Some time ago, I wrote about how entering the world of a dakini guarantees a wild ride and it's not for everyone. The dakini acts as karma shifts, in the deeper way she perceives this complex matrix, and if it shifts big, she acts big. Seems to be shifting big.
Over the weekend, we received an email no one expected: Jetsunma wants everyone in Mongolia to come back to the States right away for an indefinite period. Um, everyone? Everyone. And “right away” means…yeah, OK, right away. I dawdled and sought a loophole, knowing that sometimes when things suddenly dump upside down they right themselves just as fast. Not this time.
So. On Friday, at 1:20AM (curse you, Korean Air), Palzang and I will board a flight for ‘Frisco. For a nasty 48 hours I went through all the grief stages – shock, denial, anger and have finally come to acceptance. I’m reluctantly leaving a loved one, this land of Mongolia and her one-of-a-kind people. My consolation is that I feel certain I will return after too much time has elapsed. We’ve barely begun our work here. But who can tell the future? I’m a monk trained in the Buddhadharma, and know for sure that all things are characterized by impermanence, and attachment is the cause of all suffering.
The greatest pleasure of my six months in Mongolia this year has been the opportunity to share what I’ve learned and experienced with all of you. Dreaming of Danzan Ravjaa has been a true labor of love. I’m not a concise writer – I think the whole thing has clocked in at more than 100,000 words – nor am I a talented photographer. Nonetheless, I hope those of you who have perused these tales have come away with a better appreciation for a place whose character and history are little understood, and maybe a chuckle or two.
This is not the end of DODR. It’s a hiatus (I paid for a dadburn year, after all). As soon as the word comes that I’m being sent back to Mongolia, I’ll crank it right up again. But right now I don’t think it’s useful to intermittently drop in post-Mongolia thoughts; a blog works best when posts appear on a regular, predictable basis.
My aim with DODR has been to share the breadth of the Mongolia experience, from the sublime to the ridiculous. So, to conclude this chapter, let me share with you an item from each.
In the sublime dep’t, I think I told a story about Danzan Ravjaa that on this last trip to Dornogov took on a concrete dimension. One day, DR took off on horseback, followed by a group of his devotees. He stopped at a certain rock and, witnessed by everybody, struck the rock with his horsewhip. The rock cracked in two and there in the middle of it was a small, perfectly detailed statue of Guru Rinpoche. I'm talking about the middle of a big, solid rock.
Several times I’ve asked Altangerel about this statue’s whereabouts. He said they had saved it, but I guess I didn’t ask the question the right away. I thought it was stored some place, but as it turns out it’s been on display at the museum this whole time. It’s part of a quirky, standalone exhibit with no explanatory panel, that seems to be some auspicious configuration connected to the appearance of Danzan Ravjaa’s next incarnation.
So here it is, the only evidence I’ve found thus far for the presence of terma, a hidden treasure of Guru Rinpoche, in Mongolia:
Now, as for the ridiculous, I had gotten some yuks a while ago talking about a line of Kleenex marketed here under the name “Living Tissues”. Well, it’s even funnier than that and conceivably contrary to my precepts. I had just been seeing the side of the box with the one English phrase and the rest of the writing in Korean. When I flipped it around and saw the translation…well, if you value your keyboard, my advice is don’t take a drink of anything before you look at the photo below. As they say, leave ‘em laughing…