two new habits for keeps

I had my very first meditation class yesterday (certainly not the last). Thanks to one of my colleagues.

Well 6 minutes a day it is.

And I am back to being a vegetarian (after 2 months of being haywire). This time it’s a conscious decision.

note on 1st Dec - this will take time to sink in...
note on 26th April - ....NOT (making the borat joke)

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random thoughts

These days, my dad has been telling me time and again that he doesn’t see me say my prayers. Frankly I’ve not prayed for quite some times. I’ve noticed that every time I say my prayer (in routine), my mind is drifting somewhere else. I’m day dreaming, not focusing on the payer. It is better when I say them unconsciously without routine. I do not deeply understand the meaning of ‘Om Ah Hung Benza Guru Pema Siddhi Hung’. What does it mean besides its literal translation? I cannot understand how saying it regularly hundred times a day (without any understanding or concentration) will help me be a better person? Now I am thinking saying these prayer lines is more about showing appreciating to Guru Padma Sambawa for the many miraculous things he did for the benefit of all sentient beings. And this is true for every extraordinarily people living amongst us, who change our lives. It also holds true for events, circumstances and any sort of inspirations that change us and gets us thinking.

My understanding of Buddhism is evolving day by day. Being a kid, it’s all about doing what my parents did as a Buddhist. But now I think Buddhism is more of a path than a religion. It’s a practical way of not just living but living it right. I think Buddhism is more about being good and doing good.

Switching to something else, what is fascinating about human being is that somewhere deep inside, we can somehow segregate what’s good and what’s bad. We really can, either consciously or sub-consciously. If we follow this conscious/sub-conscious mind, we would do a great deal of good to ourselves and the people around us.

I think the concept of ‘being aware’ is just fascinating. I remember while being in Maastricht, my house owner (this old woman in her late 60s), she was really careful while using the any sort of detergent. Her thinking was that it is difficult to treat/purify water with high content of detergent. I think that simple act of being aware of the consequence helped the environment a great deal of pollution. If we become aware of what ever we do everyday, even with a single act of getting receipt from the ATM, we would do so much good to ourselves and everything/everyone around us.

Also I have been thinking about halo around the heads of many god/goddess portrayed in many paintings. This so called 'halo' is depicted by everyone everywhere around the globe is in all sorts of paintings (of extraordinary beings). I think these halos are more of an individual aura. I think when you at that state of awareness (and you do things according to that), the aura that’s invisible becomes like a light/spark or a glow (practically i've seen that sort of glow around extraordinary people i've met), that it can be seen by others.

Well that’s just my many naive thoughts for the day. I hope the sprit of all things good grows (or come alive) inside everyone.
ps: i've over listened to Empire of the Sun

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list of six (portal to my world)

six songs in my head
The Verve - love is noise
Crash Test Dummies - mmm mmm mmm mmm
Pearl Jam - the fixer
Robbert Pattinson - broken
empire of the sun - standing on the shore
mgmt - electric feel

six books i've read recently
Micheal Scott - The Alchemyst
Micheal Scott - The Magician
Micheal Scott - The Sorceress
J.K Rowling - the tales of beedle the bard
jamyang khyentse - what makes you not a buddhist
Lobsang P. Lhalungpa - the life of milarepa

six movies i've seen
Penelope
charade
two for the road
east of eden
the cake eaters
rebel without a cause

six things i'm looking forward to
18th December
new moon
The Necromancer
2010
spring
driving (for real)

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travelling back and forth

Where i live, it is not possible to get to a place without bumping into someone you somehow/sortta know. That’s why, what i like most about traveling outside is that sense of freedom. There is this feeling of not having to say hi or hello to anyone. You can walk miles and miles unnotice. I think sometime that sense of invisibility is freeing.
I was studying outside for almost a year. My school was almost 20 minutes walk from where i lived. Every morning i had my earphone plugged inside my ear and with the 'song of the day' i would walk to my school. Maybe it was the music, maybe it was that carefree atmosphere but whenever i walked to my school, i felt that overwhelming sense of happiness inside my chest, maybe it was that feeling of being in the present (not lingering in the past nor contemplating the future maybes), maybe it was some sortta love, love for everything and anything, i just felt free and happy.

Switching to another topic, what i remember mostly about my childhood is that feeling of not having to please anyone. Even then i think i didn't care much about the things going around, none of it made much sense to me. Maybe deep inside i wanted to fit in but i never showed it. I think i had one of those unique childhoods, that's why i can't remember much of it. I think life for me started when I got a job. But even then, i do remember being the happiest just to watch the rain fall down from the roof, it feels like you're soaring high into the sky. I remembering watching the sun all day long, just to see if it would blind me like my mother said. I remembering being awkward, not sure of what the future held for me. I think i was undecided even then and not really sure of what to do with my life. Now that I’ve made so many choices and i stand where i stand, i don't know if these are the things i really wanted. I tell myself, of course i am happy and things turned out fine, but i do wonder otherwise. What if i really knew, even back then, what to do, what i wanted and to make my own choices. That I’ll never know.

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random thoughts

I’ve over-listened to some band and some songs… I just can’t listen to them anymore (at least for now). I don’t even have the time or patience to see one movie through. I think it’s such a waste of time.

I feel more empathy towards my big boss, he just can’t help being what/who he is. As long as I do what I do and do it great, I don’t think I need to feel intimidation and hesitation from anyone. For now he’s my teacher (of some sort). I’m going to learn tolerance from him.

I don’t think I’ll complain about anything anymore. After all everything we do, we always end up making a bigger trying to solve a mess. Life itself is a messy business. I’ll mind my own business and do what’s right, I hope the other does the same.

It’s not only the end objective of what you do, but how you get it done. I hope what I do will be of some worth/benefit to people who are involved. Despite the interference and interjection, I’ll get it done, for I am not working for an entity or a person but more for myself and what I believe in.

In ten years, I definitely got to think about doing something else (writing a book, opening up an animation studio or a pasta restaurant, photography or anything besides this), a change, a risk. I hope I get sick of playing it safe.

These are strange thoughts popping in my head (for now).

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the tale of an old man

Everywhere he went, he was known for his warmth, kindness and naive optimism. Nothing bought him down for his was always positive and happy about everything and anything around him. He was well learned in his youth and prime.

At some point of his life, he fell in love and thus he married and settled in a small village. In this village, together with his wife, he raised 8 strong children with all his love and devotion. He provided for them even after each of them got settled, found a job/career, and had their wife/husband, home, car and children. He never let them feel deprived even when he didn’t have enough. These children never knew poverty because of their father’s hard work. He was happy and aspired each of his kids to do way beyond well, good or fine. Such was this old man’s wish when he saw his children face while they were growing up.

As he grew old, one by one, each of his children leaves the village. Some gets married and others find a job. But this didn’t matter because he had his wife, a life partner to live and share his life with. By then they’d seen so much together, they’d been through their highs and lows and they love each other extremely. However, one day faith decides to take her as well. This mother of 8 dies unnoticed. While she lived, she had raised both her kids as well as their kids. Such was her faith. She was there when her children and grandchildren came to this world but now she’s gone, none of them knows. She struggles but there’s no one to hear her voice or see her faint.

Despite the loss, this father of 8 moves on. His granddaughter comes to his rescue and she decides to stay with her grandfather. The old man still has his expectation. So one fine day, the elder son decides to bring his father to the capital. So this old man comes to the town to live with his children. He thinks ‘my kids will finally take care of me’. He lives some few days with his elder son. One day, one of the grandchildren from his elder son tells him ‘grandpa, now you are in the town, you should stay clean and dress up like a town person’. Such was the embarrassment of his grandchildren who’ve not even turn ten.

The old man is soon left to the care of the elder daughter, then the youngest and so on. He moves up and down, settling nowhere in particular. However, the old man decides to say with his favorite son, the second eldest son. This son’s wife however scheme to chase off this old man. So one day she accuses him of a crime unthinkable. The old man cries, his heart broken beyond repair. His son is in the next room while this happens. He doesn’t say anything to make the old man feel better, except ‘I have my own family to think of’. The old man leaves in the middle of the night. Such was this old man’s pain.

Now, he’s back in his village, shamed and heart-broken. His granddaughter tends to him but there’s no healing to a wound that’s cut deep without sores. Despite everything, he has not stopped expecting that his children will one day take care of him. His voice shakes and he breaks down into constant tear when he talks on the phone with his grandson. Such is this old man’s faith. His children feel no shame or remorse for what they’ve done to their father. Ignorantly they think they are right. Everyday, they smile and look at their children’s face hoping the old man’s hope and wishing the old man’s wish when he loved and raised them.

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Enlightened Vagabond: An Autobiographical Sketch

By Nyoshul Khenpo Rinpoche
Translated and edited by Surya Das

This is not a namthar (spiritual biography) at all; it's just a series of mishaps.
I was born in eastern Tibet in 1932. My father was a roaming bandit, a highwayman. He beat, robbed, and even killed people. I didn't really know my father, because he abandoned his family when I was very young. This father was like the kind of people you see in a cowboy movie, outlaws riding on horses; he habitually lived in the wilderness of Kham in eastern Tibet.

In my immediate family there were three boys and seven girls. Two of the brothers were very strong and rough, like their father; he strongly favored those two tough boys. I was the third boy, and a bit of a wimp. So my father put me down, often saying that I was like a girl, of no use at all. My father taught his children to fight, but the daughters and I didn't like to fight very much so our father ignored us.

My mother was a very gentle and loving soul, a very Dharmic (religious) person with a lot of patience and forbearance. She had sincere aspirations to practice the Dharma, but she had so many children and so much to cope with at home. Therefore, she harbored great aspirations that I would fulfill those aspirations in the Dharma, since I took after her in being gentle and loving. My mother contented herself with the simple rewards of morality and devoting herself to her family.

My paternal grandmother, the highwayman's mother, was also pious. She was an occasional disciple of the great Dzogchen master Nyoshul Lungtok Tenpai Nyima, who was Patrul Rinpoche's heart-disciple. Well-versed in Dharma and practice, she wasn't very learned but she had practiced and received teaching and had understood them, thus transforming her nature. She prayed constantly that her wayward highwayman son would reform and change his ways.

When I was a baby, this grandmother and my mother would chant again and again over my cradle: "We take refuge in the Buddha, we take refuge in the Dharma, we take refuge in the Sangha." Also, they used to pray and talk to each other about the teachings and pray to Nyoshul Lungtok Tenpai Nyima, wherever he was -- they didn't even know where he was -- fervently expressing their heartfelt wish that he would come to teach and bless them. They reminded each other what a great master he was. That was the first time that I heard this sacred name, Nyoshul Lungtok.

When I was older, my grandmother explained to me that Nyoshul Lungtok was her revered root lama, and that he had given her renewed life. Although she wasn't learned in scriptures, she was experienced in Dzogchen and also practiced the Bodhicitta teachings. She chanted the mantra Om mani padme hung three hundred million times in her life. If one does one hundred million recitations of a mantra, counting each mantra with a rosary, it's called a toong-jor. She had done that three times in her life-three hundred million recitations of the mantra of Great Compassion, Chenrezig -- Om mani padme hung.

My grandmother advised me that since I was of a gentle nature it would be very appropriate for me to follow my mother's ways, rather than emulating my father. She further exhorted me to find a qualified Bodhisattva-lama to teach, instruct, and train me, andto strive to become like that lama himself-for that is what the Buddha taught.

For three years I tended the family's animals and performed other similar chores. I didn't study anything, but I kept thinking about this lama whose name I had heard. When I was five my mother and grandmother took me to the nearby Sakyapa monastery, where they cut my hair and gave me a refuge name. When I was eight, I was offered to (enrolled in) the monastery. There were about one hundred monks, practitioners, and lamas in that monastery in Kham. The head lama's name was Jamyang Khenpa Tapkye; he was my distant uncle.

EARLY YEARS AT THE MONASTERY
As my relative, Jamyang Khenpa Tapkye took an interest in me. I was immediately taught to read and write, which came easily to me. Not every boy had such an opportunity. To stay at that monastery, the young novices had to beg for their food on a daily alms round in the local villages. I still have scars on my legs from the huge Tibetan mastiffs, fierce guard dogs, that bit me when I went from door to door begging for tsampa (dried barley flour), Tibet's staple food. When the young novices were naughty, they would be beaten and forced to sit outside all night without protection from the cold. It was a harsh life.

At the age of about ten my job was to take care of the sheep that belonged to the monastery estate, sometimes staying in the monastery and sometimes shepherding the animals out in the wilds. When it was sunny I would stay outside, very relaxed, feeling very happy, just watching the sheep munching the grass. But sometimes it was raining and freezing cold, with hail and wind, and I was without shelter; moreover, I couldn't see the sheep who were lost in the mist and ravines. I had to chase them everywhere in order to collect them and bring them back at night. I knew exactly how many there were. I recognized each of their faces and called them each by name.

In the spring and brief summer there was a profusion of bright wildflowers and all kinds of birds singing; Kham was very beautiful at that time of year. The rest of the time the weather was much colder and severe. I well remember those idyllic summer days of my childhood when the weather was lovely and I was totally delighted, sitting outside in the sun, completely at ease and relaxed, while the sheep munched grass and I gazed up at the intense turquoise blue sky and simply let my mind be. That was the natural, unfabricated beginning of my meditational development.

Sometimes the birds would be chattering, and some thoughts began coming to mind, like: What am I doing here, listening to the birds? Why am I here? Grandmother told me that the only worthwhile thing is to practice and realize the holy Dharma, yet although I have joined the monastery it seems that now I am just being a shepherd. How can I follow the teachings and meet an authentic lama, rather than just be a shepherd in ragged hand-me-down robes, whiling away his time in the pastures?
Mustering my courage, I told my mother that I wanted to learn from a real lama, get genuine spiritual teachings, and find out what the holy Dharma was really all about. Then I left the monastery and went to another valley, where lived a very great high lama named Lama Rigdzin Jampel Dorje. This lama was a truly enlightened master, a mahasiddha (exalted adept) who had realized the unity of the lineage teachings of Mahamudra and Dzogpa Chenpo.

When I was about twelve, I began and completed the five hundred preliminary practices (the ngondro) under the personal guidance of this great lama. Then I requested and received from Jampel Dorje detailed teachings on the inseparability of shamatha meditation and vipassana meditation practice. I applied these Vajrayana meditation instructions in the Mahamudra style, according to the Practice Lineage. This practice included the renowned four yogas of Mahamudra-one-pointedness, simplicity, one taste, and beyond-meditation-which are further elucidated in the triple-fold formula of nonmeditation, nonartifice (beyond action and inaction), and nondistraction.

I slowly began noticing that it seemed to be very difficult to really progress in spiritual practice without a firm basis of understanding in the general teachings of sutra and tantra, and particularly the precious Bodhicitta. It is said, "To meditate without learning is like trying to climb a mountain without eyes; to have learning without meditation is like trying to climb a mountain without hands and feet." Rigdzin Jampel Dorje agreed. So I began to study with an important khenpo at the monastery, an erudite and spiritually accomplished abbot-professor. I had to learn and recite from memory before the monastic assembly countless prayers, sadhanas (tantric rites and practices), scriptures, and commentaries-a huge undertaking.
I studied the Dom Sum (Three Vows) of the three vehicles, including the Pratimoksha (personal liberation Vinaya) vows, the Bodhisattva commitments, and tantric samayas. I studied the Bodhicaryavatara of the Indian Mahayana master Shantideva, the bodhicitta teachings on Mind-Training attitudinal transformation (Lobjong) of Atisha, and countless other relative and general teachings of the Buddhadharma, according to the sutras and commentarial literature comprising the scriptures of the Buddhist sciences. I memorized The Thirteen Great (Tibetan) Texts. Later I studied in depth the Middle Way philosophy of Nagarjuna, Madhyamika dialectics, epistemology, logic, the Prajna Paramita literature, the Five Ornaments of Asanga, Vasubandhu's Abhidharmakosha, and so on. Eventually I studied the entire Tripitaka, encompassed in the Tibetan canonical collection called the Kangyur in one hundred and eight large volumes, and also the detailed commentaries by the Indian and Tibetan panditas in the even larger collection known as the Tangyur. In this way, combined with actual practice, I mastered the three yanas, including both sutras and tantras.

Being intensely motivated, I assiduously pursued that scholarly training. Under the great master Rigdzin Jampel Dorje and my khenpo I undertook the traditional twelve-year acharya (khenpo) training combined with the meditation and yogic training of the nonsectarian (Rimé) Practice Lineage, until I was twenty four. I studied all the teachings needed to become a khenpo, an abbot, and professor, as well as undertook all the Mahayana and Vajrayana practices and solitary retreats that went along with them. I still remember what a small and lonely boy I was then, in a region where I didn't know anyone, and how various people used to make fun of me. I also gratefully remember my selfless teacher's incredible kindness and unstinting generosity while I pursued all those studies and practices for over a dozen years.

RECEIVING THE PITH-INSTRUCTIONS
When I was eighteen, I received the profound and extraordinary teachings on the essential nature of mind, the pith-instructions of Longchen Nyingthig, the very heart essence of the Dzogchen teachings. I received these precious esoteric teachings on the View, Meditation, and Action of Dzogpa Chenpo from the tulku (reincarnation) of my grandmother's guru-teachings that elucidate the ultimate meaning of Buddhadharma (and Rigpa, innate Buddha-mind) according to the classification of Ground, Path, and Fruition, a triad considered ultimately one and inseparable. I soon attained unshakable inner conviction and certainty regarding this natural Great Perfection, the nondual Dzogchen teachings of primordial purity and spontaneous presence embodied in the practices of Trekchod (Cutting Through) and Togal (Transcendence).

Nyoshul Lungtok Tenpai Nyima, Patrul Rinpoche's successor, had died years before; his tulku had been reborn, enthroned, and educated by the disciples of his exalted predecessor, including the peerless Khenpo Ngakga. It was this tulku, named Nyoshul Lungtok Shedrup Tenpai Nyima, who introduced me to the nature of mind while transmitting these teachings. He became my root guru (principlemaster). I got my name from him and from the Nyoshul Monastery where we lived together, in the outlying districts around the region of the great Nyingma monastery of Kathok. From these lamas I inherited all the teachings of Longchenpa and Jigme Lingpa. I memorized the entire Seven Treasures of Longchenpa, as well as both of Longchenpa's renowned trilogies (The Trilogy of Natural Ease and The Trilogy of the Inherent Freedom of Mind) and Jigme Lingpa's revered Yonten Dzod (Treasury of Enlightened Qualities), which explains all the nine yanas according to the Nyingma tradition of Buddhadharma.

Tulku Shedrup Tenpai Nyima (Nyoshul Lungtok Tulku) transmitted the Mengak Nyengyud Chenmo (whispered oral pith-instructions of Dzogpa Chenpo) to me. Tulku Shedrup Tenpai Nyima was the principal disciple of the great Khenpo Ngakga (Ngakgi Wangpo, a crazy-wise Dzogchen master still renowned today-a visionary Togal master and an incarnation of the Indian Dzogchen patriarch Vimalamitra). When I was very young, I met Khenpo Ngakga and received certain transmissions from him. I was too young to really study in depth under Khenpo Ngakga, so I gradually received Khenpo Ngakga's teachings personally from Nyoshul Lungtok Shedrup Tenpai Nyima.

Khenpo Ngakga had extraordinary dignity and charisma and was an incredible presence. Simply to enter his room overawed one's self-centered thoughts and concepts and effortlessly opened up the selfless, spacious expanse of Rigpa. Even though I was but a youth, I still remember thinking gratefully at the time, "So this is what the authentic presence of a true Buddhist master is actually like. Anyone would be totally amazed and inspired by such natural splendor and spiritual prowess. How fortunate to meet a living Buddha in this very world!"

This greatly renowned Khenpo Ngakga was famous for many reasons. He once sat for three years on one meditation seat, without going anywhere. And when this grand lama did a three-year meditation retreat he was in a translucent (transrealescent) state of Rigpa called zangtal throughout the entire period; nobody could see a shadow fall from his body for three years. This is absolutely true.

While Khenpo Ngakga was in this meditation, on auspicious days like the tenth of every month (Guru Rinpoche's lunar holiday) and the fifteenth (the day of the full moon), the eight auspicious signs (the dharma wheel, the eternal knot, and vajras, and so on) would appear on Ngakga's body because his body was the actual nirmanakaya (tulku), the rupakaya (form body), the manifestation on earth of the Buddha. Khenpo Ngakga had such inconceivable qualities that any of them sounds hard to believe; but so many of the lamas who were his students achieved enlightenment that everybody extols Khenpo Ngakga to the skies. Jatral Rinpoche and Bairo Tulku Rinpoche in Nepal are Khenpo Ngakga's last great living, personal disciples.

The Dzogchen tradition states that every one hundred years an enlightened Dzogchen master is emanated from the heart of Vimalamitra to fulfill the Buddha's intent in this world. In the nineteenth century it was Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, and in the last generation it was Khenpo Ngakga. Khenpo Ngakga had thousands of realized disciples, but Nyoshul Lungtok Shedrup Tenpai Nyima (my root guru) was his Dharma heir, the lineage holder of the special Dzogchen pith-instructions called Nyengyud Mengak Chenmo, The Aural Lineage Pith-Instructions of the Heart Essence. This is my special lineage and teaching, the experiential teaching (nyongtri) based on these oral pith-instructions of Nyingthig, the heart essence of omniscient Longchenpa and Jigme Lingpa, the quintessence of the innate Great Perfection, Dzogpa Chenpo. This is a lineage transmission only whispered to one disciple at a time, never to a group. It is considered extremely rare and precious.

The lineage holders and masters of this particular teaching were all enlightened, totally realized siddhas (adepts) with incredible spiritual qualities, but these days lamas like me are a mere shadow of such spiritual luminaries. Those masters of the Rainbow Light Body didn't even cast shadows; now people with infirmities like Nyoshul Khenpo pretend to transmit such transcendent teaching-how absurd! The elixir of liberating pith-instructions in this unique lineage is like the fresh breath of the wisdom dakinis. The lion's roar of the Dharma has been proclaimed by great snow lion-like yogis in the land of Tibet for thousands of years, but these days there are just a few dogs like Nyoshul Khenpo barking. And not only that, but they shamelessly go here and there to every country in the world, barking, eating others' food, and kicking up a ruckus-how utterly laughable!

I spent several years at Kathok Monastery, one of the six main Nyingmapa monasteries. Kathok was called in Tibetan Kathok Dorje Den, meaning Kathok Bodh Gaya or Kathok the Vajra-seat of Enlightenment. This seven hundred year old gompa in Kham is renowned as the second Bodh Gaya. It is reported that one hundred thousand yogis attained the Rainbow Light Body there. Another tale recalls the fabled yellow sky of Kathok, where so many fully ordained bhikkus lived that the golden sky continuously reflected the bright yellow hue of their formal monastic robes.

At Kathok Gompa, my own lamas were twelve great tulkus (incarnate bodhisattvas); eight spiritually accomplished, learned khenpos, the kind of khenpos (unlike many today) who knew everything and had memorized the entire Kangyur and many of the commentaries too; and five ordinary enlightened lamas who were neither tulkus nor khenpos but had achieved great attainments through their own spiritual efforts while remaining humble practitioners and staunch pillars of the sangha.

After receiving the significant pith-instruction transmission from Shedrup Tenpai Nyima, I did a one-year solitary retreat in a cave, practicing tummo (mystic heat yoga) and concentrating on those aural pith-instruction teachings. I further pursued my studies until my mid-twenties. I practiced tummo in the snowy wilderness until the falling snow melted around me. During another period of intensive practice, I lived for a time like a wild animal in the forest, uninhibitedly practicing rushen (Dzogchen ngondro) with several other yogis under the guidance of my guru. I still remember what that was like, living freely and uninhibitedly, beyond all conceptual restraints and social conventions-just like the mahasiddhas of old!

I practiced the tantric Prajna Paramita sadhanas called chod (Cutting Ego), meditating all night in terrifying cemeteries and charnel grounds, offering my body to the hungry ghosts and karmic creditors. Other periods I spent meditating alone on windswept mountaintops and in caves consecrated by the lineage masters of old, or on pilgrimage to sacred sites and Shangri-la-like hidden valleys where the patriarchs and matriarchs of Vajrayana Buddhism had meditated, where I made offerings and supported virtuous and worthwhile spiritual activities. I completed the training in the six yogas of Naropa and Mahamudra according to the Kagyu system, as well as the Sakyapa Lamdray (Path and Fruition) and Korday Yermay (The Inseparability of Samsara and Nirvana), and the anuttara yoga tantra Kalachakra teachings. It is said that I completed all these various practices, encountered the yidam deities, and received blessings, transmissions, and empowerments directly from them, just like the root and lineage masters of the past.

Then I traveled, receiving teachings and Vajrayana transmissions from two dozen other enlightened masters, whom I consider my root lamas, from all the different traditions and lineages extant in Tibet. By that time I knew what I was after and where to find it. I practiced and accomplished these teachings, thus becoming a Rimé (trans-sectarian) master, heir to all the sacred teachings of the Eight Great Chariots of Buddhism in Tibet, which are now subsumed within the four main Tibetan sects: Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya, and Gelug.

ESCAPE FROM TIBET
My colleagues and I had to escape from Tibet in 1959, because of the Chinese invasion. Any monks, nuns, and lamas who were caught were disrobed, imprisoned, humiliated, beaten, and tortured mercilessly. Religious practice in Tibet during the Sixties and Seventies was considered a reactionary political crime, punishable by death. I lost touch with all who remained behind, including the vestiges of my family. I would not be reunited with my surviving brothers and sisters until a visit to eastern Tibet in 1992.

In India I requested and received complete teachings and transmissions from many great Tibetan masters, including Padma Sambhava's incarnate regent, H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche; Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche (Manjusri in person); and the living Buddha, H.H. the sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa. Later these same lamas, as well as others (including Tai Situ Rinpoche, Pema Norbu Rinpoche, Sakya Trichen, and Dzogchen Rinpoche) asked me to be Khenpo (Abbot-professor) at their monasteries, in order to educate sangha members and train khenpos in dialectic colleges.

I still pray constantly to those twenty five root masters who gave me everything that I have and am. For even if one knows hundreds of thousands of excellent people-or, for that matter, hundreds of thousands of evil people-one's tsawai lama (root guru) is the most important person in one's life. Actually, what truly astounds me the most is not my teachers, but the teachings of the natural Great Perfection, Dzogchen; that is the really marvelous, magical, and most inconceivable surprise in my experience, and the thing I am most grateful for. I am inexpressibly grateful to my teachers for the teachings they gave me. I try to do all I can to repay their kindness by passing it on to others, wherever I have been over the years. For I truly believes that it is this, and this alone, that is most profoundly beneficial.
I lived in India for twenty five years by myself, without accumulating anything, just one old man alone, sometimes walking around in red Tibetan-style clothes, sometimes in old orange or yellow sadhu robes or simple wraps. Sometimes I gave Dharma talks inside monasteries. I also stayed sometimes with sadhus in Rishikesh and Haridwar, along the Ganges, in ashrams, huts, lean-tos, under trees, wherever the descent of dusk found me. So many different dream-like experiences! Sometimes I was exalted and quite comfortable, more often I was bereft and poverty-stricken. Yet the inexhaustible wealth of inner truth and peace that is the Dharma always sustained me well. Sometimes I gave empowerments to great assemblies of people, including dozens of tulkus and lamas, where they put a golden initiation vase in my hand and I placed it on the heads of thousands of monks. At other times I was utterly poverty-stricken, living hand-to-mouth on the streets in Calcutta wandering around with my hand out begging for pennies. So many unexpected ups and downs, who can describe them? Life is like that, full of unexpected twists and turns-illusory, impermanent, ungovernable, and unstable. And in the end, we all die. What a spectacle!

So many different experiences, memories, and reflections-some good and some bad-just like different kinds of dreams. One night in 1959 I was with about seventy people who were escaping together from Tibet, and a few thousand Chinese soldiers were in the surrounding mountains, searching for the fugitives in the darkness. The soldiers suddenly opened fire, and machine gun bullets and tracers flew everywhere. Of the seventy in my party, only five could be found alive the next day; I don't know what happened to the rest. Our small band of five continued on foot through the high Himalayan passes to India, following in the footsteps of the Dalai Lama, seeking refuge in Assam, Bhutan, Darjeeling, and Kalimpong-wherever food, shelter, and political asylum were to be found.

I then lived in the lowlands as a refugee for years, in exile from the Land of Snows, huddled with others in crowded refugee camps and steamy trains, collecting alms in hot and dusty Indian streets. Some years later I unexpectedly found myself riding across vast oceans in jet airplanes and coasting up and down the length of giant needle-shaped skyscrapers in boxcar-like air-conditioned elevators in the great capitals of the modern world, sleeping in both grand hotels and on the rugs and couches of modern living rooms, eating sometimes in restaurants and outdoors on sunny patios, being served like a king.

In the early Seventies, I seemed to have a stroke and almost died; some think I was poisoned in a restaurant in Kalimpong. My nervous system traumatized, I was a complete invalid for several years. Before that, I had given vast and profound teachings and cycles of empowerments to many people, including monks, lamas, tulkus, and laypersons, all over the Himalayan region. Afterwards, I could not see very well, I was lame, my hands shook, and I was expected to die. During that difficult time I was cared for in Kangyur Rinpoche's gompa in Darjeeling. Lama Sonam Tobgyal from Riwoche Gompa was my faithful attendant for six years during that period, in India and later in Europe. The grand yogi-master of Bhutan, Lopon Sonam Zangpo, suggested to me that if I would take a wife and undertake longevity practices my health would improve. (I had been a monk until this time.) The old and venerable yogi, who was the father of Trinley Norbu Rinpoche's late wife, arranged for me to marry Damcho Zangmo, who proved to be a perfectly suitable long-life consort and wife.

Some time later I was brought to Switzerland for medical treatment. I stayed a couple of years with my Tibetan followers in the large Tibetan community there, then spent seven or eight years in retirement in the Nyingma center in the Dordogne Valley in southwestern France, teaching only occasionally. For four years I lived and taught in the Chanteloube three-year retreat center there, after which-in 1984-my wife, Damcho-la, came from Bhutan to join me.

Since that time my health has improved and I have been more active, teaching all around the world, in both East and West, invited by centers of many different sects and lineages. Damcho-la and I have made two visits to Tibet: once with H.H. Khyentse Rinpoche and an entourage in 1990, and again with Penor Rinpoche in 1992, when I met my remaining family members. I am presently working to rebuild my three monasteries and construct several small new hospitals in Kham. Damcho-la and I make our home at her house in Thimpu, the capital of Bhutan, the last remaining independent Buddhist country in the Himalayas.

Isn't life like a movie or a dream, a series of dreams within a vast, dream-like mirage? How to possibly remember all the different scenes that inevitably transpired from the time that Khenpo was an illiterate little wimp in Kham until now, when he is a talkative old vagabond with white hair and wrinkles? What a surprise!-old and bent already. What a spectacle!-a dim-sighted aged Tibetan tourist peering around at foreign lands. Emaho! Marvelous! Wonderful!

How to explain the infinite vagaries of experience, except by considering it all as the workings of the ineluctable law of cause and effect, karma? And who is creating this karma, which each of us seem to experience; who except ourselves? When we recognize that we create our own karma and are therefore responsible for our own experience, both good and bad, doesn't this penetrating insight free us from resentment and frustration, instilling a sense of freedom and responsibility as well as compassion for those suffering from lack of such awareness?
Bloggers note: Me and my family had the privilege of living downstairs of Nyoshul Khenpo Rinpoche’s home in Thimphu. I’ve nothing but only wonderful memories of this living Buddha. I remember being unconditionally happy at his presence, as if everything was going to be good with my life. I guess that’s the effect of a truly enlightened being. I was really happy to have come across this autobiographical tale of rinpoche (which my brother shared with me). My dad was happy when I read the details of it. Anyone who reads this would have only inspiration to draw from it.

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an extraordinary conversation

This is an extraordinary conversation between two of the greatest minds. To understand the meaning of mediation, this is very useful. The conversation answers some of the basic question we have in our heads * as least with mine*


the rest is here:
part 2
part 3
part 4
part 5

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two new books

Finally i got the two books i've been waiting for. It's basically compilation of Brandon’s artwork, photographs and journals entries. If i write a book, i'll probably do something like this.
These are some of the pages from the two books.





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Zeitgest: Addendum


Today i was reading Brandon's blog and found link to following documentary.
For a mind boggling experience, i recommend you to watch Zeitgeist: Addendum available at http://www.zeitgeistmovie.com/
Hope you have one and half hour of your time but I promise your brain will hyperventilate at the end.

The word Zeitgest "is a German language expression literally translated: Zeit, time; Geist, spirit, meaning "the spirit of the age and its society". The word zeitgeist describes the intellectual, cultural, ethical and political climate, ambience and morals of an era (similar to the English word "mainstream") or also a trend. In German, the word has more layers of meaning than the English translation, including the fact that Zeitgeist can only be observed for past events" (taken from wikipedia).

picture taken from www.zeitgeistmovie.com

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Paris je t'aime


I just got back from my trip to Paris.
I must say i've never been to a city that beautiful. Every wonderful thing people say about that city is true and even more. There are so many monuments, gallaries and places to see but i had only two days, so basically I was running around with a map to see as much as i could.
One thing i've realized from my trip to Paris is how my knowledge of the city comes from movie, music, history and books. I use to think watching movies was big waste of time but it's amazing how much or little i already know of the city from the movies I’ve watched.

I've read the famous 'Da Vinci Code' and also seen the movie, so one thing on my list was to see the Louvre (AKA the grand gallery). We were given only three hours but apparently it takes at least one week to see all the amazing masterpieces inside Louvre. So with little time i had, i wanted to see the one painting that draws million or even more to this place. There was a huge line when we went to buy the tickets. When we finally got the ticket, there was another huge line to go inside the main gallery (security check). I was beginning to wonder if the line would ever end but i was just too excited and looking forward to see the paining that the line begin to move forward swiftly. While waiting in queue, I got to see the exact location of MM’s tomb (RL’s theory at the end – if you’ve read Da Vinci Code). This was another exciting moment for me.
As soon as we got inside the main gallery, my quest to see that famous painting begin. I almost felt like Mrs. Jones on a quest. I had only two hours. It was definitely an overwhelming feeling to see so many master pieces and history right before my eyes in one giant hallway. Finally after skipping thought many arts, i entered a room. There was a giant panel centered away from the middle of the room and it had only one paining hung on it, one of the many attraction of Louvre, the masterpiece of Da Vanci, the very beautiful Mona Lisa.

Another highlight of the trip was seeing the famous Notre Dame. It’s amazing how my knowledge of this place comes from a Walt Disney cartoon 'The hunchback of Notre Dame'. I have and always will be a cartoon freak. One of the fist cartoons i've seen was Bambi. I can still remember crying when Bambi's mother dies. Anyways that's beside the point. Notre Dame is considered one of the most beautiful churches in the world. I can see what they mean by that. It's truly an architectural marvel or miracle. My mind was just too amazed to even comprehend the amazing detail of each element of that church. As soon as i saw the gargoyles on the highest tip of the Notre Dame, i though of Quasimodo’s three gargoyle guardian (lol). We were lucky enough to catch the sunset hit the place. i just couldn't stop drooling like a fool when i saw this place.

And of course there is the Sacre Coeur, another beautiful architecture on the highest point of Paris, the very popular Eiffel tower, the beautiful Arc, the Opera Garnier, La Defense, Moulin Rouge, Pompidou and many others. All these places were breathtaking. For someone who loves art, what more can i say... it was purely WONDER-FUL and bit too overwhelming at times:)

PS: the weather was amazing. Blue Sky and white fluffy clouds everywhere.

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music and animation

Today my sister sent me an animation she made a long time ago. As always i though it was amazing. The reason why i love her artworks so much is because it’s totally different and creative. These are things she picked up on her own interest and she started it only when she was in her tenth grade. Before that she was as bad as me. Now art is something that comes to her naturally. I guess there are things you can teach yourself without necessarily learning it anywhere, all you need is passion and interest (and a bit of skill). The song is called 'woo hoo' by a Japanese rock band (three girls) called 'the 5.6.7.8'.

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Maastricht (as i see)



music: Carter Burwell - esme's favourite
place: maastricht
I took all the pictures in one day (on this rather sunny day)

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two videos on youtube

Just something I experimented with cause I’ve never made a video before.



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colours of spring

Spring is wonderful, the warmth and the sun. Its definately worth appreciating after long winter cold. I've been out with my camera these days, trying to frame the colours of the spring. Some picture i took these couple of days.





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15 mins late

I missed my exam for the last module. The funny thing is that i was so definite that the exam starts at 10am, so in my mind i was 45 mins early when i was 15 mins late. The rule was changed just the other day which i unfortunately did not read cause i was busy studying for the exam. I normally recheck with my friends for the examination time but this time I didn’t. Ironically it turns out i did tell Sarah that it starts at 9. Well when i found out i was late, i just rushed into the examination room but the examiner there (an old lady who apparently doesn't speak English) wouldn't let me in (bloody rule). Well i did everything i could in my capacity to get the exam done on that day. I was so prepared and ready to get it done. I was even locked in a room by my course coordinator so that she could work out on the problem (her idea of shutting me out from information/connection). But somehow nothing got worked out. Well now i just have to take the re-sit which is two months from now. At first i was mad at myself for the sheer stupidity of not asking anyone or checking the course manual twice or even once. But seriously now i'm totally over it. I honestly think that my problems are just too insignificant to be worked out about.
Anyhow my only resolution for this year is to 'experience new thing' so probably this is a good thing; another new accidental experience to add to my list.
These days I’ve just been on deviantart trying to capture spring as much as I can.

pic taken few mins ago

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battle of the bands

Today was the final round of the battle of the bands. The bands i voted for earlier made it (big smile for that).
So today we had The Imagineers, Polot Flames, Jamestown and TV Off. Besides their own songs, all of them had to do a cover song of Nirvana's 'smells like teen sprit'. I loved the version by the imagineers, they made it their own and it sounded like a whole new song. The one by tvoff was very creative since they mixed the music from the cover song with two other song and it totally worked.
so my vote:
first :: TV OFF


second
the imagineers


another night of live music.
hl-otn: the vocalist from tvoff gave me a copy of their CD, how cool is that.

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taking flight





Quite unusual but blue skies and white fluffly clouds finally.

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what is incubus up to?



Nothing much going on but i was youtubing today to find out that 'incubus' will be working on a new album soon. I hope they don't end up over-producing it, i hope its great. Good luck to you guys *yippy!*

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happy birthday Sonam

Happy Happy Birthday Sonam.

Artwork: Baby sonam by kuchu

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the carnival comes




The Maastricht Carnival starts today. I went with my friend to buy costume for the one week carnival. If you dress normally this week, you would probably look very odd and out of place (at least that's what my friend said). The town is filled with people dressed up in the weirdest costume.

We went to few stores that sold the ugliest and the most expensive dresses. It's amazing to see all the colourful dresses, something you would never wear on a normal day. There are range of styles and characters to choose from. I've also noticed most of those stuff are made in China. My budget is tight so i ended up buying a colossal pink glittery hat and a fake feathered neck wear (afterall i need it only for a day). He bought some of the strangest thing because he plans to be a female nurse. It’s overwhelming to see people around me get excited about the whole thing and the town is filled with typical medieval music. Constantly you see a pack of musicians passing by and people drinking beer. It seems like people always find a reason to celebrate here.

Today a week of wonderful lecture also ended. I think so far the best we've ever had. I was feeling bit too emotional when the guy wished us luck and said good bye. You don’t always meet professors who share more than their knowledge and experience and when you do you can't help feeling a bit emotive when they leave.

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azwethinkweiz

I think one emotion we need to do way with is self-doubt, that feeling of ‘I can't do this', 'I suck at this' or 'this is my weakness''. Also the reason why we tend to have self-doubt is because we never made an attempt to see if we can actually do it or due to something external. I mean external because we always tend to compare ourselves to someone or something other than ourselves or because someone said so or indicated it that way. The thing we have to realize is that we know ourselves the best, so what’s the point of letting someone else be the judge of who we are. I also think once we put your mind and hard work into something, anything is possible. There’s no best or worst way of doing something. Each of us has our own interesting way of being or doing things that makes us different from the rest. So how ever we are or how ever we do the things we do, it’s unique and that's a beauty on its own.

Another emotion to be weary of is, worry. Bobby McFerrin couldn't have said it any better, 'don't worry be happy'. Sometimes worrying is good because it pushes you to make things happen but I think worrying about anything in general is just not worth it. Take for example all the assignments I’ve been doing lately. I stayed up untill 3 am in the morning yesterday to get it done by this morning because we had only half a day to finish 15 pages of TM. My German friend (who is the perfectionist in my group) gets too agitated as always and sees a dead end to our paper but amazingly we get it done. I've realized its just no use worrying about things like that cause everything ultimately falls in pieces at the end.

And don't ponder too much about the things you've done wrong in the past. If it’s something good to ponder about, nice but if its the things you wish you would’ve done different, there's nothing much you can do about it. It’s not true when people say having remorse or regret is good. I would say what’s the point? The best you can do is learn from the things you've done which may not necessarily have been the way you would have done them now and move on.

I also think what we need to do away with the bigotry. Apple should shop saying oranges look funny and makes jokes about them and oranges should stop saying apples are snob and foolish. I think what makes this world beautiful, complicated and something to celebrate about is our differences and not the similarities we share. If all of us were oranges, there's nothing much to talk about. Just the other day my friend was telling me that he hope for the Yanki guy not to come to the Serbia trip because he thought he is too loud and stupid. Well I told him that his being there would make the trip even more fun and exciting.

So we have four things we can do away with, self-doubt, worry, regret and intolerance. Its difficult since it’s the part of the package of being a human and having human emotion. One might say that the thing about living and life itself is the regular high and the lows. But at the end of the day if these four things ruin your mental and physical health, it’s just not worth it.

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teachers

When I look back, I think I had the most wonderful English teacher during my ninth and tenth grade. He was from South India and really passionate about his profession. Every Friday we had this thing called ‘personality development’ sessions. So every Friday we carried out range of activities other than the normal syllabi. It was also a competition and it was always fun and fearful since we got to do so many new things. I also remember students from other classes getting a green-eye cause we had such a cool English teacher. He was truly amazing. Also now that I think of it, I think we had the most wonderful English text. It was Shakespeare, poetry and short stories. Everything I love in English literature. What I remember most are the short stories. They were just amazing; the bet, the needle, the man who know too much, the sniper, the face on the wall, the enchanted poll, history lesson, gateman’s gift… These stories were so wonderful, that somehow it’s stuck in my head like a good memory from my childhood.

My Dzongkha handwriting has always been a mess but all that changed during my higher secondary years. I had this really amazing Dzongkha teacher who literarily changed my handwriting from bad to the best (well at least that's what i think). But I certainly need to improve a gazillion on my reading and writing. The funny thing is that my thoughts are bizarrely in English and I always end up putting English words here and there when I speak Dzongkha, it’s awful. You could say I speak Dzonglish and I hate it.

I have always been more found of technical subject. I love math and that’s all because of this amazing teacher from my seventh to tenth grade. I think good teacher have a huge impact on our lives, at least they did in mine. The worst one, i don't really think much about them. Like my history teacher who always said he hated history and history was crab, and he preferred talking more about his broken relationship than he would about history. Now that I think about it, I think he just wasted our time. He was a nice guy though.

I also had teacher who told me 'computer is like a flower' and 'computer is like an ocean'. He was bad but the good thing was that I never forgot the things I learned from my ninth grade computer teacher and that really helped. Our school had brand new computers (it was 1994), most of which had to be thrown away because people put passwords in them. I was really fascinated when he did all the things he did with Ms.DOS (which is a dead language now). But computer is definately one of my favorite subjects even now.

I think I had the worst teachers till the sixth grade. I can’t remember much about any of them cause most of them were mean and I don’t think I learned anything from any of them, seriously! I only remember being scared to get beaten, being scared to ask for permission to go to the toilet and just being scared of everything. It was probably a phase i went through but all that changed when i met the teachers i met later on (some good some bad and some amazing).

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thoughs for today

I feel strangely blue today. It’s probably because of the fact that today is the so called ‘v-day’, I don’t even like spelling the ‘v’ word so I’m just going to say ‘v’. It was probably something invented by one of those card selling companies, like they did Halloween and others. I am told that Santa (the fat guy that goes hohoho in December) is something that the coco cola company came up with in the early 1970s (not too sure about the date). With the red and white he wears, it does make sense. So, they basically came up with the idea of a lovely fat guy going from houses to house on sledge, going down the chimney, dropping presents and all the rest of the things. Now the rest of the world thinks it’s something that has always been there since the beginning of the beginning. Its strange how we make up so many things like that and it becomes a part of us later on, though at the back of our head we know its one big lie. It’s thoroughly confusing when illusions become more real than reality itself. Anyways coming back to now, today is the so called day to be with the person you love. I wonder why the hell you need a day to do that. But it sucks since my husband and I are in two different side of the globe (we share ten hours difference). For people like us, I think it’s a day to be more miserable and miss the person you love even more. For others I guess it’s a wonderful day. So I'll be so gald when today ends.

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to sing in the rain


‘Singin’ in the rain’ has to be one of my favorite musicals of all time. Gene Kelly is amazing in emoting that feeling of being in love.
Being in love surpasses bad weather and every other thing that would normally bring you down, it can only make you wear a goofy smile and the world seems merrier even in the rain. Love has so many manifestations and it’s abundantly everywhere. It’s in a mother’s warm embrace, a walk in the park, sunset, blue sky, jelly fishes floating in space, your son waving at you from a screen, memories, everything and everywhere. I guess we only need to open our heart and mind. So a wish out for everyone to have a reason to wear that goofy smile every day, especially today.

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worn out



I feel tired and out of focus these days. Yesterday was yet another long rainy day in Brussels. It was non-stop hoping from the European Parliament to GTZ, Carnegie Endowment, Advocats Sans Frontieres and the West Sahara office. We took the subway, the tramp and the bus to get to these places. The rain was pouring from every side; we could see torn umbrellas’ in the garbage cans. I hardly get time to think or sleep these days. Today was yet another long day of group assignment without eating a proper meal. I can’t wait for the carnival holiday to start. I miss waking up at 12 noon and I definitely need some time to myself.

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Things I remember as a kid

Staring at the sun and feeling the warmth on my face,
Watching the rain drip from the roof. It feels like you’ll flying up,
Playing rubber band between two polls and having the best time of my life,
Eating chewing gum worth 10 bucks (that’s 40) and not being about to move my jaws the next day,
Stapling the nail on my thumb because I was sure that the staple would not penetrate the nail (I was wrong),
Cutting my upper eyes with our neighbours’ gate and pretending it did not hurt or I didn’t know about the blood oozing away when I went home,
Running stupidly into a nail,
Being nearly bitten by a dozen of our neighbors’ dogs when I was happily running home,
Being amazed at the handkerchief rat that jumped out of my teachers’ hand. For a long time I thought that was magic,
Being clueless in grammar classes,
Having crush on my chemistry teacher because he smelled so nice. I also scored the highest in his subject
Copying from my desk mate only to find all his answers were wrong,
Cello taping my breast cause I was too embarrassed,
Not having a clue when I had my first period,
Banging into things every now and then. Once the injury was so bad that it made my cousin cry because she thought I was a purple monster,
Breaking million and one things because I thought I could save time by carrying everything at once.

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Battle of the Bands



Four bands as usual, this time it was Jamestown, The Imagineers, Offroad and Vortex Surfer. Anyways the ‘battle of the bands’ is a series of competition (through performance) between the upcoming bands where the audience gets to vote for the best band and the runners up. The final round wins them a recording deal and their music gets to be featured in prominent radio broadcast.

The first band was really bad, bad vocal and nothing new about their music. They didn't even interact with the audience so there was this huge empty space between the band and the audience. I was bit confused with the second band since they started with their cowboy hats on (not so much into country music) but those hats were pretty deceiving. They were the best which is why i ended up voting for them. The third band had lots of energy but they were not the best. However, the last band was really young and talented but by then me and my friend were pretty tired, so we ended up heading home after four or five songs from the band. It was another night of awesome live music.

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keep backup

Today i realize the importance of keeping backup. The thing about laptops (no matter how careful you are) is that it can give problem with booting (you never know). It happened twice with me. The first time it worked but this time around, it didn't.
I've also realized that the worst ICT people would only recommend formatting as a solution to all your problems. That's what I was offered. The thing about formatting is that, you just lose everything, the entire file is gone, the drivers are gone and things don't function properly. Internet wouldn't work because i had no network driver. However, at the end of the day, I’m pleased at the fact that i managed to have all the drivers installed (even without the driver CD) and have Internet back. Once that's done, the other things are pretty easy (illegal downloading).
It’s strange that i don't feel anything about losing all my files (everything). I guess there is just no point in that cause there's nothing i can do about it. On the contrary I feel quite happy that my laptop works properly and more happy with my ingenuity.
moral of the story : KEEP BACKUP!!

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distractions

It’s amusing to see 'the many ways' to distract ourselves evolve and transcend. With modernization I must say it’s becoming more and more difficult not to get distracted. Despite that, even the simplest thing can be the cause of distraction. For instance, I am not even hungry but I would end up going to the kitchen looking for something to eat. My room is clean but I would end up vacuuming it. Honestly I don’t know why I do the things that I do to waste time. You cannot even blame it on the object of distraction, because you're the one who decides.

Here I am sitting in front of my computer, looking at my empty mail boxes. My book for the next module, ‘Financing Social Protection’ is still left unopened. I’ve borrowed four other books from the library to read for this week but so far I have not. Instead I’ve let the so called ‘nothing box’ get hold of me.

Sometimes we just waste so much time. Well let’s say on an average a person lives for 60 years, which roughly calculates to 525,600 hrs (surprisingly not much). If this person sleeps on an average 8 hrs a day and spend 20 years on schooling, he would be left with 233,600 hrs (so what was the point of all this calculation), well the point is 233,600 hrs is a lot of time if I decided to spend it more cleverly. I could change the world if I wanted to. For now I close my laptop and open my books but its already 12:33 in the morning, so once again i say 'tomorrow'.

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five on my list

Since I love musical, animation and comedy, the five movies on my list will be
1. Singin' in the rain - Gene Kelly at his best and one of the best musical to be made.
2. 12 angry men - my brother recommended this movie. I think it’s one of the best movies ever to be made. A movie need not necessarily be George lucasi (computer generated, green screen, highly produced, maga stars), it just need a good story and rest will follow.
3. Roman Holidays - if you like Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck like i do.
4. Howl's moving castle – my sister introduced me to Hayao Miyazaki. His work includes Spirited Away, My Neighbours Totoro and many others which are truly inspirational.
5. Mrs. Pettigrew lives for a day - This is another nice musical I watched recently.

This is hard since there are so many good books. However five books to be inspired from will be
1. The Catcher in the Rye - I was inspired to put pen to paper after i read this book. I wrote almost forty two chapters of something about nothing in particular. The sad thing is that this is one of the few works by J.D. Salinger.
2. The Alchemist – I would say Paulo Ceolho’s master piece. The thing about this author is his simplicity in language and he’s not one of those authors who introduce twenty characters in one page. This is a story that tells you to follow your dreams, "when you really want something to happen, the whole universe conspires so that your wish comes true".
Something on the same line would be ‘the secret’ by Rhonda Byrne but i am not too sure about the practical aspects of her message. Wanting something does not make things happen, you have to work towards it.
3. The Coolie - i read this book when i was in the seventh grade. It made me cry so much. It’s one of those books that linger on. A book by Mulk Raj Anand.
4. Tibetan book of Death - one of the most important books to read while you are alive.
5. Fountainhead - i am not much into friction novel but this one was pretty good. This book teaches you about the importance of individualism, at least that's what i though. I think the message of 'individualism' is very important since we live in a society where we can easily get brainwashed by the media, politics and anything external. I think at the end of the day, whatever we do should be not because someone said so, but because we value our own judgement. A book by Ayn Rand.

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Bhutan is facinating

The first thing anyone asks me when i tell them i am from Bhutan is if it's true that getting visa to Bhutan is very expensive and difficult. Apparently they have this misconception about how difficult it is to come to Bhutan.

Yesterday i had few friends come over for lunch. There was this German guy who was not very pleased with Bhutan's 'high value low volume’ tourism policy. Apparently he thinks he's the citizen of the world and that there should not be any barriers between him and where he wants to travel. He has this concept about global community and things like that. He actually came with a bag pack in our apartment. He even told us about his experience of travelling and meeting the masai herders of Tanzania and also something about how his travel there boosted the local industry. However, it’s good that the rest of the people on the table absolutely disagree with him

Well i tell him that the first reason why anyone wants to come to Bhutan is because of it unique culture and rich environment. Now if we don't have that, then we are like the rest of the world and how the policy is a measure to stop the deterioration. Somehow people here seem to be fascinated with where i come from. Not that I blame them because I am pretty fascinated to be where I am from. It’s not even the fact that our capital does not have street lights or the fact that our farmers feed marijuana to the pigs or the fact that television and internet came only in 1999 or the fact that we have acres and acres of untouched lands or the fact that there are only 650 thousand people living in it or the fact that we value happiness above all or the fact we have monarchs who're loved so much by the people (sorry for making you breathless), Bhutan is just fascinating in every possible dimension and I hope it continues to be that way.

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Losar Tashi Delek

I didn't realize it was Losar. The thing about being far from home is you hardly realize what day it is back home. These days I’ve develop this routine of sleeping at 3 and waking up at 10 (sometimes 11 or 12)

Losar use to be extra special when i was kid. During The winter vacation, my family always made it a point to visit our village far East. I had both my great grandparents then, dozens of grandfathers and grandmothers and more than twenty uncles. At one point of time we had five generation in our family living under the same roof (in one of the Losars), something that is considered very special. During the holidays, the house at our village use to be really crowded but that was the beauty and fun of it.

I remember neighbors coming together, playing games, exchanging food and drinks and singing and dancing the night away. Losar use to last for more than a week when i was in village. I remember being served so much food in one plate that there was always something left behind for dinner. We the kids use to entertain, showing off all the dances, songs and stories we learned in school. There was no electricity back then so in the evening we would hear the most fascinating tales from our grandparents which usually starts ‘long long ago…’ and somewhere in the middle there would always be something about the heros ‘crossing the seven seas, the seven ocean and the seven mountains…’. When I think about my childhood, one of the memories I have is that of celebrating losar. So I hope every parents back home makes this losar extra special for their children and family. I hope it’s a time that brings families, friends, neighbours and communities together. I wish everyone Losar Tashi Delek!

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think creative



Besides this I’ve started exploring the creative bit of me. I wish i was gifted with some sort of talent in music, art, photography or something. I don't suppose I have any but I think if i was i would have had so much to offer. Despite being clueless, I’ve started posting some photography on flicker and my so called artwork on deviartart. This has made me take my camera wherever i go. It’s not such a good one with only 4.1 mega pixel and optical zoom 3x. The pictures comes out blurry in the evening and it cannot capture motions. Despite all that i try to make the best out of it. I don't want to get a new one because this one is really close to my heart. It’s something my sister gave me on this really special occasion. So i would not trade it for anything, unless it got broken beyond repair.

I am also bit clueless about Photoshop. I know people who can do crazy stuff there and it sure is handy if you like photo and art manipulation. For now i use picasa 3 for all the picture manupulations. I don't really have a purpose for doing all this but for now its something i like.

photograph: 165 pieces of lentils on kitchen floor

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the last journals


I’ve always been found of writing. Not the structural sort of writing but writing just for the sake or writing. I started keeping journal since high school (not something I do anymore). Going though the so called ‘teenage phase’ a lot of things go through your head. The emotion you feel are extreme and the world you see is a big messed up confusion. I was one confused person I must say, still am. Most of the time you cannot say the things that is going on in your head because there are no spoken words for it and also who do you tell these stuff to. Sometimes speaking is bit too overrated and I think some things are better said when it’s written down especially when it involves the maze in your head.

I think writing about things going on in my head was a big release for me. It was therapeutic because once it’s written down it’s no longer inside you but somewhere out there. When you write something down, it feels like someone or rather something is patiently listening to you and doesn't hold it against you. But the funny thing is I’d burn all those journals at the end of the year. One time I forgot to burn them, so I had four or five of them lying around in my parents’ house. Before setting the last of them on fire, I went through the pages of it and found out that my husband was the first to wish me on my 19th birthday.

artwork 'i don't do journals' by Kuchu

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examination

The first time when I went to college, I was the happiest only because of one reason. I thought my days of sitting for examination were over. I don’t know how I got that naive idea but I’ll blame it on my many uncles. The things they use to tell me about that particular college I went to was fascinating. From what they said (about their experience), I assumed that a college was a place for one big fun and no more worries about examination. So despite travelling six hundred kilometers away from home and being in mids of fog and mist, I was the happiest. I guess no one could really understand the shock and disappointment on my face when I discovered otherwise.

Well here I am, done with college and done with my post-graduation diploma but still doing series of examination after examination. I finally comprehend with the fact that life is a never ending examination. It need not necessarily be the one you take in a classroom with series of questions to answer but with every other thing. Which reminds me I got another exam tomorrow. So wish me luck because I think I’ll need them.

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10 songs i'm listening to




i wanted to add songs from siobhan donaghy and death cab for cutie but those are hard to find.

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OL's blog

link link link


kudos to OL!

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my room-mates

I’ve got three amazing roommates. Alex from Greece, studies Bachelors in International Economics. Right now he’s making a big deal out of his sprained ankles (souvenir from last night basketball game) and walking with crutches
Ester’s from Hungary and does liberal arts. It amazes me to see her do mix of so many odd subjects which I would never think of. Last month it was songs and poetry and this month is hard core law.
Dolly from Nigeria, studies the same subject as me. Well we are one big happy family here at Mergelweg 102.

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being focused & geeks

I think i am full of rubbish for doing what i did. It's something that makes you scream in shame and it’s something i have to put to an end. The funny thing is when you tell yourself, ok i am not doing this or i am not doing that, the thought of that certain thing is always in your head. The more you try not to think about it, to more you end up thinking about it. So what is the solution when you don't want to do something? Well i guess i'll never know but one thing is for sure, i am definitely not doing what i did. I've already taken measures starting from now and also i have this page to remind me to keep myself straight, focused and sane.

Well its weekend and i got exercises from six chapters of econometrics. Sometimes the thing that i am learning here does not make much sense. The whole idea is that i can use whatever i have learned when i head back home. One useful thing that I’ve learned so far is STATA. It’s an amazing programme and i just love it. Despite the fact that i've never heard of it before i think i am doing pretty good and there are people here who knows nothing much about it. Anyways i've learned that geeks here are pretty snobbish, in a sense that they tend to put other people down quite a lot (i can't understand the thing about them wearing glasses). I am friends with most of them but i think i certainly don't like the way they are when it comes to thinking they know it all. Most of the time they are full of rubbish and they tend to be too stubborn on their thinking. I could try to convince them otherwise but their minds are pretty much made up. Anyways one day (probably when they are at their 40s or 50s), they will realize how full of shit they were.

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meditation



Being a Buddhist, it is important to know the art of meditation. But I don't think I know much about the practical aspects of it. There is a German in my class who seem to know more than i do and it’s something he does daily.
i always thought meditation involves deep concentration or focus on an image or an object but it is totally the other way round. It is more of freeing your mind and letting go as Sogyal Rinpoche calls here 'the natural striptease'. The way Rinpoche explains it here, it seems more doable.

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my bad advice

A little while ago i spend some hours talking to my friend. Apparently he feels confused about having an affair with another girl. Despite the fact that he still loves his girlfriend, he went on doing what he did. Not that I blame him cause they’re having this thing called the ‘long distance relationship’ which is pretty common here. He is still friend with the other girl, who i might say is a wonderful person. He even avoids meeting her for the fear of doing something wrong again. Despite all that when he tells me about how he met his girlfriend nine or ten years ago, I think what they have is pretty strong.

In the past he was honest enough to tell her about his infidelity and no surprise she did not take it well. Even now things get heat up because she always tend to remind him of the certain wrong thing he did in the past whenever they have a fight. But I tell him not to tell her about the recent affair he’s had. I mean honestly, some things are better kept to yourself. I can’t understand why the past should hunt you anyways. The past has no shape or form. It’s only a memory and memories are like a dream. Unless one feels attached to the memory and makes a big deal out of it. He tells me he’s not crazy to do something as stupid as that.
I guess it’s pretty hard to forgive something like that once you know about it but I think people should move on anyways. Honestly human emotions are way too complicated.

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make your contribution

I contributed eight pictures to Bhutan Observer today. Our king's birthday is just around the corner and BO will be creating this amazing poster of HM from millions of Bhutanese faces. It'll be nice to be one of those faces. I think Bhutan is blessed to have wonderful monarchs. I just love my kings to the core. Well if you are a Bhutanese and if you want to make your contribution to this amazing poster, send in your pictures to lobzangdorji@bhutanobserver.com.bt

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homesick

I feel pretty homesick and depressed these days. I think I’ve been in this place too long. But i guess another six months would go by pretty quickly. ‘Time is relative’ so they say.

Today was the first day in school after a long holiday. Everyone was looking very pleased to see one another going 'hi, how are you, happy new year, how was the holidays…'. Something i just hate being around that sortta situation. Well if i talk about my holidays, it basically involved me getting up at noon, watching too much movies and basically doing nothing. Not that i complain but now that's over, i wish i would have worked more on my thesis, learned a bit of Japanese, travelled more or done something extraordinary. To cheer myself up, i met up with my friend and we went to watch a movie. Nothing like being with a good friend and having a good time. The world feels more merrier now.

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Nyoshel Khen Rinpoche


Today i feel really happy because i came across this link on youtube. I have very fond memories of Nyoshel Khen Rinpoche who (when i was kid) use to live above our apartment. We use to live in this place where many of great Buddhist teachers were our neighbors. I remember him giving us sweets and other goodies whenever he saw us outside. My brother use to fake crying outside his window just so that he would get something. He was also my teacher. Nyoshel Khen is an embodiment of compassion, joy and enlightment. I use to feel this great energy of love and compassion when i was around him. Even now seeing this video of him makes me feel very happy.

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today

Today when i woke up, it was snowing so heavy. Everything looked white. The snow was almost 30 cm thick. I instantly thought I’ll cancel my trip to Eindhoven (to pick up something i needed to pick from some place) but i went anyways. It was nice walking on the show. On one occasion i fell down and landed on my bottom right in the center of the town, which i rather found amusing. I think the embarrassment lasted less than a second. It took me few hours to go though the town and be done with my business. After few train and bus rides, I was instantaneously back in Maas by four.

The sad news is that just few hours ago, I found out that my friend’s dad passed away. I went to her place as soon as I heard the news, hoping to be of some use. It’s a sad cause I can only imagine the pain she’s going though. Sometimes I think I am stupid for not knowing what to do or say when the other person is going though that much pain and sadness. I only hope I made her feel little better when I left her place. She leaves tomorrow. I pray for her safe journey back home.

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Happy New Year

A very very Happy New Year to Everyone! I hope and pray that the year 2009 is the year for happiness, peace and prosperity all around the globe. I hope people acquire new wisdom and compassion for all fellow being. To my friends and family, i wish you adventure, new experience, happiness and good health. To the leaders around the world, i wish you strength, compassion and wisdom to make a positive difference in this world.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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