This tag is associated with 87 posts

Pokhara and bandhs…

After leaving the monastery, I had a long, bumpy ride back to Kathmandu and then flew to Pokhara in an impossibly small plane that was just as bumpy as the car. I originally planned to stay in Pokhara for only three days and then return to Kathmandu, but then I discovered that the Unified Maoist … Continue reading

Leaving the monastery

Time moves slowly at the monastery. This is proof that the adage “time flies when you’re having fun” isn’t always true, for I’ve enjoyed every day, yet my three weeks here have felt like a few months. Perhaps time slows here because even though each day is full, there is a notable lack of stress. … Continue reading

A day in the life of a monastery volunteer (Part 2)

So where were we? Ah yes, puja… 4:00: puja, which means “prayer” or “offering,” is a truly glorious time of day. No one (except the monks) are required to go, but I try to attend every day. People who are close to me know that while I may have strong beliefs about being a decent … Continue reading

A day in the life of a monastery volunteer (Part 1)

In my last post I said the heavens would have to open and emit the mighty sound of OM before I’d have a chance to post some pictures. Well, it finally happened, although I had to leave the monastery to do it. Yesterday was a day off for us so another volunteer (Aksana) and I … Continue reading

Of monks and monasteries…

In the last post, I mentioned I would elaborate on the monastery and its inhabitants. The mission of the Namo Buddha monastery is to educate young monks grades 1 through 9 (another sister monastery handles the higher grades). Previously, the young monks only learned a traditional Tibetan Buddhism curriculum that included subjects like Tibetan writing, … Continue reading

Going with the flow at the monastery…

When you travel, you must learn to be flexible. This is especially true when traveling to developing countries, but even more true when volunteering. As a self-described “recovering” Type-A personality, mental flexibility isn’t a trait that always came easily to me (and sometimes still doesn’t, particularly when something needs to be cleaned), but I credit … Continue reading

Life happens in Shambhala

“Life happens.” This is the nicer version of what people say to explain the unforeseen events that happen in everyone’s lives. Indeed, life does happen and there’s no getting around that, but the saying has a degree of resignation to it—a feeling of giving up one’s own power and leaving it in the hands of … Continue reading

Doe-di-doe (subtitle: “Cycling in Taiwan”)

Finally, the weather turned in our favor again and we were able turn our attention to cycling. Yesterday we rode from Tainan to the coastal town of Anping and had such a great time that we neglected to do any sightseeing and opted instead to stay on our bikes. Today, based on a rental guy’s … Continue reading

Of haunted hotels and serious sightseeing…

I confess that aside from the thrill I felt after booking my plane tickets, my first jolt of excitement came when I heard we’d be staying at the Grand Hyatt in Taipei on the first part of this trip. The Grand Hyatt is one of the top-10 most haunted hotels in the world. Imagine: a … Continue reading

Ni hao from Taiwan

Ah, air travel. Some people find it a stressful, chaotic event that must be tolerated in order to get somewhere more exciting. To me, it’s an integral part of the entire travel experience. Air travel is not just a promise of adventures to come, but an adventure in itself—something to be savored and experienced, right … Continue reading

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