Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Japan





statue at cemetery in Koyasan




I had a 6 day layover in Japan after leaving Thailand. This was my second time visiting Japan, I came here back in 1998 and did a bike tour for three weeks or so. I remember really enjoying the country so I was looking forward to exploring Japan a bit more. I bought a week rail pass and went from the airport to Kyoto and spent a couple days visiting the amazing temples. I then went to Koyasan, which is a place where Kobo Daishi founded the Shingon sect of Japanese Buddhism. He went to China and brought back a vajrayana lineage which he established at mt. Koya. there is also the largest cemetery in Japan here. I was only able to spend 2 days at Koyasan but it was worth the effort getting there. The temples and culture in this town were impressive and powerful. Overall it was a pleasant whirlwind tour of Japan. After being gone for 6 weeks it was good to be back in the mountains of Colorado. I was happy to come home to a lot of snow.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Thailand



From Nepal I went to Chiang Mai, Thailand. I spent two weeks there and took two 5-day workshops. The first one was a basic course in a style of Taoist abdominal massage called Chi Nei Tsang. And the other was a Thai Massage course at the Sunshine school. It was good to review basic thai massage techniques and work with other practitioners. I also received quite a lot of thai massage sessions which was great. on my free time I cruised around the city eating strange food and exploring various temples.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Nepal



HH 42nd Sakya Trizin


In early January I left for a 6 week trip to Asia, the plan was to spend 3 weeks in Nepal, 2 weeks in Thailand and 5 days in Japan. I had not been back to Nepal for about 8 years or so and it was great to be back in the country and reconnect with some old friends. I first went to a two day inauguration of a stupa build for my late teacher Chogye Trichen Rinpoche. The two day puja was presided over by the Sakya Trizin and other senior Sakyapa lamas. The stupa contains the kudung or body relics of Chogye Rinpoche and is situated at a beautiful location overlooking the Kathmandu valley on Naratayan hill under Shivapuri mountain. 
I then went for a little pilgrimage around Nepal. Originally I wanted to go for a trek and get high in the himalaya, however being winter it was going to be a little too cold for me. So I decided to go to the Guru Rinpoche cave known as Maratika and spent a couple days there. Then I went down to the Terai to visit the city of Janakpur, which is a holy hindu place where Sita was born and later married Ram. The last stop before heading back to Kathmandu was Namo Buddha, there I spent 4-5 days at Thrangu Rinpoches monastery.

Nepal is slowly rebuilding after the 2015 earthquake. The country clearly continues to struggle with the political complexities and practical reality of trying to become a modern nation. The chaos and growing pains are evident wherever you go, however the Nepali people seem to be as positive and resilient as ever. I sincerely wish Nepal can maintain its powerful, unique and amazing cultural heritage far into the future.