Friday, 4 July 2014

Friday 4th July

We were told that we need not attend the ceremony again until Sunday when the teaching resumes. So we decided to have a chilled day. 

We woke up latish and spent most of the day talking about the teaching and the review we listened to. I so enjoyed the reading and having Jennifer's input, experience and understanding. 

We then set off at about four o'clock to climb to the top of the Shanti stupa near our hotel, which I can see while lying on my bed. One climbs to the top via hundreds of steep concrete steps which have been laid on top of the rocks that form the steep slope . It was exhausting and I really doubted whether I would make it! But it was worth every second of exertion- spectacular views as well as another stunning stupa which it turns out is another peace stupa built by the same Japanese survivor of the two atom bombs. 

Here is a picture of the Shanti stupa taken from our room. 

The stupa is as beautiful as the one in Pokhara. While we were walking around on the top level we noticed this young guy being really strange - sort of weird hyped behavior - we then realised that he was about to prise open the donation box on the top level. It was so bizarre - Jen said to me as we walked past, "hy lyk n niekie mal!"  My reply was "for sure - let's get out of here" I watched through the balustrade and there he was forcing open the box!!! 

We bid a hasty retreat and saw him later twitching and shuddering  - I guessed he was an addict needing a quick fix - another English chap we told, said he had also seem him and concluded he was mentally unstable! 

Well we spent a really enjoyable time at the stupa enjoying the incredible views and the very peaceful feeling so similar to the Peace  Pagoda in Nepal. 

We went into the Buddhist shrine near the stupa to sit quietly for a while when unexpectantly a monk came in and started lighting candles and incense sticks. He was followed by another monk who went into a corner of the shrine room where a couple of huge drums were in place- he started striking thm, then the other monk started hitting another two drums on the opposite corner. They were both chanting while striking the drums. The sound was amazing, reverberating deep into our bones. We very reluctantly left as it was getting late and we still had to climb down the hundreds of steps! 

On the way down we noticed a temple built underneath the shrine room we had been sitting in. We went in and found the most ornate and beautiful shrine with amazing artifacts and Tankas and wall hangings and photigraphs of the lama who was in the small temple with the Dalai lama. It was a beautiful space, very moving with a feeling of deep peace and solid energy. The lama was seated and talking to two young woman, answering their questions about meditation. 

We then set off to walk down the steps- once again I amazed myself by the ease with which I managed the descent! 

I think I am continuing to loose weight on this trip - and realise that it probably is more the result of all the walking I am doing than because I had tummy troubles or because of the diet!! When I weighed myself in Nepal I had lost 6 kgs!! 

I took masses of photos today, mostly of the mountains and scenery and the changing light, 

We then ate supper - tuna fish, freshly shelled peas and in my case a roll, in Jen's case corn biscuits. After that we repeated the verses recommended by HH before watching the Doko  Dimitrov match followed by federer and Raonic. Jen is getting quite enthusiastic about tennis as I explain it all to her!!

Another great day full of contentment and peace and inspiration. We are sooooo very fortunate to be here. 

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