Varanasi I


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My train from Kolkata was two hours late. But no matter, I thought. I’m here. Though I had little idea what “here” meant. It was dark. I found my way out of the train station, knowing I would encounter enterprising … Continue reading

Tibet Now


This gallery contains 11 photos.

  There is a powerful presence in Bodhgaya of ex-pat Tibetans. There are booths along the streets to the main venue for various Tibetans causes. Students for Free Tibet, a very effective and long-standing global presence for Tibetan Freedom is … Continue reading

Kalachakra: Turning the Wheel of Time


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 One purpose of the entire Kalachakra Initiation is to turn the wheel of time, to accelerate our encounter with our own karma. Because the wheel is also symbolic of timeless bliss, we are also presented, as is the intention of … Continue reading

Kalachakra: Preliminaries


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The monks sitting in the glass house are able to sustain chanting for hours on end. There are only minimal breaks of a minute or less before proceeding from one portion of ritual to another. This surely means they are … Continue reading

Kalachakra: Swimming In An Ocean of Benefit


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As the program moved into the teachings on Shantideva’s Way of the Bodhisattva, more people arrive to the covered venue. They are now lining the walkways, even sitting across from each other in the narrow aisles between the corrals. The … Continue reading

Kalachakra: Immersion


This gallery contains 10 photos.

Our first task upon arrival in Bodhgaya was to register for the event and get our ID badges. We found the registration area, but the gate was closed and guarded from the inside. We could see multiple lines waiting to … Continue reading

Bodhgaya IV–color and contrasts


Another visit to Maha Bodhi Temple. So much to see and feel here. Color and design.

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The ocean of devotion.




A prostration board soaked in sweat.

The ngondro practice is not mere recitation or repetition. It is the deliberate progressive effacement of ego, a slow drip of purification to reveal that which is already unstained.









An amazing display of flower arranging–mostly marigold.


I spent part of the morning yesterday visiting an semi-rural orphanage/school, the Human Development Charitable Trust, which is completely dependent on the kindness of strangers. The most primitive of conditions. The most radiant faces.


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Abundance and squalor:

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The complete destruction of a waterway.

Thailand has more than a dozen installations in Bodhgaya, including this most beautiful (and from what I can tell, almost entirely hidden) Thai temple I’ve seen anywhere, including Thailand. Its peaked roof is barely visible from the Maha Bodhi temple. It’s actually difficult to find. And it’s huge, including a monastery–of course!–and a large residential facility solely for visiting Thais. As striking as it is from the outside, it was the inside that left me slack-jawed.


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The inner walls and ceilings of most Thai temples are painted with scenes depicting Buddhist philosophy and the Life of Buddha. These were the most finely detailed and colourful of all.


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Buddha’s enlightenment


All in all, a deeply provocative experience for my visit to India in decades. I’m so glad I came, though I also won’t be sad to leave. If I return, it will be for a different reason, at a different pace, and at a different time of year.


Ceiling mandala at Nyingma temple, Bodhgaya


Ceiling painting at Nyingma temple


Nyingma Temple exterior painting


Bodhgaya III


This gallery contains 10 photos.

Those of us attending the teachings at Tergar Monastery, also referred to as the Karmapa Monastery, were graced with a brief visit from the Karmapa himself on Wednesday, along with his retinue of attendants and uniformed Indian military armed guards. … Continue reading