andreav's Travel Journals

andreav

  • Currently in Auroville, India

India, Spring 2011

A journal about my seventh return to this land called "India"; in an attempt to describe this "inter-vidual" experience with two other faculty, many students, and the time we share in an integrated living, being and learning semester.

Travel Part 2: Bylakupee, and Tibet...

India Auroville, India  |  Mar 31, 2011
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Monks clad with the traditional red and yellow fill the country roads leading up to Sera Jae monestary, and the guest house next door where we are boarding for the duration of our trip. The students eagerly get off of the bus, partially because they will be meeting the rest of our group here, and its been over a week since they have seen each other, and partially because it was a long trip from Honey Valley to here.

Bylakupee was some of the first land given from the Indian government for the Tibetan people. This town is so insular for Tibetans, most forign people don't visit, or are not allowed to stay overnight.  its difficult to buy veg momo's, unlike places like Dharmasala where you can get any food imaginable, and most residents only speak Tibetan.

After coming back together as a group, and having a long check-in, we move to the debates. The evening time is when the Kagu school holds their debates which they are famous for. On this night, most of the houses, were holding their debates on site, as opposed to in the courtyard of the monestary. We were luck enough to be guided by a woman who moved back to Bylakuppe from Auroville, who showed us the way. We arrived at the largest home, (several hundred) monks all sitting watching three monks debate two others. The teachers were lined up in the front rows, and everyone behind them, in some heirarchal order as it appeared. The debates were heated, the monks were animanted. They went on for some time until one of the older monks got up and took center stage. I really wished i spoke Tibetan at this time. He had the monks all in stitches he was so funny. It appeard he may have gotten up to calm the tone of the debate, and bring a lighter tone, but I dont know for sure.

The next day, we had a monk come and teach us about the four precepts in Buddhism. At the end he took questions and we asked about the debate. The hand gestures are specific for shoo-ing out the negative and pulling back all the positive attributes. I have always wanted to know more about that.

THe next day we visited Monestaries of the other schools; Nyingma, and Gulugpa. The Golden Temple was incredibly ornate, almost beyond any i had ever seen. We arrived at the time of thier prayer sessons, and how wonderful to be in that temple surrounded by sounds, smells, and such beauty!

All of the students loved being there, and remarked how different it was from other parts of India they had seen. Although Tibetans struggle, stuck between nations, it is a privlidge for us to witness a small part of this incredible lineage of culture.

Long live Dalai Lama!

Tu chin-na, Tibet!

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