Thursday, October 25, 2007

Pilgrimage to India(na)

His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Bloomington IN 25oct07This is my third time hearing His Holiness the Dalai Lama speak (Vancouver & San Francisco, now Bloomington) and the second teaching. This one is on The Lamp For the Path to Enlightenment. First time I'm seeing him w/o Lisa.

I quickly realized that the two previous trips were easy. This one has been a true pilgrimage, not a vacation. How so?

For starters I had a list of work and domestic things I really wanted to get done before I left. Oh I got the list done and then some. Missed my flight thanks to a security checker who thought she was a docent. Chatty don't cut it when you're trying to make a plane. The happy ending was an American Airlines staff member who got me on a redeye without a change fee (as in one hundred dollars plus the difference in airfare). She'd read about the Dalai Lama's visit and cut me major slack.

I'm changing planes in Dallas-Fort Worth, snag chai at Starbucks, and what's my barista's name? Om. Yep, I asked just to make sure. Land at DFW and the brother at Thrifty and I strike up a conversation and before I know it I have a free upgrade.

Bloomington is in Indiana. And Indiana appears to be white. Quite white. Beautiful campus though. I missed the morning session the first day and found the afternoon session lacking in focus. Or perhaps it was me, having not slept much en route. Then again I heard others mumbling about "not getting it" too. All was saved when Robert Thurmon spoke in the evening. a.) he's Uma's dad b.) he's a reknown Buddhist scholar c.) he's been haning with HHDL for years and d.) he was a wicked sense of humor.

Today's sessions were great. In many ways they picked up where the San Francisco teachings left off (In Praise of Dependent Origination). Did I mention I'm in love with Thupten Jinpa, the Dalai Lama's translator? For many of us he's the voice of His Holiness.

Sidenote: I met the development person from the Tibetan Nun Project here. The funny thing is that I had to come to IN to meet someone who lives and works in Seattle.

One more day and then back to Skeedattle for this one. The good news is that I feel more focused about resuming an active practice than I have in months.

Om mani padme hum.