It’s been a quiet week in Paro. I’m writing books and guiding Lama D’s children with school projects. The exciting news is that I got stung by a wasp while taking out the garbage. On the ear. Yep. It was an amazing experience. These babies are tiny, generally peaceful, and powerful!
At first the pain was overwhelming. After about two minutes it became an almost pleasurable warmth spreading across the right side of my cranium and face. The following six days my facial nerves have been tingling red and hot. The strangest thing is that a 5-year numbness in my right trigeminal nerve is gone. A remnant of a bad case of trigeminal neuralgia (shingles) left me with constant numbness, and it’s mostly gone now! I feel greater mental clarity too. What? Was the sting beneficial? I’ve used bee sting acupuncture before, and it works! Now we have Bhutan wasp therapy. I do not understand.
Yep. Bhutan is amazing. Wasps here are generally harmless unless frightened. All living creatures are protected in Bhutan as part of the sacred chain of life. It’s considered a sin against Nature to hurt them or pull down their nests. There are thousands of wasps in hundreds of nests on our house. From now on I’ll wear a hat and move very slowly when going in and out the back door.
Bhutan bees are so protected that they fearlessly build their honeycombs in the open on the outside of monasteries. Here is the most important monastery in the country, Punakha Dzong, with huge honeycombs on the windows.
It’s summer and time to plant rice in Bhutan. Students get a school break, go back to their villages to help with the effort. At our family farm in Punakha, it’s all hands on deck right now. Many brothers, sisters and cousins have gone home to help work. But two of Lama D’s children are exempt. Baby and Norbu have come to live with me in Paro and study English. The family feels their education is top priority and they’re also here to “take care of me”- ha ha! We’re having a lovely time, working on English, finishing their school projects and playing. Baby has to write a paper on Gandhi, so tonight we’re watching the movie with Ben Kingsley.
This is Baby and Kunga in our back yard. We’re on our way to town to get supplies for Kunga’s model of the solar system.
The town of Paro is stunningly beautiful, nestled between forested mountains. That is Paro Dzong in the background (Dzong means monastery-fortress). This monastery was built in 1644 by the Father of Bhutan, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. He built it on a foundation built 800 years earlier by Guru Rinpoche, Padmasambhava. The dzong’s full name, Rinchen Pung Dzong means ‘Fortress on a Mountain of Jewels’. The fort was needed on numerous occasions to defend the Paro valley from invasions by Tibetan armies. A British political officer John Claude White reported that in 1905 there were still old catapults for throwing huge stones stored in the rafters of the dzong’s roof.
Lama D’s son Kunga is working on a model of the solar system for his eighth-grade school project. He is using balloons, paper mache, and paint. So far he’s finished the Earth, Jupiter, Mars and Mercury. It’s not exactly to scale, however it will fit into a car.
Cousin Damchey Zam came to visit us for a day. She is 19-years old, on break from her culinary school across town.
Dinner time. Cousin Damche Zam made us a delicious carrot soup and broccoli in fresh butter. As usual it was served with red rice and Emma Datshi (Chili peppers with cheese).
I’m deep in the land of the Druk Dragon these days. This is the mythical dragon protector of Bhutan. It lives in the mountains and occasionally roars with lightning and thunder. The Dragon holds the precious jewels of Buddhism in its claws.
Today I’m taking a break from the books. For some reason the final chapters are the most difficult. I have two remaining to write. These chapters are not my ideas. Therefore I wait for inspiration. It’s an exciting, transformational project for me, and it is nearing completion. Here are the contents so far:
Thanks for stopping by! I look forward to seeing you soon. My next post I expect will be next Friday.