the rain, and another beautiful trip
Boulder Creek Travel Blog› entry 2 of 2 › view all entries
December 25th, 2008 – by: jenn79
I woke up at around 8am. Much as I hate my phone, Verizon is awesome.
I took some pictures, wished for a cigarette (you can't smoke on the sacred land) and saw lots and lots of greenery. I also caked my pretty boots I bought for Paris with mud and one of the people at the Buddhist retreat from Paris commented on how she appreciated me bringing some glamour to them.
I spent some time downloading pictures and took a walk around the property. I saw a peahen (female version of a peacock), lots of birds, but no deer! They were around much earlier but had left already =( Ah well. Jen Kim shared a papaya with me and I shared some day old lemon pound cake I bought at the airport from Starbucks. There's a funny sense of sharing and communalism that I totally dig here!! And it was so nice seeing men in the kitchen!! Hahaa =)
I really enjoyed my time here. People were so nice, so good natured and so intelligent. I'm not going to go so far as claim I will instinctively trust any devout Buddhist, but I definitely lean in that direction now. Their teachings are truly that of kindness, peace and happiness.
We enjoyed a lovely 6 course lunch of polenta with mushroom sauce, tofu cakes, brussel sprouts, caesar salad, green beans and persimmon cake. It was really nice and I couldn't believe so little food fed so many people. Maybe because everything was organic so it seemed to fill our tummies and I was ready for a nap soon afterwards =) A group of 6 of us sat around and talked about life and eastern vs western philosophies. What struck me was how analytical these people were. They weren't pure spiritualists. They were regimental, logical and true intellectuals. I heard phrases like "lowest common denominator" and "publish or perish".
Shortly after lunch I ran upstairs to look at the relics more in detail. I find Buddhist altars somewhat intimidating. There's all this gold and crystal and the iconography is very complex and somewhat unnatural. I found out that Buddhist relics are basically Buddhist masters that have been cremated. Often when their ashes are sifted, amazing things are found in them, like gold and silver hairs, or even pearls and gems. These relics are physical evidence that their joy and power were so strong that they manifested as gems and pearls. The scientist in me wonders if they're just bad kidney stones that have been polished in the fire.
I also learned about prayer wheels and prayer flags. It's a very metaphysical ritual, there are prayers written on these wheels and on the flags, and they believe that when you turn a wheel the movement and energy you put into turning the wheel sends these blessing out into the world. Its similar with prayer flags where the wind blowing through the prayers written on these flags sends the prayers out, and as the flags disintegrate, their materal fibers bring the blessings to wherever they alight. There was also a story of one of the more whimsical monks (I believe who founded this center) who had a helicopter ride one day - he wrote prayers on toilet paper and let them loose below, blessing all the land below him with such a happy heart.
I was really sad to leave. I would miss the green tara ceremony and I missed the morning chanting because I wanted to take a walk around the property. I almost wished my taxi driver would not be able to find the place and I could stay another day. hehehe =) But alas, some other time, perhaps after a bit more study and understanding. To be present for a powerful Tibetan ceremony at this point in my life would either 1) be lost on me or 2) be too overwhelming I suspect..
Jen Kim was bottling water to absorb the energy of the relics when I woke up and went to the main house. I noticed some moss covered wooden stumps that really enchanted me as I crossed the bridge. I really wanted a cigarette. Back to the airport I went - barely 20 hours after I got there.
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