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October 24, 2006

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Lama Konchog,

I am curious: would have you teach the same topic to a Western audience? Perhaps a more direct approach is worth a try, as starting with concrete psychology, daily life, ethics or something you notice about one of the persons or about Mongolia in general.

(I try clumsily to say that the story of Padmasambhava may seem a myth, and myths nowadays appear devoided of meaning, here, now and about the future. Sad but often true, I think.)

The bits of teaching you write on this blog are impressively clear (at least for me), so I am sure you can find a way to transmit something useful there.

Are Mongolians interested in their own culture or do they only long for economic growth, better housing etc? If the later, perhaps you can try to demonstrate that Buddhism is not only compatible with capitalism (yes, I know, it looks stupid) but even universal:-)

Christian -- Agreed. I thought I was giving them what they wanted, but I badly misjudged. Next time, we're going to make it much more personal and relevant. If they click with the Dharma in a real way, we'll fill in the backstory later. I have my next experimental group Friday! (Mad Scientist laughter...)

What's it like politically where I am? It's a weird combination of charming, maddening, amusing, corrupt, and a whole bunch of other adjectives. We moved to Albuquerque NM about 8 years ago from Ohio, where the political landscape is what I now think of as Basic Conservative East-of-the-Mississippi Mostly White Men.

But here in NM we have a mixture of, among others, Very Old Hispanic, Newer Hispanic (lots of illegals and aggressively unassimilated folks), EMMWP, Native American, artist/hippie/treehugger, and general free spirit flavors. New Mexico has only been a state since 1912, so its constitution was written quite late in American history and accomodates all these groups already here at the time.

Combine that with a sort of frontier feel to politics here. We've got a few biggish cities, but most of the state is huge and empty. Out in the boonies (which begin, like in Mongolia, just past the city's edge) people still rely on each other a lot, and life -- including politics -- is very pragmatic.

For example, we were completely charmed to learn that it's written into the state constitution that close elections may be settled by games of chance rather than the bother and expense of holding a re-election. Every now and then we hear about a mayor or judge or somebody being elected by a hand of poker. You gotta love a state where that happens!

People here are more apt to personally know some of their officials -- city councilman, state senator, state representative, people like that. There is a relatively small population here compared to some other states, and the personal contact thing is still working. Albuquerque is a city with a lot of small-town feel to it.

One of the Congressional Representative races is ugly this year; the attack ads are escalating. Here's the fun part: in this morning's Albuquerque Journal the headline was "Survey Gives Wilson Edge on Honesty" -- the attack ads are so nasty that the paper doesn't do a survey on who you want to vote for, they do it on which candidate you think is lying the most!

Last week there was an article in the evening Tribune about how tricky it is to translate the information in the voting booth into Navajo. Not just language, but concepts. There's no Navajo for "Democratic Party," so that becomes the "long-ear planning group." And the Republicans are the "animal-that-ropes-with-his-nose planning group."

Enough already. Politics is politics everywhere you go, but I think the flavor here is sure more interesting than back in Ohio!

Kay

maybe they didn't want to try to get past the head bopping grannie??

I think we need to import some head-bopping grannies and let them have a wack at, ohhhh....just about everyone in power. Ven. Konchog, get right on that, will ya? Use your contacts in the Mongolian gov't and see if you can send a shipment right away!

Local politics tidbit for you.

Here in Illinois we're voting for governor. And as the sensei at the Zen Center aptly put it, we have our choice of either "Goofy" or "Stupid."

And you can apply either sobriquet to either candidate - it makes no difference.

Serenity
I am very interested in Mongolian throat singing and it's provable impact on
hormonal/glandular imbalance,future sound therapy?. Be powerful, centered and shine.

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Mongolia Bird List: "L" = Lifer

  • Amur Falcon -- L
  • Arctic (Hoary) Redpoll -- L
  • Arctic Warbler -- L
  • Asian Brown Flycatcher -- L
  • Asian Dowitcher -- L
  • Asian Short-toed Lark -- L
  • Azure Tit -- L
  • Bank Swallow
  • Bar-headed Goose -- L
  • Barn Swallow
  • Bean Goose -- L
  • Black Grouse -- L
  • Black Stork -- L
  • Black Woodpecker -- L
  • Black-billed Magpie
  • Black-eared Kite -- L
  • Black-headed Gull -- L
  • Black-tailed Godwit -- L
  • Black-winged Stilt
  • Blyth's Pipit -- L
  • Bohemian Waxwing -- L
  • Booted Eagle -- L
  • Brown Shrike -- L
  • Carrion Crow
  • Chinese Penduline Tit -- L
  • Chukar -- L
  • Cinereous Vulture
  • Citrine Wagtail -- L
  • Coal Tit
  • Common Cuckoo
  • Common Goldeneye
  • Common Greenshank -- L
  • Common Kestrel
  • Common Merganser
  • Common Pochard -- L
  • Common Raven
  • Common Redpoll
  • Common Redshank -- L
  • Common Rosefinch -- L
  • Common Sandpiper
  • Common Shelduck -- L
  • Common Snipe -- L
  • Common Starling
  • Common Swift
  • Common Tern
  • Crested Lark -- L
  • Curlew Sandpiper -- L
  • Dark-throated Thrush -- L
  • Daurian Jackdaw -- L
  • Daurian Partridge -- L
  • Daurian Redstart -- L
  • Demoiselle Crane -- L
  • Desert Warbler -- L
  • Desert Wheatear -- L
  • Dusky Thrush -- L
  • Dusky Warbler -- L
  • Eared Grebe
  • Eurasian Bullfinch -- L
  • Eurasian Coot -- L
  • Eurasian Curlew -- L
  • Eurasian Griffon
  • Eurasian Hobby
  • Eurasian Jay
  • Eurasian Nutcracker -- L
  • Eurasian Nuthatch -- L
  • Eurasian Skylark
  • Eurasian Sparrowhawk
  • Eurasian Spoonbill -- L
  • Eurasian Three-toed Woodpecker -- L
  • Eurasian Tree Sparrow
  • Eurasian Treecreeper -- L
  • Eurasian Wigeon -- L
  • Eurasian Wryneck -- L
  • Eyebrowed Thrush -- L
  • Falcated Duck -- L
  • Fork-tailed Swift -- L
  • Gadwall
  • Garganey -- L
  • Godlewski's Bunting -- L
  • Goldcrest -- L
  • Golden Eagle
  • Gray Heron
  • Gray Wagtail -- L
  • Great Cormorant
  • Great Crested Grebe
  • Great Gray Shrike -- L
  • Great Spotted Woodpecker
  • Great Tit
  • Greater Short-toed Lark -- L
  • Greater Spotted Eagle -- L
  • Green Sandpiper -- L
  • Green-winged Teal
  • Greenish Warbler -- L
  • Hawfinch -- L
  • Hazel Grouse -- L
  • Hen/Northern Harrier
  • Herring Gull
  • Hill Pigeon -- L
  • Hoopoe
  • Horned Grebe
  • Horned Lark
  • House Sparrow
  • Isabelline Shrike -- L
  • Isabelline Wheatear -- L
  • Kentish (Snowy) Plover -- L
  • Lesser Spotted Woodpecker -- L
  • Lesser Whitethroat -- L
  • Little Bunting -- L
  • Little Owl -- L
  • Little Ringed Plover
  • Long-tailed Rosefinch
  • Long-tailed Tit
  • Long-toed Stint -- L
  • Mallard
  • Marsh Sandpiper
  • Meadow Bunting -- L
  • Mew Gull -- L
  • Mongolian Finch -- L
  • Mongolian Ground-jay -- L
  • Mongolian Lark -- L
  • Northern Lapwing -- L
  • Northern Pintail
  • Northern Shoveler
  • Northern Wheatear
  • Olive-backed Pipit -- L
  • Oriental Plover -- L
  • Oriental Reed Warbler -- L
  • Oriental Turtle Dove
  • Pacific Golden-plover -- L
  • Paddyfield Warbler -- L
  • Pallas' Reed Bunting -- L
  • Pallas's Leaf Warbler -- L
  • Pallas's Sandgrouse -- L
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Pied Avocet -- L
  • Pied Wheatear -- L
  • Pine Bunting -- L
  • Pine Grosbeak -- L
  • Pintail Snipe -- L
  • Red (Common) Crossbill
  • Red-billed Chough -- L
  • Red-crested Pochard -- L
  • Red-flanked Bluetail -- L
  • Red-necked Grebe
  • Red-throated Flycatcher -- L
  • Richard's Pipit -- L
  • Rock Dove
  • Rock Sparrow -- L
  • Rook -- L
  • Ruddy Shelduck -- L
  • Ruddy Turnstone
  • Ruff -- L
  • Rufous-tailed Robin -- L
  • Saker Falcon -- L
  • Scaly Thrush -- L
  • Sharp-tailed Sandpiper -- L
  • Siberian Accentor -- L
  • Siberian Rubythroat -- L
  • Smew -- L
  • Spotted Flycatcher -- L
  • Spotted Redshank -- L
  • Steppe Eagle -- L
  • Swan Goose -- L
  • Temminck's Stint -- L
  • Thick-billed Warbler -- L
  • Tree Pipit -- L
  • Tufted Duck -- L
  • Twite -- L
  • Upland Buzzard -- L
  • Ural Owl -- L
  • Water Pipit -- L
  • White Wagtail
  • White-cheeked Starling -- L
  • White-naped Crane -- L
  • White-winged (Two-barred) Crossbill -- L
  • White-winged Scoter
  • White-winged Tern -- L
  • Whooper Swan -- L
  • Willow Tit -- L
  • Wood Sandpiper -- L
  • Yellow-billed Grosbeak -- L
  • Yellow-browed (Inornate) Warbler -- L