In a Tibetian homestay, sitting next to a small girl who is doing her homework. Her mother and our guide, Daniel (his English name; apparently, Chinese people have an English and a Chinese name) are working in the kitchen preparing supper for all of us. Sometimes, the mother comes over to supervise the girl’s work or to check in her school bag for teacher’s diary. The school work is treated with up most seriousness in this household.
We went for an acclimatization hike today to a limestone/granite lake nearby. This is the third day of traveling and the first day of hiking. The altitude is beginning to affect us now. I took Crocin last night as I couldn’t get rid of the headache. Plus the cold is unbearable. I think its way too early to start using my down jacket. What after three days at 4200 mtrs when we are camping out in open?! I think about future way too much! That too in the land of Zen Buddhism! What matters is now! The truth is NOW. A moment ‘ago’ and a moment ‘after’ are just manifestations of the mind. All that is true is right now.
I had started reading The Snow Leopard the moment I landed in China. What a great book to read on your trip to Tibet. I can’t help connecting the book and the landscape. The one feeling that lingers on in this place is that all living beings are equal. When I walk up those slopes, I see those ephemeral yellow flowers which live for a day or the insects above those flowers which pollinate them by sucking their nectar and live a bit longer or those flurry cows with fur covering even their ankles which climb above 5000 mtrs in search of green grass and live for a couple of decades, or humans who live for a few decades. It is a cycle for everyone. Humans are like any other living beings. Brain makes no significance difference. What runs these cycles are natural process like oxidation and reduction, the chemical reactions. Humans have no control over these reactions. All we can do is exploit the knowledge of these reactions to our benefit. We call it science and technology. But this is exactly what other creatures do too! There are so many animals who can use tools to hunt. The animals who adapt to the ever changing environment. The different species which mix together to give rise to current form of species. I am not sure if human is indeed a more superior species, it will be tested against time.
Standing against a mountain wall, with the cold wind through my fingers and the hot sun over my head, a thought is re-born. A thought that I always know is true but don’t believe in sometimes. Here, when you find yourself so small in the larger schema of things, the thought is strengthened to a belief. Each and every human being is “good”. Good/bad is obviously relative. By being good here I mean every individual is naturally good, born good. No one wants to harm anyone if it can be avoided. Harming is a way of defense rather than attack. In case of humans, it is avoiding misery and not seeking happiness that makes them bad. Evil is just a bi-product of being sad. All other emotions “ego”, “complexes”, “greed”, “competitiveness” etc are just bi-products of the complex human society, not created by laws of nature but by the laws of civilization.
These thoughts are very easy to understand and accept, but they are very difficult to believe in. Only when I am away from the complex web of relationships and humans, when I observe the hardships and beauty of nature and natural beings that my belief in these thoughts get strengthened.
I feel blessed and privileged to be able to get back to my beliefs.
(The Little Tibetian Girl working hard)
(The Tibetian Homestay)
(At the limestone waterfall)
(The seasonal flowers which fill the valley with shades of purple/lilac/white as far as you can see)
(The Tibetan vilage)
(The Tibetan Prayer flags with prayer words: Om Mani Padme Hum)