Friday, 14 February 2014

What a day

Well what a day! It started at 10.30 with Lama Tempa completing my Chod practice. He was wonderful and patient and explained so much to me. He also allowed me to video the entire Chod practice to help me develop it on my return home. I am so lucky to have spent this time with him and give him my heartfelt thanks and gratitude. Karma really brought us together and it never ceases to amaze me how the Universe acts to make these things possible.
Then we went to the Stupa where the air was electric. This is a full moon auspicious day when all merit is doubled, so there were a lot of pilgrims. There was a big police presence , they had sticks , guns and riot shields. They also had fire extinguishers. This is because a monk set fire to himself a couple of years ago in protest of China's occupation of Tibet. It felt very strange to see them, but everybody just kept on doing Kora as normal. We bought prayer flags to be hung from the Stupa together with a Kathang with our names on it. We received blessing from a Lama and bought incense to feed into the huge incense burners. There was a carnival atmosphere despite the police presence, and we had fun wishing everyone happy valentines. This evening following a rain shower it seemed a little quiet, then as the evening wore on more people started to gather around one of the monastery's . A large platform appeared covered in Katangs and flowers. Lots of young men started to chant and sing around it and threw vermillion powder over it and and one another. They were all very drunk, but very friendly. Very soon we were the only europeans around. When we asked what was happening they said it was a Buddha festival and also connected to a grandmother? She had said that everyone should get drunk and be happy, they told us to stick around and enjoy it with them. We felt slightly uneasy at this so decided to go and have dinner, however when we came out the festival was in full swing. Young poeple, and families with children were following the platform around. The young men were in very high spirits. A band was playing and everyone was chanting and singing. We decided to stick around and before long we were in the procession where we handed out sweets to the kids, some of who were a little afraid, I think because of our ethnicity more than anything else! Luckily the procession was making its way down the very busy main street towards our hotel, so we decided to stick with it. We ended up next to some of the police who usually won't speak to you and look quite stern, but a young one who saw me dancing to the music looked at me and said ' I like you'. It was so funny, we all laughed. When we arrived at our hotel we left the procession. Some of the guests had come out to see what all the noise was and seeing us leave the procession asked us what the protest was about. We just looked and laughed and said it's not a protest it's a festival for Buddha. Isn't it funny how we judge things. All they saw were noisy drunken young men stopping the traffic and jumping around covered in red dye and they thought the worst.Then they saw two middle aged Europeans following and didn't know what to think. They asked us and we didn't really know exactly what was going on but all we felt was the happiness and the love as all the Nepalese smiled at us and made us feel very welcome as we shared in their festival. God I feel so high on life it's amazing.  

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