Good-bye Kathmandu, Hello Bhutan

Yep. My bags are packed to fly Sunday from Kathmandu to Paro. I’ve been living out of a suitcase now for almost a year. But it’s over! In Paro we have a house and a garden. It’s going to be rustic, real, and wonderful. Until the winter comes, that is. Then I’ll have to find another solution, as Bhutan homes have no heat. I’ll miss the Boudha and walking around it every day. And I can’t wait to get away from Kathmandu’s constant air and noise pollution. Paro, Bhutan is a pristine paradise in comparison. Our house is in the settlement…

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Musings on Padmasambhava and Chöd Buddhist Practice

Who is Padmasambhava? The energy of Padmasambhava is very strong in Bhutan. His special vibration is one of the main reasons I’m here, since he’s been present in my meditations for a long time. Padmasambhava is said to have been born about 700 years after Christ in the NW Indian province of Oḍḍiyāna. He traveled and studied with many great Indian masters, and was able to purify negative obstacles in Tibet and Bhutan to make way for the great tantric schools of Tibetan Buddhism. This was part of a shift away from Bön Buddhism that lasted many centuries. Statues of Padmasambhava can…

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I’m still in Kathmandu, How to Count to Ten

A change in Lama D’s schedule requires that we stay in Kathmandu for a few more weeks. I’m looking forward to moving back to Bhutan soon! In the meantime, I’m making the best of things, writing my books, walking every day, and learning to count! It turns out learning to count in Nepal and Bhutan is not that simple. The two countries use the same numbering system as ours, but the characters are written differently. The system we use in the West are called the Arabic or Hindu-Arabic numerals. This system is attributed to Indian mathematicians between the 1st and…

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Meditation Caves, Buddha’s Birthday, Our Last Days in Kathmandu

Lama D and I had a relaxing lunch at Schechen Monastery today. Clean yummy food. The best Dahl and Yak cheese in Kathmandu! We are getting ready to go back to Bhutan. Our house is waiting for us in Paro. I’m looking forward to clean air, pristine water, learning Dzongkha, and writing my next book, Kingdom of Happiness, The Bhutan Travel Cookbook. Asura cave, Pharping We visited Padmasambhava’s cave in Pharping, high in a mountain monastery near Kathmandu. Asura cave is a cave sacred to Guru Rinpoche. Guru Rinpoche, or Padamasambhava was the wise and powerful guru who brought Tibetan Buddhism to…

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Meet the Blue Poppy, National Flower of Bhutan

No, it’s not an opium-producing poppy, but it is a mythical one. The mesmerizing and hypnotically bright blue poppy, Meconopsis gakyidiana, was once believed to be a legend, as it’s notoriously difficult to spot in the highest mountains. Many kinds of poppies grow in the world, but the bright BLUE Poppy grows only in Bhutan. Yep, the national flower of Bhutan grows in the highest altitude, above tree level. To find the Blue poppy, you’ll have to trek up in the mountains over tree level to 3,500 meters or 11,000 feet above sea level! Then if you’re lucky, you can…

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The reward for good work is… yes, more work

Hello friends, My first teacher, Swami Rudrananda known as Rudi, once said: “The reward for good work is more work.” Ha Ha! So it’s been a week of MUCH more work, preparing, editing and refining my book proposals for a publisher. Here’s a draft of the first chapter, the overview. Feel free to take a look. All is well here in Kathmandu. 1. Srijana’s Six Product Proposal, May 17, 2019 2. Overview of Six Products Although the Buddha lived two thousand five hundred years ago, his words still touch people as if he had spoken them yesterday. As an avid collector…

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I Visit the Headless Goddess, and Start a New Book

High up on a hill overlooking the Kathmandu valley is a small village which guards the oldest temple in Nepal. No one knows for sure how old the temple is. The famous inscription on the Western Gate was written by King Manadeva in 464 CE. The Hindu temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and some of his friends, in the vast pantheon of Hindu gods and goddesses. Legend tells us in ancient times, a cow herder bought a beautiful cow which gave large amounts of milk. Every day it grazed in the hills of Bhaktipur, but one day it stopped…

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Turning Point! I Visit Durbar Square, Ancient Kingdom of Patan

I FINALLY finished my book proposal. To celebrate, I took a day off to visit the Kingdom of Patan with my friend Lee who is visiting from India. On the other side of the Bagmati River in Kathmandu lies an ancent city that even now boasts an unparalleled artistic heritage. The Kingdom of Patan, also known as Lalitpur has undergone numerous transformations since its cultural peak thousands of years ago. The city within a city retains its glory as a city of culture, religion, art, history, and a rich fusion of Buddhism and Hinduism that has peacefully coexisted for centuries. Patan…

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Kathmandu Rainy Season is Here!

It’s the rainy season in Nepal. The Temal Jatra Festival last week marks the beginning, and it rains every day, mostly in the afternoon. This week I’ll show you a few interesting things about living in Kathmandu. There’s no running water to speak of in Kathmandu. I’m lucky to live in an apartment building with seven units, and we have a huge water tank on the rooftop. It’s filled by pumping water through pipes upstairs. Passive solar panels provide enough power to give hot water almost every day, although you never know how long it’s going to last. So when…

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The Nepali Festival of Temal Jatra, and my five new projects.

Today was pandemonium at Boudhanath in Kathmandu. Thousands of people from all over Nepal came to pay their respects to the stupa. Countless prayer groups, butter lamps, family tents, hundreds of lamas, and thousands of beggars lined the stupa all around. Temal Jatra is one of the main festivals of the Tamang community here. Tamang is one of the most important ethnic groups in Nepal. Roughly 6% of Nepalis or 1.5 milion people are of Tamang origin. Ta means horse and Mang means rider or trader. So they were horse people. Tamangs have their own distinct branch of Buddhism, language,…

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