Indian lady working in the nearby field
The past weeks in Lishu seems to have been flying fast. The simple and steady rhythm of life sets mind to rest and at the same time open for learning.
The nature around us has shown its power and strength, the weather changing quickly from cozy heat to big strong rainstroms. And now, hearing the news from Nepal earthquake--which was also felt here as a subtle shaking, it is possible to really feel the crisis of the Mother Earth and its inhabitants.
Scene from Lishu balcony (picture by Matthew Conover)
On the weekend 10th to 12th April we recieved guests from Menri monastery as Menri Lopon Thinley Nyima Rinpoche arrived for his first visit to Lishu together with Menri Shedrub Kenpo who is the brother of our teacher, Dr.Sangmo Yangri, and two other Geshes from Menri.
Dr.Sangmo Yangri with her brother Menri Shedrup Khenpo
Menri monastery is located about five or six hours drive from Lishu, so the institute will be enjoying the visits of skillful Menri teachers also in the future during the full-time study program that is starting in September 2015.
Skillful Menri Geshes with Lopon Rinpoche
Sur-chöd offering on the Lishu land (picture by Matthew Conover)
After a talk from Menri Lopon Rinpoche we gathered on the Lishu top floor balcony
The small road that goes up the hill to Lishu used to be a bit bumpy and rocky, but thanks to the efforts of Geshe Thubten, a new cement road is now being constructed by the Indian government. Things take time in India: this road was applied for more than one and half year ago. But finally things are happening, and the new road will be finished within few days.
Geshe Thubten with the roadworkers on Lishu´s new homeroad
Even though learning Tibetan is challenging for me, I can clearly see improvement happening after these weeks. Being able to recognize and write the alphabet, pronouncing them more clearly, speaking few sentences here and there and even spelling out and reading some short pieces of texts and prayers or mantras. This is of course thanks to our great teacher Sangmo-La who is guiding us skilfully, making learning this complicated language to be a joyful and natural process.
Sangmo-La with Matthew on a language walk outside – ye or yön, right or left???
Learning the language is opening the meanings within it, and as the language is carrying the whole Tibetan culture, it is also a doorway to a whole body of knowledge. The language has depths of wisdom in it, earthbounded playfulness and many many layers to be learned. Most of all I enjoy the translations that we´ve been working on during the prayer classes. Going through the mantras and prayers word by word, opening their meanings and doing our best to find words to express in English is an insipiration for all of us, including Samsung the Lishu dog, who has been eagerly wanting to attend the classes every day!
Translation class with Matthew, Jennie and our fourth eager student, Samsung!
Our language retreat finished with a small ceremony on 30th April. In the evening we burned butter lamps and candles to relieve the sufferings of all beings, especially those affected by the earthquake in Nepal.
Ending ceremony of the language retreat
Geshe-La with Yungrung Lights
Today, preparing to depart from Lishu, there is already a feeling of missing the place, the people and the precious opportunity to focus on studying and practicing in this peaceful environment. Within its simplicity, life in Lishu is very rich.
Yangchen, the Master of Lishu´s kitchen
These sentences picked up nearby the World Peace Stupa in Clement Town, Dehradun where we visitied during the first week of our stay, says it all for the moment:
In the end, these things matter most:
How well did you love?
How fully did you live?
How deeply did you let go?