Thursday, July 30, 2009

Mere Talk

I know how much touched he was by you; Why would he cling otherwise, when he knows that it isn't a religion that will free his soul?

When you know something different in your heart and you pretend to be happy with what is actually around you, I think you are cheating yourself.

Nothing is By Chance

Sangay got an assignment to take a picture of a rare statue in the Guru Lhakhang in Pomeysa, Paro. Since he knew that the drive was going to be long and rough, he wanted a friend and he asked me to come along. Since I had not been to this monastery, I readily agreed.

We had to ask several people on the way if the road we were taking was right. The road was steep upwards, narrow and rough. When we finally reached a village after driving in the dust for around two hours, we asked a person, where the monastery is located. The old man had problem hearing, so we had to look for another man. He showed us the way—and we went further up. The rough drive was forgotten; the green lush meadow and the green fluttering leaves gave me a very cheerful mood. Besides, Sangay is a nonstop talker. We probably shared many secrets.

We finally reached the monastery. A gelong showed us the place where lama stays. The Lama, a very friendly man, gave us tea as soon as we reached inside. We realized only then that we should have taken a ‘chhanjay’. We are both careless in that sense and we forgot. Lama seemed a busy man. He had a guest that evening—the Tashigang Lam Neten. We stood in line to greet this guest and we quickly got out from his house to attend to our business.

I asked the young gelong who took us to the monastery: “Nochu, gati ley mo?” I asked it in a soft long tune. He said, “Tashigang ley en la.”

I squeaked with enthusiasm now and I asked, “Tashigang ogai ya?”

And to my utter surprise he answered that he is from Bartsham. Now, that is where I am from too. It was unimaginable for me to think that I was meeting a person from my village in a place so far away; a place that I didn’t even know existed. I asked him if the Lama was married and his wife was from Bikhar. I wanted to clear my doubt first. I met this lama before when I was in Tashigang. He was married to a classmate of mine. Though I forgot his face, I thought I sensed a familiarity I couldn’t really place.

This drove me totally surprised and it was still unbelievable. I then asked him about his mother and other siblings.

On my way back, I had to tell Sangay over and again that it was unbelievable; it is true that nothing is by chance. Who could have thought I would meet a person from there from my village? And then, as we drove back, we caught up with the taxi that dropped the lama to the monastery. And the taxi driver was my niece’s husband. Sangay and I were already talking about dropping at my niece’s house in Paro and we met her husband on the way. Things were—like—rippling in a circle around my heart. I couldn’t answer what fate this was. But if fate is always to present such ripples of pleasant surprises, I thought, there will not be any sadness.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Prayer for Swift Rebirth of Penor Rinpoche

You, the Penchen Vimalamitra, the jewel crest of 500 Pandits,
Have again demonstrated yet another reincarnation.
You are the matchless spreader of the essence of the dharma!
To you,  Pema Norbu, I supplicate!

And your reincarnation, the sublime Trulku,
Please compassionately care for us and re-appear swiftly!

Note: These four lines were composed by Penor Rinpoche II as long life prayer for his master Thupten Chokyi Langpo. But his master put Pema Norbu instead of his name and returned it to him, saying, "It should be your long life prayer and not mine." Thereafter, this four-line prayer has been adopted as a regular but shorter long life prayer of Penor Rinpoche and his successive incarnations.

On April 27, 2009, when Late H.H. Penor Rinpoche had just entered in the final meditative state, Khenpos and other authorities appealed H.H. Dungse Thinley Norbu Rinpoche to compose a Nyurjon Soldeb (swift-return prayer). The Rinpoche right away recited the above four lines and just made two-line addendum extempore, and instructed the mourners to chant it in the meantime and that he will be readying the longer one later.

[Translated by my friend]

Monday, July 13, 2009

Money & Women

As soon as I realized that I wouldn’t climb high in the academic world, I knew I had to find another way of earning a living. And from that day on, I started looking for an alternative living. I tried to think of a plan and I became so worried that I lost sleep. I had a vague dream but I feared to share this with anyone; I did not tell this to even my sister who was very close to me.

Then came my chance. I had a friend who held the same dream crested in his chest for years. He had wanted it ever since he knew that money is what drives the world. And now, though I am a fervent Buddhist, I wanted to leave my country for money. I wanted money more than anything else. I got married young, and had already divorced. I was only 28. But life started early for some people.

My dream came true. Money started flowing into my wallet. And I felt more comfortable in the world than ever before. And though, my qualification hasn’t still climbed over class eight, I could so easily talk with people who had done masters and PhD as if I was at par with them. I didn’t want to think that but as soon as I entered into conversation with someone, a thought so comfortably came into my mind—that I probably have more money than they could actually make in 20 years time being in the job they are in. And that always made me feel a little above them. I thought it is true that the money buys everything in the world.

I had several affairs but I somehow couldn’t come to settle for long term with anyone. And finally when I turned 42, after living for more than 10 years in another country, I wanted to return home.

I bought a bungalow that was envy of the people of Thimphu. I drove a new shiny prado and I dressed elegantly. I could sense women looking my way—I think I provoked in them a different kind of need. I enjoyed this attention; I even had a fling with few of them. But I never felt more attracted to anyone like I felt to that girl that night at a karaoke bar in Thimphu. She knew I was flirting with her. I had no plan to get married but this girl who barely looked 20 had me smitten.

I frequented that bar every night after that. After two weeks we were living together. I thought I had finally got through in life without any twist in fate—my dreams falling into place so smoothly. I set up a similar kind of bar for her. I did not sit beside her all day long. I started playing archery which kept me away from home all the time. I did not enjoy the scene in the bar where my wife smiled at all her male customers—closing her eyes as if she is so in love with them; smile might have been fictitious but I could see how they looked at her breasts. This sometime drove me mad. I heard people talking about my wife having affairs with someone called Sonam. I did not want to believe it and I didn’t. I loved her and she was still my wife.

Few differences ought to be there in life. I thought she showed less and less interest in me but I thought that was natural too as married life extended to years. But she gave birth to a baby boy who was so much Sonam than me, I couldn’t trick my eyes. I couldn’t trick my love either. Since then, I have been living alone. I have stopped looking at young girls. And I am thinking of taking life more seriously. I realize that money isn’t everything. Despite every material comfort I have, I feel as if there is a hole out there in my life. And I sometime feel so lonely that I cry. I am growing older everyday and I have started thinking of death more often than ever before. I am losing interest in money. I’m losing interest in women too. I think I am more confused than ever before. I have no dreams now, but I always have a nagging feeling of sadness.

This is Bhutan

I moved to Adelaide, South Australia 10 months ago. This decision was driven by my belief that family has to be together and pursuing your c...