12.08.2010 - 14.08.2010
So i went up to the tushita centre thursday night to see this ceremony of the blessing of the 21 Tara's. It was supposed to start at 3 (or thereabouts) but when i arrived they were still sorting things out so i offered to help. We had to put all the offering onto trays, now the offering were quite funny as there was so amny packets of busciiuts and chocolate it was unbelieveblae. I thought that this was all about purity?????? Anyway that done we went ino the main Gompa and took seats, by now it was gone 4pm. Lame Zopa Rinpoche finally arrived at 430 and was horrifed to discover that no one had put the pearl necklaces onto the taras yet, so he opend the cupboards and climed in. It was quite a sight as he was quite old and was being held in (compassionately) by a handful of other monks who were despretaly trying to support him whilst not putting thier hand in inappropriate places!
So that done he spoke about the relevance of the necklaces and the blessing got underway. We were going throught the boook and following the lines etc (bit like the last time i was in church except for the fact the no one says amen after everything!!) but there were so many things to consider, and Zopa went over each one adn carefully explained it, which was nice as it was in english. In fact he exalpined it al so carefully that by 720pm we had a break for tea. Whilstwe were on teh breack the director came ina nd announced that actully we had progressed onto dinner and the lamas would not be back for a while and if anyone wanted pumpkin soup there was some over t\in the canteen, which was nice as thining i was going to be out of there by 6ish i ad not yet had dinner myself! the only thin i had had so far that evening was a cp of tea as that appead to be part of the blessing and although i really dont like tea i was by now deperate for anything that would help me stay alert!
After dinner we reconvend - by now it was somewhere near 930pm and knowing that lama Zopa is well known for his ability to carry on a bit (in fact some say he never sleeps!!) there was talk of this continuung until sunrise, which i had just found out is at about 6am! the lasy next to me had offered me tostay in the room she was sharing upstairs with the nun from the library, but she had warned me that the nun snores so much that she carries around her won selection of ear plugs in case she has to share her room!!! Brilliant - but at least i would not have to wlak home in the dark alone.
So lama Zopa cariied on and by now i was beginnign to get tired, you are not allowed tyo lie down in the gompa but you can lean so i found myslef a spot back against the wall and tried tostay awake. At this point ( i had just got comforatblae) and mArk spotted me....he came around the back ans asked if i would like to go on the other side of the gompa so that i could see what lama zopa was doing with his hands etc as its all part of it and if you have never been its good. I went arond which actually worked quite well as Mark was ble to exaplin part of the ceremony to me as we went along. I looked at the book vy now it was baout 1030ish and realised we a were maybe only half way through!!!! Nad not only that but some of the blessing bits that everyone joins in with (i am sure there is technical name here!) had to be repeadted some 3 time and some 7 times - something to do with nukbers that makes it specail to the 21 taras. Anyway just as you whink you are getting somehwere we go back four pages and repead something 7times! so actually you never really know where you are with it. Some point later on there was tea again, and you have to hlod your mug in a specail way and then when he drinks you can drikn and so on. Man i have never sat for so long, i thought i was going to faint. So we continue.................
Some while after that they finihs th puje thingy and then they offer up the blessing to the lama, he gets a tray that we had arnaged earlier, the ohter trays contaiing all the rest of the stuff are still on the table. After he recieves his things then.......the best bit.... (okay so the whle thing was the best but by now you must understand iw as tired and weak!!) all of ther offerings - get offered out! and not just a few things, so i snd up with 3 packed of cookies, 4 chocolate bars a muffin and a lemon ( which i will worry about eating later - i guess on reflection i may not be getting scurvy at least!!). We have to put a little of what we have back on another tray that gets offered somewhere else (not sure but the monk took it outside) and then we get to eat som of the things!!!! how cool by now its about 2am which is qute funy as its laike a midnight feast, but i spoke to MArk and said i ave never been to a ceremony where you get all these sweets....in my church your lucky if you get an orange, and thats just a christmas!!!!!! ( imay be a convert already!) So after this there were more blessing asn more blessing and some chanting and finally...........although this in itself took the bast part of 20 mins while he thanked everyone....we finished!!
So lama zopa rinpoche was leaving and everyone was lingin up ready to greet him but i didnt have a scarf thing ( iknow it has a name its white and you hold it between your hand as you bow to him. Anyway Mark finds one and comes over to give it to me adn tells me if i hold it out to him he willbless me, so i go with the scarf and hold it out with my head bowed, and my heart was racing so much it was really strange. He took the scarf and put it over my neck and tapped me on the head(actually it was quite hard but at least it woke me up) and that was it i ahve been blessed! My pendant had been on the table t\for blessing but he had not actully be\lessed any of the items by now nad the fact it was out with the rest of the stuff is significant enough for me!!!
I managed to find some pwople waking home adn the monk that came with us agreed to wlk me to my door, it was by now gone 330!!! We head down and the poor monk who had arrnaged to wlak other homw was being pulled in many directionn as he tried to please everone. The 2 ladies that were with us nearly came ot blows as the one heading in my direction was clearly pissed off with the other one who was insistnat thati walk her waybefore he wwalked me in my direction, which i didnt mind but the other lady said that is madnbess as we were alreday going the other way first (which made a lot of sense but the bother lady was having none of it!) anyway this pother man agreed to sort her out and as we left they both took me to my door and the lady wiht us said that the other lady was slefish adn not very nice and she had already upaset her as she (the other lady) was not prepared to wait while this lady had a pee beofre we left saying (when she thought this lady was out of earshot) it would take forever, which sadly this lady heard and thought she was very rude!!!!
So yester i dragged myself out of bed at 11 am and headed up for some tibetan tsampa porridge, its niceer than our porridge i wonder if i canf ind any to bring back - although my backpack is nearly full........ After which i braved the monsoon to go up and watch the secong half of the tibetan book of the dead. HAving arrived saoking wet there is a note on the vidoe player sating help yourself........which we tried to no avil unitl i popped to the library only to be given teh DVD which was more more useful. The film was good and at least we were dry.
After a shower and i catually washed my hair for the first time in a week, it hardly stays warm and dry long enough to not catch pneumonia otherwise, i head out to the cinema to watch 'inception'....
Nopw i say cinema, it a room probaly no bigger then the lounge and dining room at home, and there is a screen at the front and the usualy rows of seat going higher as they go further back. The walls ahve lots of dark canvas and although this is obviously someone house he did a good job! On the offering is popcorn beer soft drinks alsorts!!!! The chairs are not exactly comfortable as you walk up the steps you realise that actully it is built out of lots of old beds and you are actually wlking on the outside of the spring sections!!! SO yes i could not resist bouncing up and down on the platfom i was on, That done i sit down and discover its not really that comfortable. Anyway the film was okay - will no say anything to as not spoil the plot. But what with it being a copy (really what else do you expect - do you know where i am.....?) there are moments when we have full surround sound, and moments wher\n we have no sound then half sound and so on. Anyway was a good fewhours before we are released into the dark.
We decide to go eat at the little italin place up the road, James has been before and i order the veg lasagne which is surprisingly quite nice, with tibetan garlic bread - agin very lovely. Having eyed up the deserts and deceided on brownies a\with hot chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream,we are told they are shut for the night!!!! so we go back to green cafe for cake, that done, we head home for the night.
Sadly today has been a quite day as it has rained so much andi was still bit tired so i have been very british and have sat inmy room watching vidoes on my phone!!!!!
Tomorrow i am headin to the temple....peace out xx