A few waking hours, a few walks in the rain, and another beautiful trip

Boulder Creek Travel Blog

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The buildings in the middle of the redwoods
The dormitory was kept at a somewhat brisk 60 degrees. It was a welcome relief after being outside in the 40 degree weather, but when the adrenaline and activity went away, it was still really chilly! Luckily I had my super ugly but very warm coat that my dad just bought me for my birthday and I ended up sleeping in it with a comforter on top! The floors were carpeted thankfully as you can't wear shoes inside the buildings whatsoever, but the restrooms being set apart from the dormitories I had to brace myself for the cold and would run out in my big coat and sleep shirt only for the 3 seconds it took to get there! Gosh I hope I didn't break any Buddhist tenets dressed like that!

I woke up at around 8am. Much as I hate my phone, Verizon is awesome.
one corner of the main center =) my favorite corner!
Even here in the middle of NOWHERE, I had reception so I was able to look at email a bit. I woke up and was finally able to see my surroundings. Apparently not only the dorm, but the restroom had sunroofs everywhere so the light came streaming in that morning. Luckily I was on the bottom bunk so I got a little more rest and braved the cold shortly after 9am. Jen Kim and her boyfriend Jacob were already awake, and most people there had taken breakfast and were now in the prayer room meditating around the relics.

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.
Redwoods!
Are you nuts?! Glamorous?! Hahaha.. =) I truly can't wait for Paris!

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.
At lunch today =)
I just wonder whether or not they'd really survive in the world outside of this sanctuary in the middle of the woods.

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".
relics and prayer wheel - this one is special and has millions of prayers scrawled on microfilm inside!
I just wanted to take pictures and sit near the furnace as my socks were totally wet by then. I would leave them to the arguments!

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.
Prayer flag maybe?
Who knows, I'll have to look into it!

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.
a stupa
Stories like that make me teary!

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.


Biglush_23 says:
Looks like ur having more fun in Santa Cruz than i am hahahaha!!
Posted on: Dec 30, 2008
jenn79 says:
Nhi: ahahah!!! =)
Posted on: Dec 26, 2008
hirondellenhi says:
i should set my ger here!
Posted on: Dec 26, 2008
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The buildings in the middle of the…
The buildings in the middle of th…
one corner of the main center =) m…
one corner of the main center =) …
Redwoods!
Redwoods!
At lunch today =)
At lunch today =)
relics and prayer wheel - this one…
relics and prayer wheel - this on…
Prayer flag maybe?
Prayer flag maybe?
a stupa
a stupa
View from the cormintory
View from the cormintory
Main building of Vajrapani Institu…
Main building of Vajrapani Instit…
Offerings of some grain?
Offerings of some grain?
closer look at the offerings
closer look at the offerings
how pretty is she! and under a jap…
how pretty is she! and under a ja…
Entrance sign
Entrance sign
Dining area!
Dining area!
The room where the relics are
The room where the relics are
Buddhist relics!
Buddhist relics!
More Buddhist relics
More Buddhist relics
Boulder Creek
photo by: mahoney