First there was the Telluride Film Festival, then Georgia Public Television, but now the Fame Train has really left the station, ya'll. My views and photographs on the reconstruction of Khamariin Khiid are to be featured (well, included) in an upcoming publication of Cornerstone. This is the quarterly magazine offered by Britain's Society for the Preservation of Ancient Buildings, which sounds perfectly lovely until you realize that A) the acronym is SPAB and B) they liberally use said acronym. For example, a link on their website asks a very pertinent question: What is SPAB? They don't shy away from bitter controversy, either. Consider the 'Special Feature' in Cornerstone's most recent issue -- "Thatch: the most debated material in building conservation."
Actually, I'm just goofing around (as usual) but this came about through Vesna introducing me to a cool freelance British journalist, Robert Nurden, who's here covering Mongolia's 800th Anniversary for Britain's Independent newspaper. He's also tapping out a few stories for one of Mongolia's English-language papers, The Mongol Messenger. Visiting him at their office resulted in the editor asking me to help Guido resurrect a monthly page dedicated to Buddhism in Mongolia! Definitely gonna do this.
OK, speaking of trains leaving stations, mine leaves for the Gobi in about an hour and I haven't packed. I'm going with Sue Byrne from the Tibet Foundation and Sansarbat, one of my favorite Mongol monks. In honor of the destination, however, I'll leave you with one more short bit from Michael Kohn's Lama of the Gobi:
"Once when asked whether or not he was Nyingma or Gelugpa, [Danzan] Rabjaa replied, 'Buddha's right arm is the Red School and his left arm is the Yellow School. Would you like me to tear Buddha in half?' He used this metaphor because Padmasambhava, the founder of the Nyingma tradition, is seen as an incarnation of Avalokiteshvara, the buddha of compassion, a quality associated with the right side of the body, whereas Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Gelugpa tradition, is seen as an incarnation of Manjushri, the buddha of wisdom, a quality associated with the left side of the body."
There. Vindication for all you oppressed lefties out there. Back on Wednesday, with the usual scads of stories and snaps!