Saturday, October 23, 2010

My gratitude

to have you browsing this, where I had my up(s) and down(s) expressed. India will be my last stop, if you are here from time to time, and would love to receive a postcard as a token of memory, for the time or feeling shared, across different time and space: on the same planet, leave me your address at tham.ontheroad@gmail.com

My pleasure.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

India

20.10.10

Terminating this blog.

Started to draft my last entry in the Paradise that I have for the past few years since few days ago, but there is this article before the last entry.

Reason for stop blogging is I suddenly found myself have nothing to speak/say. Seriously, I found this an illusion I need to break through. And as the date to India gets closer, I want to keep the whole India to myself. And I want to get less attach to Internet, as I always want but never discipline enough to put into action.

If nothing gets wrong, I will be heading to Sunauli tomorrow night, and will be in Varanasi the day after. I assumed Vanarasi as the first stop in India will be a huge shock, just like Calcutta as the first stop will be a shock, or India itself as a whole is actually a shock? I am not sure. Have too much mental preparation for this country that I always want to go since the day I know I want to travel, still have the excel sheet created may be in 2001 or 2002 about the places in India that I want to visit. I might have revised them for more than 100 times in the past years. It is in the hard drive that was with me for the past 2 years, always in my bag, but I have ceased checking on it or writing on it anymore. Traveling is no longer something planned or can be spread out in the excel sheet. And I am quite certain that a lot of places which attracted me in the past years have lost the charm. Not that they are no longer nice to visit, but once changes her motive.

Met a Swiss girl in the Korean temple in Lumbini. Did I tell you that after the Japanese monastery, I have stayed 2 nights at the Korean monastery? She stayed for a months in Varanasi and enjoying taking bath in the Ganges. She told us about the pregnant lady and baby and the one who died from disease, who deserved another life were throw into the river. I asked: are the body rotten? She said, well, it is too far for her to see. But they are in the same river. I asked, you think someone pick up the body in the downstream? Others laughed at my question.

Lumbini is a special place, the birth place of Buddha. I fall in love at first sight, but everything needs a second sight. I love it at second sight as well, but I prefer the first sight. I was entering the park from the back, realizing that there are a significant number of Muslim there, they are the conservative type who covered themselves with the full black clothing. Quick shocking after you left the Muslim world. I think the Himalaya range was all the time hidden in the cloud because I need to be impressed by Lumbini. The two days were great actually, we have our accommodation and 3 meals (buffet type) covered with 250Rp. And no chanting needed. Met Mika, who we met in Istanbul airport and slept on the floor beside me in Sharjah airport, had really good sharing on his dramatic life. Fun. But I am leaving for India. Finally. Finally.

Finally.

PS: Will have one entry to terminate it properly. I promised.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Overnight at the World Peace Pagoda

09/10/10

I was still in my dream when someone slapped so hard on my door to wake me up. I knew it is 430am, the last time I woke up was 12am in the midnight. This is the typical way I behaved when I need to wake up early, yet without an alarm clock or simply too anxious if I missed the time.

It is strange that I was still practicing Vipassana somewhere in front of Begnas Lake a few days ago on the mountain, and today I am chanting in another Japanese temple, on another mountain. Both acts related to Buddhism, but they are totally different. One is meditating in total silence, another one is chanting by hitting the drum as loud as possible. Nevertheless, there are still some similarity between two, both locations are facing the lake, the first one is Begnas Lake and the second one is Phewa Lake. The second similarity is, in both activities, one need to start by 430am.

I remembered my dream was about my secondary school friends. I remembered two of them by their name clearly, one is ShuJing and another one is YoonChee, in fact YoonChee is my primary school friend. There is another secondary school friends which I have forgotten her name, she is hiding in the room of ShuJing for long time avoiding somebody. And I remembered I took a plane in my dream, not seeing myself in the plane but knowing I have taken or going to take a plane, to somewhere I assumed. And I remembered I saw another primary school friend in the dream, before I departed to the mountain, I read in Facebook that she lost everything of hers after touched down in Barcelona to fake polices. I saw a helicopter, yes I dream about taking a plane but I saw a helicopter, resting on the roof of a ruined building, something like the building in Sarajevo, emptied with no windows but inside grown with vegetation. Just like forest, somebody I met in Ohrid said, this is not in the dream.

I shouted, yes yes I am coming. The sound of the door slapping was so irritating. It was like someone not trying to wake you up, but asked for a fight. I quickly change my clothes and put on the scarf. Without washing up myself, I walked to the temple. It was exactly 430am. The monk gave me a drum, it looks like a Chinese fan in shape, but it is much heavier than the fan. On the drum it was written the temple name and the mantra. Na Mo Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo. This is how we chant, hit the drum and chant the mantra at the same time, Na Mo Myo shall be faster follow by the slower Ren Ge Kyo. The beating of drum shall be faster too in the beginning and follow by the slower end.

I think I have done quite a good job. The monk told me we will only chant for half and hour, but by the clock showing 5am, there is no sign to stop. At first I do think of some other things, for example my dream. I tried to recall all the details in my dream. But you have certainly noticed that I failed to do so when I rephrase the content of the dream as above, they have lost the content and the sequence. I swear that right after I woke up, I did remember why one friend is hiding and the other friend's name and the whole story line.

We kept chanting. Slightly after 5am, I suddenly realized that the chanting is actually another kind of meditation. I tried to imagine my surrounding is fading off and I am covered by a warm light, or stuff like that. I think may be it is better than meditation, as my voice blended in so peacefully and perfectly with the drums and voices of the other two monks. We are like singing in a choir now, both playing the instrument and singing at the same time.

I noticed myself never can play and sing at the same time. As I have learned piano since young age but I quit before I can play a song that I can sing. I am sure that I played some songs that I can sing but I never thought of playing while singing, or singing while playing. And by the time I learned harmonica, one definitely cannot sing when play. And I quit as well after I learned Home on the Range. I love the song after watching Song Dynasty, while I was 17, if I remembered correctly. I watched this movie in the cinema with my mother, and my favorite scene is when the glass dropped on the floor and shattered. Months later I decided to buy a copy of the movie because I like it so much, my mother did tell me it is useless to keep a copy, just a waste of money. As stubborn as I never take the advise. It was my money and I am the one to decide how to spend it. Later on it proved that she is right. The copy of Song Dynasty that I have is an old recoded tape, not in CD, and soon the tape player get replaced by the CD player, before I have the chance to even revised once of my kept copy. After I quit harmonica, I forgot how to play the song all together. It doesn't surprise me or my mother because both of us know how not persistent my character is.

But now, I am playing and singing at the same time. The chanting is beautiful, our voices overlapped each other but the drums always has the same rhythm. Another wonderful thing I observed, is I have not changed my posture since 430am. I am doing much better than Vipassana, when one need to consciously observed all the sensation that arise from ever single part in your body. The fascinating thing I observed during my this time Vipassana practice is, I have no problem in maintaining a same posture with eyes closing for an hour already. But hey, I don't even think of changing posture when I am chanting Na Mo Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo. And it was 6am.

I wasn't happy when it was 6am and I found myself still chanting. The sky look brighter now, there must be sunrise already. I am here not for chanting but to view the full range of the Himalaya on top of the mountain. To avoid paying for hotel, I asked the monks if I can stay here. The monk said, this is not my place, this is Buddha's place. Everyone can stay in Buddha's place, the only condition is you have to chant early in the morning. I knew about the rules because I met a Japanese girl who was also overnight here. She told me about the chanting, but she never said it will lasted so long. May be I shall lower my voice to show that I have enough of it, if it ends earlier, may be I still have chance for the sunrise.

And when the monk told me this isn't his place but Buddha's, I mean he told me last night, it too reminded me about standing in a church asking a priest if I can overnight in the church. It was in Tyre, Lebanon, sometime early January 2010. The priest gave me a negative answer. When I further asked him if he knows where can I stay, he said 'I don't know' in impatience. At the same time, it too reminded me about a night when I still traveled with Gabor Csonka, we ended up in a mosque asking to overnight. We later get invited to a local's house. 'Because you are woman, that's why we are not allowed to overnight in the mosque', this is how Gabor put it. For whatever he said, I will believe half of it, the other half usually need time to prove to be true.

The ritual in the temple ended after 6am, may be 630am, after we have some more chanting other than the Na Mo Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo. I was given a book and I thought we have something like bible reading, but it turned out to be more chanting without drum. By the time I have the chance to look at the sky, it was already morning, but with heavy cloud. There is no green mountain view, not to say Himalaya. You are not lucky, one of the monk said.

So this is my brief experience overnight in a Japanese temple. Which surprisingly, has certain significant impact on how I view Buddhism. For the past, I always insisted that Buddhism is a philosophy rather than a religion, shared the same opinion with certain group of people. First encountering of Tibetan Buddhism did confused me, and Japanese Buddhism is another kind of it. Last night during the dinner, I decided to accept that Buddhism is a religion. not a philosophy. It is like Christianity with Orthodox Protestant Catholic, or Islam with Sunni Shiaa Sufism. They are the same. And the triggering point that make me have the decision, was during the dinner, we were putting a small portion of our rice into a cup, for the animal or the hungry ghost; and sharing a portion of rice from another bowl that had been offered to Buddha. With his blessing, the monk said. I don't want to eat Buddha's saliva, I think. It is interesting to see how things revolved, or to see how oneself revolved.

'We see the Himalaya every morning, you are so unlucky that it is cloudy today' The workers who maintain and repair the stupa for the upcoming festival told me. And after the breakfast, it started to rain. A monk gave me a ride since he is going to town, save me from walking in the heavy rain down the mountain. And I wanted to share the story as fast as possible, so I asked him to drop me in front of the internet cafe.

I think I have no luck with the Himalaya, so might as well leave Pokhara tomorrow without climbing Sarangkot. Perhaps to Lumbini.

Friday, October 8, 2010

中文

终于可以写中文。是一种喜悦。
在旅途中发现喜悦其实是喜 悦。
慈悲原来是慈 悲。
自然原来是自 然。
常常把词当成理所当然,那天在挪威一间越南佛庙前看见‘慈悲’,‘喜舍’,错然发现原来第一个字原来是动词。

可以写中文是简单的快乐。

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Massage is needed in the world

because love has disappeared -- Osho

Reading

07.10.10

Was reading [A Widow for One Year] for the past 2 days. I got the book for 1 pound in London but due to the weight, left it in Yuki's house even before started reading it. This time, I got it for 300 Rupees (slightly more than $4) in Pokhara. After a day, found the same book for 150 Rp in another book shop. ;(

Only read 2 books of John Irving, love [The World According to Garp] but not [Until I find you]. Only need 1 more day to finish [A Widow for One Year], there goes my 300 Rp, can be my another Japanese lunch or a new pair of pant.

And I am thinking of writing a new story now. In fact I have always stories that wanted to write but never take an action. May be this new story will be the same as the old never taken action stories as well. Who knows.

But since I am still reading [A Widow for One Year], have one more day to spare before thinking on if I should climb to the Peace Pagoda, or trek to Sarangkot, or visit the nearby Tibetan refugee camp. Oh by the way yesterday I heard another love story. Met a German who married a Tibetan girl here in Nepal. But she is a refugee, so their marriage hardly be recognize by the local authority and so he is still a tourist in Nepal. And because the girl has no citizenship, she can't go to Germany as well.

Will tell more, but I need to continue my book now. Ciao!

PS: Believe me, of course I want to sit in an expensive restaurant for an afternoon chocolate shake while reading a book, but it will certainly be too spoil.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Looking for room

So many people stop you on the street of Phewa Tal seeing you walking with backpack.

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Looking for room?
Yes. How much is your room?
Look first. I have good price.
My price is 200Rp (3dolar). What is your price?
Come come, see the room first.
Are you able to make it my price?
Yes. Come come, see the room first.

So I followed the guy, walked for distance, climbed floors, and usually see a nice good room.

How much? I asked.
400Rp.
Well that is not my price. My price is 200Rp.
300Rp.
See, my price is 200Rp.
300Rp is good value for this room.
I understand that is a good value, and this is a good room, but that is not my price.
Ok, 250Rp.
... if you don't have a room for my price,don't make me walk so far to see a room that I won't stay in! Are you stupid?!!!

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Looking for room?
Yes.How much is your room?
How much you are looking for?
150Rp (2dollar)
Well we have good room. Clean, with fan, good bed.
There is construction outside. Noisy.
They only work at day time. 10am - 5pm. No problem.
OK. Let's look at the room.
What about 180Rp?
Hmm my price is 150Rp.
But now is trekking season.
I know trekking season is coming, but in a week time, not today.
Ok, this is the room. See.. good room.
But where is the fan?
The fan broken down.
It is okie. Thank you.
150Rp with fan, where to find such good room. What if 180Rp with fan?
But your fan broken down!!

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Hey tham! A guy I met 3 days ago on the bus stopped me while I was walking on the street looking for room.

Looking for romm?
Yes.
What about my place? I told you that day.
Yea I remembered but I am looking for cheap room, around 150Rp to 200Rp.
No problem. We are friends. Whatever price you want to pay it is okie for me.
Really?
Of course.

So I follow him. After 30 seconds.

What about I give you a 300Rp good room?
...

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There must be something really wrong with my communication skill, or why why can't my message delivered correctly?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Vippasana again

Because I dont know what to do in touristy Pokhara, decided to go for Vippasana meditation again, this time as a dhamma server. Will be away for the next 10 days. Hopefully this time I can find enlightenment ;)

01.10.10

Finally fallen sick

Just realized that it has been quite sometime since I last fall sick. And after the fried rice last afternoon, my throat was haunted by excessive of ajinomoto in the meal, feeling myself in a great lack of water and fresh air. Fallen sick.

I am in Bandipur, a small village up the mountain which one supposed to be able to see the range of Himalaya. But the air is too foggy or hazy for the past 2 days, I see nothing. It is strange when in the village deep in the mountain, the shopkeeper will tell you 'twenty five rupees' when you actually asked 'kati?' (how much in their language). Found myself not really enjoy doing nothing, no hitch hiking, no couchsurfing, that's why I fall sick, that is the only thing I can do!

Wanted to do something in the touristy Pokhara, might move there tomorrow. Perhaps doing meditation or pay to learn something new. Find myself not feeling easy in hostel hoping and too much relaxing kind of travel style. Trekked to a cave yesterday though, not a cave lover since Gua Tempurung as some have known.

Well, is time to take pill and sleep.