Arrival in Lishu
I arrived to Lishu on 18. March after 19 hours of fluid travelling through Helsinki- Delhi – Dehradun flights and a taxi ride to Lishu Institute. As before, my experience of arriving at Lishu is like arriving home. I noticed that it is now the fourth time I am staying here, four months spent here already during the last three years!
Lishu is built on a high hill, with open sky and beautiful nature around it. Arriving from the noise and dust of India at Lishu is a nice big sigh – pure air, peaceful rhythm of life and feeling of space. The rooms are clean and really comfortable, food is delicious and people friendly.
It was great to spend first few days upon arrival at Lishu, resting, getting settled and orienting oneself to the upcoming language retreat.
Lishu Institute´s main building
Our teacher Dr. Sangmo Yangri has been growing up tightly with bön-tradition from early childhood. Her father had a close relationship to H.E. Yongdzin Rinpoche and took her to meet Rinpoche every day to Menri monastery. To get to the monastery they needed to walk a long distance through the steep roads. Sometimes the little girl felt so tired walking to the monastery that she wished she would have wings to fly. One day she asked Yongdzin Rinpoche if he could give her these wings so she could fly. Yongdzin Rinpoche replied that of course, it is possible. Then he taught her meditation posture and the practice of Kuntu Zangpo and told her to do the practice every morning. So she did! After one week she was ready to try her wings by the nearby field – ending up getting her clothes dirty and feeling disappointed because the wings didn´t work yet! Many years later, when she was finishing her M.A., she went to see Rinpoche once again. Rinpoche asked her with a big smile on his face, if the two wings had been growing yet! (In Buddhist traditions, two wings represent wisdom and compassion, that the practitioner is ripening in oneself through practice).
After twelve years of study in the University of Banares (Varanasi), she recieved her Ph.D. in bön-buddhist studies, as the first Tibetan woman to do so.
Sangmo-La with her wings
Dr.Sangmo Yangri and the heart of Lishu, Geshe Thubten Negi
First week of studies has been full of laughter, challenges and we´ve learned a lot. In the morning we have a Tibetan language class, afternoon is for bön-prayers, their meaning and pronounciation, and in the evening we dive into the art of talking Tibetan in everyday life. We are learning our baby-steps and, what is important, learning with joy!
Tibetan language class
Matthew with his first translation
Learning with Joy!
On Sunday 29th March we headed to see traditional Cham-dances in Clement Town, a Tibetan settlement in Dehradun, and a big monastery area. Rain and storms were accompanying the performances, but we enjoyed fully the colour and strength of it all.
Cham-dances in Clement Town, Dehradun
During the second week of studies we enjoyed the company of 7th Kundrol Namkha Thinley Wangyal Rinpoche for the whole week in Lishu. On Friday we were happy to receive 9th Mingling Khenchen Rinpoche as a special guest. What a blessed week. There is magic within the silence of Lishu!
Kundrul Rinpoche teaching
After Mingling Khenchen Rinpoche´s teachings