Trip Start Oct 13, 2009
82Trip End Jan 01, 2010
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Now all I have to hope is that I can get on the bus to Shimla the day after tomorrow - 2 a day and the morning one you can't book.....yep it'll be elbows at the ready again.
I did mange to get to the Tibetan Monastry todat (Dali's gaff as I rather cheekily called it yesterday) Everything was a tad different than expected as the Dali Lama is giving teachings. So the temple was closed during the day unless you had a pass for the teaching and the courtyard where the monks normally debate in the afternoon had been taken over as a lunch spot and spot for listening to the teachings if you didnt have a ticket. Rather disppointing as I was looking forward to seeing those so thought oke I'll just have to go and have some lunch in the fab cafe. This was also a bit different - they weren't doing their normal menu during the day (no yummy pizzas:-() as there were just too many people. So had to settle for something else. Walked back to the courtyard to join the people sans ticket and see if I could get a glimpse of his holiness. Security was tight - metal detectors and frisking before you were allowed in, no camera's or mobiles either. Found a spot in the shade and wrote up my journal. With about 15 minutes to go until the teaching started we were told to move. Found another spot nearer the front - luckily in the shade as the sun was still pretty strong. After listening to a conversation I realised why we had to move, the Dali Lama would be walking by where I was sat and security didnt want anyone there.
Ten minutes later, people started stirring and peering towards the back of the courtyard....couple of monks, security and then there he was the Dali Lama wearing his bright yellow and maroon robes. And yes he does smile a lot in real life! He only had a short walk into the temple but hey I had seen him....was well chuffed...
I had decided to hang around and listen to a bit of the teaching assuming it would be in Tibetan. People who plan to go to these things take a radio as there is a simultaneous transalation but for me no such luck! He started off and it was in English......he did the whole thing (with a few short bits having to be translated) in English so stuck around and listened. It wasn't all serious thoughts on Buddhism etc he does add humour. A great story about people thinking he has healing powers. Last year he had gall stones and had to have an operation, this took at least 3 times longer than normal and he was in a lot of pain afterwards. As he said this finally proved that he has no healing powers.....!!!!!!
Half way through the monks bought everyone who wanted one a cup of tea. Very civilised!.
I ended up staying for the whole two hour teaching, some things you did need some knowledge of Buddhism for but other things not. For example internal and mental beauty is much more important than physical beauty and society today puts way too high a regard on the physical. This got a round of applause.
His holiness finished and very simply said ok that's it see you tomorrow, walked back down the steps to the courtyard, still had a big smile on his face, got in car and off he went. Tomorrow more teachings and I am going back after the last one to see if I can visit the temple in the late afternoon. It would be a shame to come all this way and not see it. Oh yes and am also hoping that I can get a pizza in the cafe......the smoked cheese and spinach or the rocquefort, walnut and somethig else are looking v v promising.
So that was my afternoon with the Dali Lama! I had hoped that I might get a glimpse when I heard that he would be in town and I got much more.
Now on my way for dinner (there does seem to be an awful lot of eating going on here.....!) yes once more up the steep steep road.......
More updates as they happen. Tomorrow am also hoping to get to the church in Mcleod Ganj (somewhere else it is supposed to be worth seeing) and enjoy more of the spectacular views of the mountains.
Toodle ooh Carole