for the last several days, we’ve gone to the dalai lama’s teachings. it has been so cool! there are two sessions per day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. for each session, he walks in through the crowd, does the teaching up in front, and then walks back through the crowd. when he is actually doing the teaching, we’re pretty far back, so it’s a bit hard to see him, but when he passes through the crowd, he’s fairly close. it’s so exciting to actually see him!
over the last few weeks, i’ve read a lot about him and he’s one of the most amazing people ever. such an incredibly warm, happy, courageous person. despite the fact that his country has been virtually demolished by the chinese and millions of his people have been killed, he still doesnt believe in violence and wants to settle the situation in a peaceful manner. he gives hope to so many tibetan and many many more people throughout the world. he’s won the nobel peace prize. he’s written so many books to help others achieve happiness, have compassion, and have peaceful minds. each time he walks through the crowd, he just radiates happiness and warmth. i, and everyone else around, literally can’t help but smile when he’s there. you really do feel like you’re in the presence of a buddha. yesterday, we managed to get ourselves right next to the path where he walks through the crowd, and so we were only a yard or two away as he passed by. so great!
although seeing the dalai lama has been wonderful, the teachings themselves have not been so great for us. there’s a variety of reasons for that. first off, as i said, there’s the crazy battle for seats on a daily basis. we’ve had a bunch of difficulties w/ some russians. if you want the full story, here’s caryn’s account of it. anyways, the troubles didnt stop there, and we had to battle w/ them for the following two day until finally we realized we just had to give up. the whole thing was incredibly frustrating.. there were times when i would be saying “hello!!! hello!!!” to the guy who would just stare down at his paper, and ignore me completely and pretend i wasnt there. it was tough trying to keep the situation from pissing us off. second, the reception for the radios we had (to listen to the translation) was often terrible. constant hissing and screeching, and it was tough to hear anything in our headphones above the loudspeakers. two of our radios broke (that’s what happens when you pay $3.50 for a radio!), but then, finally, our third radio actually worked pretty well. lastly, a lot of this stuff was just a bit too much for us. we barely even know the basics of buddhism! although it’s very fascinating, i think taking the one week course was plenty information for us (for now), and listenting to two more weeks of lecture for 5 hours per day, is a bit over the top.
so, i think we’ll probably be leaving McLeod Ganj in a few days. it’s been an incredible 18 or so days. even without the dalai lama, the time we spent here has been a lot of fun, but seeing the dalai lama was definitely one of the highlights!