Sonam

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

I am curious about how the temple looks in the dark so I go and let my candle late in the evening. I find Sonam at the temple’s entrance. His parents came from Tibet in 1959 and raised him in a deep and wild region of India. He gets to see them during the winter holidays. Sonam in 30 and he’s wearing the monk habits since he was 14.

He lives a simple life, following the Dharma (The Way, the Buddhist teachings) and this makes him feel happy. Monks like Sonam cannot get married or have any sexual intercourse. He’s very open and answers my questions without hesitations but in the end he asks me to don’t publish his photo.

Sonam lives in the main temple, where he has a bed, meals, space for studying, praying and meditating. He receives around 2 euros per month for buying soap, toothpaste and so on. He doesn’t want more and he doesn’t need more. We have a very interesting conversation on Buddhist teachings and he clears many of my doubts and questions. Which clarity leads to more questions. 🙂

I ask him what he’s passionate about and his mind searches the answer for a while. Because he loves everything he does…

He sometimes goes swimming, in the weekends. He likes to study grammar and Tibetan poetry.

“May all the human beings on this earth live in peace and harmony!”

Sonam is one of those who forget about themselves and pray for all of us… For me, for you, for the Chinese people…

The Olympics of Shame

The reason I’m writing right now is to ask to light a candle. Because I feel a bit guilty for not writing here for long time, I’ll tell you more about it.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Sursa: http://tchrd.org/images/poster/olympic.jpg

The Olympic Games of Shame. It happened in China. Meanwhile, thousands of Tibetans have disappeared or are imprisoned in Chinese camps.
The Olympics want to:
– contribute, through sport, to the construction of a better and more peaceful world;
– promote a peaceful society, where human dignity is a core value;
– promote respect to the universal and fundamental principles of ethics.
All this while:
– the gold medals that makes everybody talk about it was obtained by illegal mining in Tibet, where 1.200.000 Tibetans lost their lives to the Chinese invasion and occupation;
– the silver is illegally obtained from Tibetan monasteries, 6.000 of which were destroyed, thus leading to the loss of thousands of years of Tibetan culture;
– bronze, the most honorable third place is nothing but a big mark of shame on the face of Chinese authorities, who break in the most miserable way the basic human rights.,
A hundred kilometers away from a cultural genocide, thousands of athletes will performed in the name of peace!

I’ve gone through so many adventures meanwhile…I have recorded some of them and I’ll tell you about them here or when we meet.
In the period I spent in Himalaya I lived among Tibetans and I am deeply impressed by their simplicity, joy and inner peace. They are probably the most peaceful people in the world. In march 2008 had bitter clashes with an oppressing regime that has nothing to do on these lands.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Sursa: http://laspalmasport.com/Dalai%20Lama.jpg

In Dharamsala, India, is the headquarters of the Tibetan government in exile as well as that of Tibet’s political and spiritual leader, the Holy Tenzin Ghyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama. I am here after I solicited, by phone, to be received. A Tibetan official invited me to a the lectures Dalai Lama himself holds.
I never could imagine that one day I’ll be given the privilege to sit only meters away from this king of kindness and compassion, to receive his teachings.
Security is at a maximum, each day the guards here check me in detail. No mobile phone or camera are allowed.
For 5 hours a day Dalai Lama talks to us about soul, path, ignorance, wisdom, truth, body, mind, spirit and enlightenment.

At the temple’s gates there are the militants for a free Tibet and for the release of political prisoners as well as lots of journalists and many tourists. 6 of the monks are in their 10th day of hunger protest, with no water and no food. They have fainted several times.
I have seen last night a very objective presentation of the actual situation In Tibet, by Robert Burns, journalist and professor specialized in Tibetan studies. Tomorrow in the afternoon we’ll go to an orphanage for Tibetan children, whose parents are in jail or died. Together with some Israeli friends, trained in psychotherapy and/or theatre we’ll organize some interactive games and activities. It actually is that occidental feeling of “I want to do something…”. The children don’t suffer: they have no way to tell the difference and to understand their situation.

Besides, Tibetans smile anyway, no matter the disgrace they are in…
“March to Tibet”: tomorrow, supporters from India will march between Rajghat and Janta for a free Tibet.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

The reason I’m writing right now is to ask you to light a candle. “A Candle for Tibet”. While the candle burns I want to ask you to spend some moments thinking “how would that be”:
– not to be able to call your own father because if he answers he goes straight to jail;
– to don’t have a clue whether your own brother died in jail is alive or somewhere in between;
– to witness the disappearance from right under your eyes of a culture as rich and great as the Tibetan culture is;
– to not be allowed to pray to your own God;
– to be denied access to education;
– to be moved from place to place over night, to be cut away from your roots together with thousands of other families, all in the name of “protecting grass”…

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Thank you! Right now you are in a harmonious connection with 100 millions more people!
If you can, do promote the idea. If a friend of yours will light a candle, maybe he’ll thank you to.  🙂

Roopa

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

I start to miss somehow deeper conversations, those ones that go deeper than intercultural dialogue. In thesame day Roopa and two smart guys appear: Francisco from Spain and Anurah form Canada/India. New topics, stories, recent information, midnight thoughts…It all happens with harmony, honesty and authenticity.

Roopa is very natural and spontaneous. In the category “nothing just happens”, it seems that she’s one of those persons I simply had to meet. Roopa comes from Mumbai but she spent many years out of India. She’s got the body of a 20 years old and I cannot believe her when she speaks about her age. Life offered her the chance to understand so many things and her spiritual perspective has strong grounds.

I leave from Arambol the next day but we meet again, by “coincidence”! We travel the same direction so she offers me transportation.  🙂

Our ways cross again in Mumbai and Roopa takes care of me when I get sick. Very attentive to my states and needs, full of affection and protective, Roopa is the perfect mother!

She’s got an amazing house and her daughter is a student in USA. I have no good enough words in my vocabulary to express my gratitude! A deep feeling of humanity. Pure and unconditional.

Arambol Beach

My room: very big, airy, with a huge bed and a fan just as huge on top; access to individual bathroom and a hall where I can dry clothes. I did not ask for all this comfort but they don’t have a lot of guests and they hope I’ll stay longer. It is, actually, the first place where I sleep for two nights in a row. 🙂

It is the perfect place for a junkie (drugs user). You can laze for many days, weeks, months… The largest LSD amount in the world was not used in Los Angeles, London or South America but here, in Goa. One can buy 10 grams of hashish with less than 10 euros.

For over 400 years, until 1961 Goa was under Portuguese domination. The time of the Portuguese domination has marked architecture, religion (the vast majority are Catholics), even table manners! Goa is one of the few places in India where cutlery is being used. The occidentalization takes nothing out of the excellent Indian cooking. In the menus in Goa there are many occidental elements, but I prefer the local dishes. There will be a distinct article on this, stay tuned! 😀

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

There are very few people, that’s because the season is closing. Now you can only find here Indian tourists and people in love with the place. The scenery is amazing, like in the most beautiful dream. There are majestic cliffs, sweet-salty water (“The sweet lake”, 10 meters away from the Ocean), friendly people and tranquility. Nonetheless, Goa being a tourist destination, people are more commercial-oriented. Arambol is the north-most of Goa beaches as well as the wildest. This sounds weird to any European: the season is closing because of high temperatures! Although the Ocean breeze make the temperature bearable, this time of the year is considered to be off-season. To me the weather is perfect: there is very little difference of the night-day temperatures; the sea is always warm and welcoming; the monsoon (the rainy season) is yet to come.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Is not such a welcoming place for who doesn’t look for drugs: I cannot find my place in this small society where the vast majority are drug users. I finally find compatible people: a Spanish guy, a Russian girl, a couple coming from Singapore, a Indian girl, a Canadian guy and two Israelis with a guitar.

I first found out about the term “Goa” at the Rosia Montana festival FanFest, where there was one Goa tent installed. That’s another story, for the next time we meet. 🙂

Thoughts

The frustration I feel right now comes from the lack of being present, here and now. The surrounding atmosphere can only be enjoyed and this is not enough for me.

On one side there are the duties, the promises I have made: the take me back in the past. I am way behind with my notes for the site. I have to talk about things and events that happened and are now finished and this also takes me back in the past.

The “here and now” is not enough for me. I am not in a state of total acceptance of things that happen, no matter how they happen and that’s why I start to plan my future in greater details. Here I am with a tourist guide of India (1200 pages) in my arms, deciding what I should do next, what I shouldn’t do next, how to and how not to, where to stay…

Future… human mind needs past and future in order to exist! In the present all what I have is sensation, feeling, living. Even if I have pain, there is a path that leads to death of… thought… is the path zero! 🙂 I cannot measure path zero, I cannot fully comprise it in some sort of mental pattern, yet it is there, present, in every moment…

This balancing movement between past and future, with only fugitive moments spent in the present (if I don’t simply ignore the present altogether…) really does affect me. It deprives me of my joy of living, it deprives me of being alive and being in contact with everything that surrounds me.
We were raised and conditioned into being materialists. We either are affected by the past and live in its shadows or we eagerly look towards the future to get our… fulfillment. All of this is transformed into a mechanical oscillation past-future, interrupted by brief sparkles of present. The longing for childhood actually is the longing for the continuous and uninterrupted joy, the longing for present tense. There are no other tenses but present tense!

Religion also uses the need for time, when it promises a future of… enjoyment of the present! 🙂 Blind as we are, we are looking for the paradise in the future and we fail to notice the beauty, the joy and the love to be given and to be received all around us.

Here’s how, out of longing for the present, I might even reach Goa to buy living and to buy feeling. Cheap and flavored, it stops thoughts and it freezes moments. Or I might try extreme sports, forcing me to live and feel at high intensity. The danger carves into time and expands present. When both drug and danger pass, the “occidental” state of search, insufficiency and torment returns, yet again…

As I talk about all of these things I look at the feelings and the suffering occurring inside me. The mere gesture of being in contact with me and being observant and acceptant of all that I am brings back presence…

I thank YOU for being with me, here and now! 🙂