So yesterday I was in a bit of a rush and jumped into a cab to go see my translator Khishigt who’s languishing in a local clinic with a kidney stone (one part of his regimen is he has to drink three liters of beer a day! He hates it, but his roommates are pretty jealous. Y’all ever hear of that for a kidney stone treatment? My sister the doc hadn’t. Feel free to share other odd treatments for same). I asked the driver to take me to the Wrestling Palace. I know the Mongolian – böxiin ordon (now my Mongolian teacher tells me it's orgoo, not ordon) – and thought I used it, but I was met with a raised eyebrow from the driver, the Mongol equivalent of a full Barney Fife. I considered a second and realized I had absentmindedly asked to go to the xöxiin ordon. Can you stand it? Ahhhhhahaha...haha. Ha. OK, um, see, depending on whether the driver heard my pronunciation as xöx or xog, he would have been privy to the foreign monk requesting to go to either the “breast palace” or the “garbage palace.” Either way, I don’t think I fostered deep inspiration for the Dharma in that particular moment. My Mongolian still needs a wee bit of polishing.
OK, a little linkage to get your week started. Firstly, our friend Haroldo Castro writes in to say he is currently on the scene in Kathmandu and reporting on the protests, etc., on his blog. Now, the blog is in Portuguese, but don’t be deterred. Haroldo is a phenomenal photographer. His on-the-scene shots are some of the best I've seen. For example:
And if you scroll down and down, you’ll also see many stunning images from his recent trip to Bhutan. Have a look at all of it. I’ve nicked one of a gorgeous Padmasambhava relief for your viewing pleasure:
In one very moving post toward the top he says, if I’m reading it right, that a group of Tibetans are now accumulating 100,000,000 mantras as spiritual support for their brothers and sisters currently struggling in Tibet itself. I wish I could relay that the same thing was happening in the Mongolian monasteries. They held special ceremonies for the monks and nuns in Burma, but I haven’t heard a peep about Tibet. I know this is a political hot potato with big, bad old China – and the officials who issue visas for pilgrimage, etc. – just to the south. But still, it’s disappointing and some of my Mongolian friends are saying the same.
It's also well worth your while checking out Haroldo's articles, with more amazing photos, for the Brazilian newsmagazine Epoca detailing his recent journey to Tibet, and addressing the question, "Where is the Panchen Lama?" (Don't know about this controversy concerning the world's youngest political prisoner held by China? The ICT has the goods.)
Anyway, in case you have a case of the Mondays, Sister Sharon in Brisbane sends along this article about a joint in Queensland, Australia, currently offering the world’s most expensive non-alcoholic beverage. In inimitable Aussie fashion, it’s been dubbed “cat-poo coffee”. Find out why.