I know at least our American readership is probably baking on the beach, grilling up burgers, or getting ready to accidentally set the roof on fire with an errant bottle rocket, but today seemed as good a day as any to issue the following announcement: this will be the last post on Dreaming of Danzan Ravjaa.
When I began this blog back in February of 2005, it was meant as a personal adjunct to my deployment in Mongolia to serve Kunzang Palyul Choling’s Mongolian Buddhism Revival Project. It was not an official organ of KPC, but rather a way of sharing my impressions, discoveries, and images from a fascinating land that many will probably never visit in their lifetimes. While I feel that under different conditions much more could have been accomplished in our partnership with the Mongolian Buddhists, still I have a sense of satisfaction that true benefit was generated in a number of ways: sponsoring many young Mongolians to travel to India for deeper Buddhist training; printing and offering the only complete set of the Nyingma scriptures that exists in Mongolia; translating and offering instruction on basic chanting, meditation and visualization practices within our tradition; offering teachings to lay Mongolian Buddhists from Patrul Rinpoche’s The Words of My Perfect Teacher and then underwriting the printing of the very first translation of this classic text into modern Mongolian; building a teaching throne to offer for the new temple being built at Danzan Ravjaa’s Khamar Monastery in the East Gobi Desert; facilitating the first Mongolian translation of Longchenpa’s chod text, “The Bellowing Laughter of the Dakinis”; rendering timely assistance to several individuals in need; rescuing a handful street dogs and cats, two of whom now enjoy a very posh life in America; and many other minor efforts along the way.
But now the institutional relationship which made this work in Mongolia possible has dissolved and I find I must seek a somewhat different way as a monk within the broader universe of my Palyul lineage. On July 10 I will join Palyul’s annual 30-day summer retreat in New York State, at which time I will clarify the next phase of my dharma life. I hope one day it includes a return to Mongolia; I really did love my time there and feel strongly there is much more beneficial work that can be done. More than that, though, I really hope that pure lamas upholding any dharma lineage will turn their minds to Mongolia and travel there to bring to life latent practice traditions, and enhance the Buddhist education of the Mongolian laity.
I will leave DODR’s comments open until the morning of July 9, after which they’ll be closed for good. Because Typepad’s annual fee was recently paid, the blog and all its archived posts will remain live until May, 2010. At that time, as with all compounded phenomena, Dreaming of Danzan Ravjaa will dissolve into the primordial space from which it arose. This is, after all, what dreams do, do they not?
I want to offer the gratitude of my heart to all of you who unstintingly offered your support, whether it was material, personal or prayerful; those who amused, provoked, and educated us with your comments; the lurkers who simply enjoyed what was offered here; and, most of all, the love and hospitality of my Mongolian brothers and sisters. May all our minds be liberated within the one pristine mandala of wisdom and compassion!
Update: Well, look at that. I can't even resign without getting upstaged by that half-term governor from Alaska. Nonetheless, as I close the comments this morning and head off to gaze at my navel for a month, please let me thank all of you who left such lovely messages here and privately (Gail, the very last one, you nearly made me cry). I have found again and again that when we try to do good, no matter how artlessly, our efforts positively impact others in ways we could not have anticipated and sometimes may never know. The obvious lesson? Do good always, no matter what.
All of you have been a great comfort in my time of transition, and I've enjoyed so much sharing this improbable journey with you. And who knows? We may meet again in the future in ways we could not have anticipated. I certainly hope so. Until then, stay well, be kind to critters (even the creepy ones), love others (even the creepy ones), and let's work together in the gorgeous task of true, inner liberation.