Monday, September 21, 2015

India Adventure II in Photos

Last December I flew from Nepal (the country where Buddha was born) to India (the country where Buddha attained enlightenment) to continue my Tibetan Buddhism studies for an additional five and a half months.

As Carol Winkelmann so beautifully wrote in "A Sakyadhita Pilgrimage: Frames, Images, and the Liminal Imagination":

Traditionally speaking, a pilgrimage ultimately concerns the journey, the way, and not even particularly the goal—typically “transcendent” activities such as encountering the exalted leaders, listening to learned expositions, or touching sacred temple stones.

The power of pilgrimages extends largely from the experience of liminality—the tenuous, transitory nature of travel, the fleetingness of time, the unfamiliarity or expansion of space, the unmooring of identity from its usual tethers. The travel itself becomes a metaphorical journey of self-realization. Despite the pictures, postcards, books, souvenirs, and other trinkets so pervasively available at sacred sites, the pilgrimage well-taken ultimately eschews the functions of framing. Its realizations happen in liminal spaces outside of frames anticipated by oneself or constructed by others.


Although challenging to convey, I attempted to share the pilgrimage experience through the written word and a handful of photos. This new post is a visual representation of those many stories. It is also a continuation of August 6, 2015 post Nepal in Photos. I hope you will enjoy.

Bangalore, Mundgod Tibetan refugee settlement, Chennai, Bombay/Mumbai, Pune,
Bodhgaya, Rajgir, Delhi, Dharamsala, and Bir Tibetan refugee settlement. This image
was made using Google Maps 2015 and Picmonkey.com.
Traveling India by Train, Bus, and shared taxi. Photo by Kavita.
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama taught at Ganden Monastery in south India December 2014.
Photos by Bill Kane, Tenzin Choejor/Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and Tenzin Zopa.
Day to day life during His Holiness' teachings at Ganden Monstery.
Photos by Laura, Dee and me.
Fun carpool back to Bangalore.
Photo by Ravi.
Spending time with Sowmya and friends from her NGO Prafull Oorja in Bangalore.
Photos by Maddie, Sowmya and me.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche's teachings in Bangalore.  Photos by Bill Kane and me.
Spending time with Kavita, her extended family, and friends from Nairobi, Emily and Audrey
in Bombay/Mumbai. Photos by Kavita and me.
Pilgrimage to Mahabodhi Temple in Bodhgaya, India where Buddha attained enlightenment.
Photos taken by a kind passerby and me.
12 day long Retreat on Bodhicitta: Cultivating Your Awakened Heart led by
Geshe Dorji Damdul at the Root Institute in Bodhgaya, India.
Photos by Root Institute friends and me.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche teaching at the Root Institute in Bodhgaya, India.
Photos by Venerable Sarah Thresher, Bill Kane, and me.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche teaching at Mahabodhi Temple in Bodhgaya, India.
Photos by Bill Kane, Lozang, and I.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche teaching at Sujata Riverside near Bodhgaya, India.
Photos by me.
Pilgrimage to Hindu Goddess Durga Temple in a rural village outside of Bodhgaya, India.
Photos by Panket Raj, Pema, and me.
Pilgrimage to Vulture's Peak and Nalanda University outside of Bodhgaya, India.
Photos by Lozang, Maja, and me.
Pilgrimage to Mahakala Cave outside of Bodhgaya, India. Photos by Lozang and me.
Rose Apple Cafe in Bodhgaya. Photos by Oat and me.
Bhutanese Tibetan Buddhist temple I stumbled upon while lost in a village outside of Bodhgaya, India.
Photos by me.
NGO schools in Bodhgaya - Bowl of Compassion, Akshay Charitable Trust, Panchashil School,
Maitreya Universal Education School. Photos by Oat, Pachashil staff, and me.
Three months (one trimester) of Tibetan language studies at Library of Tibetan Works and Archives
in Dharamsala on campus 30 min walk from His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama's temple and house.
Photos by Sonam Tsering/LTWA, Ingrid, and me.
Life in Dharamsala, India where His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama lives.
Buddhist Philosophy classes with Geshe Kelsang Wangmo and Lobsang Choegyal Rinpoche.
Photos by me.
My studio apartment, neighbors and neighborhood in Gamru Village a 15 minute walk
from "school" at the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives. Photos by me.
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama was the guest of honor on opening day of the
20th Shoton (Tibetan Opera) Festival held at the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts
in Dharamsala, India. Photos by Tenzin Choejor/Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Marzia, and me.
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama's house and temple in Dharamsala, India
where he lives in exile from Chinese government occupied Tibet.
March 30, 2015 Public Audience with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama at his temple
in Dharamsala. Photos by Tenzin Choejor/Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama teaching at Gyuto Tantric College and Monastery
in Sidhpur outside of Dharamsala, India.
Photos by Tenzin Choejor/Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama teaching Tibetan youth at Tibetan Children's Village
- upper campus in Dharamsala, India.
Photos by Tenzin Choejor/Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and me.
Geshe Dorji Damdul lead an 11 day retreat on Acharya Chandrakirti's Entry into the Middle Way
(or Madhyamikavatara in Sanskrit) at Deer Park Institute in Bir Tibetan refugee settlement
outside of Dharamsala, India. Photos by Deer Park Institute staff and me.
Deer Park Institute in Bir Tibetan refugee colony, a four hour bus ride from Dharamsala.
Teachings by Jetsuma Tenzin Palmo, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, and Kenpo Sonam Tsewang.
Photos by Deer Park Institute staff, a friend, and me.
Teachings on The Four Hundred Verses on the Yogic Deeds of Bodhisattvas (selected chapters)
by Acharya Arya Deva as well as teachings on the Harmony of Emptiness and Dependent Origination
given by Venerable Geshe Yeshe Thabkhey la and translated by his student Geshe Dorji Damdul
in Delhi, as well as the opening of Venerable Samten's film Surkhaab at an upscale mall in Delhi.
Photos by me.
Public Audience with His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa (born in Tibet in 1980)
at his Gyuto Tantric College and monastery in Sidhpur outside of Dharamsala.
Photo of the Karmapa found online, others by a fellow guest and me.
Teachings at Tushita Meditation Center in Dharamsala, India given by
Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Jetsuma Tenzin Palmo, Tenzin Osel Hita, Venerable Yangten
Tulku Ripoche, and Gen Gyatso. Teachings by Venerable Yangten Tulku Rinpoche and
Gen Gyatso were translated from Tibetan into English by Geshe Kelsang Wangmo.
Photos by Tushita staff, a fellow student, found online, and by me.
Norbulingka Institute in Sidhpur outside of Dharamsala and
meals with friends in Dharamsala. Photos found online, taken by restaurant staff, and me.
The current reincarnation of the Panchen Lama, a young Tibetan boy disappeared in Tibet at age 6,
the day after he was officially recognized as the reincarnation by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.
The Chinese government selected their own reincarnation. The Panchen Lama has not been heard from
since he disappeared in 1995. Over 130 Tibetans have self-immolated (set themselves on fire) within
Tibet as a means of peacefully protesting the oppression of Tibetans by the Chinese government.
Black and white photo found online, others by me.
Save Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, a Tibetan Buddhist monk imprisoned in China. He died in
Chinese prison several months after this protest had taken place at Tibetan Children's
Village - Day School in Dharamsala, India. Photos by a news reporter and me.
Street Dogs of India, three well fed dogs in Mumbai/Bombay, a three legged black and white
pup named Tiger now belonging to a Gamru neighbor, and a long haired black dog belonging to
Deer Park Institute. Big thanks to Compassion Unlimited Plus Action in Bangalore,
Dharamsala Animal Rescue, and Tibet Charity Animal Hospital.
Photos by Dharamsala Animal Rescue, Nik, a Deer Park Institute fellow student, and me.
Working Animals of India. Thanks to Compassion Unlimited Plus Action's Large Animal Rescue Center
in Bangalore for their work. Photos by me.
Lehigh in Bangalore - Bangalore and Mumbai/Bombay Happy Hours, Lehigh
Professor Ken Kraft's book Dharma Rain on sale at His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama's
bookstore inside of his temple, and the Lehigh alumni magazine on the magazine rack
at a Tibet Government in Exile building lobby in Dharamsala, plus the US Embassy in
Delhi where alum Rich Verma is the US Ambassador to India. Photos found online, by Kavita,
a restaurant patron, and me.
Tibet Soccer Tournament at Tibetan Children's Village - Upper Campus in
Dharamsala with Tibetan friend Jamyang on my last full day in India.
Photos found online, by Jamyang, and me.
Delhi > Abu Dhabi > JFK. Back in the US still wearing damp, smelly, dirty running shoes that
bore the brunt of the rain storm that temporarily stopped the Tibetan soccer match. Photo on left taken
by Anne after I had shipped 35 pounds of books to my mom's house. Others by me.
Thanks for joining me for this journey, India Adventure II. Look for forthcoming posts from India Adventure III.

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