The true reason about me being in INDIA.
One more time I’m back at Dharamsala against my own promise to never come back here, teaching me again to never say never.
‘Only four days’ I thought, just to go to the recommended dentist and to the District Comissioner Office to get the special area permit for the Tibetan settlement in Bir where I would spent the next month.
First I was excited about going to the temple each morning, just as I used to do in Bodhgaya in order to keep the pace of my recently started Ngöndro practice (purification and preliminary practice which enables you to get to another stage of meditation level - as a friend wrote a few days ago) and doing prostrations. But it always comes different as planned, right? I got a light concussion and I was supposed to rest for the next weeks.
Here in McLeodganj it is too cold anyway, that I prefer to stay many hours in the morning time in bed, reading and writing and to go early to bed to do the same… During the day I just hang around in one or the other café with free wi-fi.
I already realised in Delhi, that a place is less hostile when the weather isn’t burning like hell, though I must confess that the people in Delhi, above all men, are still as unfriendly and careless about others as all the last times I was there. This fact leads me to the conclusion that it must be kind of a reality of the capital-people. And I’m glad to hear this said by other Indians, thus I feel less discriminatory. But honestly, in Mexico it’s similar: people of Mexico City have the worst reputation in the rest of the country, therefore I suggest that it’s a general phenomena about the capital and the contrast of the rural or provincial area of a country.
Coming back to the topic: McLeodganj now in November, when it’s already starting to be fresh during the day and freezing during nighttime, reminds me a bit of Germany in autumn. But then again it is like Mexico in winter, when there are no heaters and the walls and windows not being isolated don’t allow the room to heat up with the sun.
There are also less tourists, either westerners nor punjabi tourists around, therefore the atmosphere is more quiet and silence. Still this city inspires me loneliness and I can’t help it. For sure I can say it’s me and my own perception and there is no one to blame for. Actually it’s not about blaming someone or something or judging it. It’s just, that I try to figure out why I feel like this being here? After being the last weeks and months continuously around friends and people, I appreciate to be alone for a few days, even more because I will be among people for the next weeks again and probably unable to make a retreat in my own tortoise shell.
I like it better now. I like to wake up in the morning with my next door neighbour singing and playing on his guitar. I like to go and talk with the charismatic Hotel manager and the soft and sensible massage therapist Sami so eager to win my trust (because after all the disturbing experiences of little sexual harassment by Tibetan and Indian men I totally mistrust them when it comes to my body), and I very much enjoy to read in the recently bought book “eat, pray, love” by Elizabeth Gilbert. This autobiographical story about a women in her early thirties, going through the worst phase of her life and which leads her to give up everything conventional in order to start a journey of self discovery around the world, makes me identify with it. Of course not in every aspect, but in many. And in the same way each and every single person comes into your life for a certain reason, so do books. This book brings me to be in a mood of introspective reflexion about my own life and what I want from it. Didn’t I leave for the same reasons? Rather because of a crisis, but for the seek of spiritual realisation? I don’t mean by any chance this kind of realisation of higher beings, or call it enlightenment if you want, which of course is definitely my highest goal, but for now I am happy enough to just be able to find a profound spiritual path. And further on: what comes after finding a genuine spiritual master, a root guru or root Lama, and after realising what I already was told - that the spiritual practice, the Buddhadharma, is exactly where I am and therefore no need to go to a specific place to find it.
Now I have reached a moment in which I have to take decisions about the next steps to take, though I’d prefer to wait and see which doors are going to be open.
Well, lets be frank (since I promised to myself to confess without shame) about my reason to come to India and Nepal. Almost all the Buddhists in one moment of their life, want to visit and see the places where their religion began, where Buddha was born, where he got enlightened, where he taught, meditated and finally died and stepped into what we call parinirvana. All of us want to know the great monasteries of the great Lamas, Tulkus and Rinpoches - some of them we just know by stories but never have met them in person. We want to see the caves where the great Indian yogis meditated until getting fully enlightened. So for this, I am no different from other Buddhist practitioners.
What is then or was my reason? Until now only few people know it and the rest of my friends, colleagues and family just knew that I wanted to volunteer - in a nunnery or monastery. Just to know how a monastic life is, just because of my curiosity of living amongst ordained practitioner and to be able to practice with them or on my own and being there I could volunteer by teaching English. Well, not that this is not true, for sure I wanted this, but my motivation was to become nun myself.
It all started exactly one year ago, in November 2011, when His Eminence Ayang Rinpoche was giving the Phowa initiation in Mexico City. It was the moment when he gave the oral transmission of Buddha Amithaba practice, that for almost two hours I couldn’t help myself stop crying. First I thought it was the infection in my eyes I had for several weeks, but my accelerated breath and something unexplainable in my mind, made me cry and cry, not desperate but in silence. After that I knew I needed to change something in my life, I knew that I couldn’t keep doing what I was doing and that I must go and give not only my life but my spiritual practice a profoundness never experienced before. I was convinced that in order to practice and learn as much and profound as I wanted, I needed to become a nun - it wasn’t a desire per se, rather than a logical consequence, an obvious next step on the spiritual path I chose to follow. And with that in mind I decided to quit as soon as possible this mundane existence, to give up the beloved flat I lived for almost 7 years in and which already became a constant headache due to a legal issue with the landlord, to work just enough to be able to pay my trip to India but after that leave behind all kind of jobs not related to the Buddhadharma, to leave my friends, my family, to sell and give away all my belongings and finally to make prayers and aspirations to soon become part of the ordained community - the Sangha.
But it was here in Dharamsala, in McLeodganj - the Tibetan settlement around His Holiness the Dalai Lama, here where the Tibetan Government in Exile resides and where I romantically thought I would find genuine guidance to my new existence - that I realised how little I identified with the idea of being a nun. And to admit this to myself led me to one of the biggest crisis regarding my existence I ever experienced in my life (if not the first, but hopefully the last one). All I clearly wanted to do and be for the rest of my life, all I aspired with such eagerness for about half a year, vanished in only a few days and a huge question mark at the end of the sentence “and what now?” arose. So I keep moving, I keep searching I keep my eyes and heart open because I haven’t found the answer yet.
McLeodganj on November 13, 2012