More pictures, etc.
Here's Andrea, looking at some sheep (or maybe goats) as we climb up out of the chasm.
This is the Buddha statue in the temple at Norbulingka.
Looking up from the gardens at Norbulingka to the temple. The Buddha statue you see is beyond the door that you see at the top of the stairs.
I really like this lion fountain. What can I say?
I believe this is an image of Chenrezig in his wrathful form. But what do I know? :') This little shrine is interesting because it's very much in the style I saw when I was trekking in Nepal, and so I think it's very traditional. Of course this Norbulingka was built in the past forty years, so this isn't that old, but a lot of Norbulingka seems to be focused on preserving tradition, so I think it's safe to think of this as authentic. It wouldn't surprise me if it had been carried, stone by stone, out of Tibet.
Traditionally, Norbulingka was His Holiness' summer palace. If you watch Kundun, the scene where His Holiness leaves Tibet starts at the original Norbulingka. There's a running ha-ha-only-serious joke in Kundun about His Holiness buying up herds of animals to save them from slaughter, and Norbulingka is kind of the spiritual center of this activity. So it's no surprise to see someone there taking such sweet care of a tiny animal that's already had a hard life. This little puppy has very bad mange, and the woman who's cleaning him is hoping that it's not so bad that his hair won't grow back. Apparently mange scars the follicles so that they can't grow hair anymore. This woman and her partner came to India a few months ago after selling or giving away (they didn't say) everything they owned except the contents of two suitcases. They just decided to spend some time wandering around righting wrongs, and this is today's effort. I've seen them walking around McLeodganj. They look very happy. To me this is a good example of santosha, if you want one.
Someone asked me to say more about His Holiness' teaching. I'm not sure what to say. If you're curious to know what his teachings are like, the best thing to do is to go. You absolutely will not be wasting your time. Sometimes westerners go to see His Holiness just because he's famous and maybe they hope for an easy fix for whatever unhappiness they wish to dispel. Then they get discouraged when they find themselves in the midst of a serious monastic teaching on some really intense topic.
But if you just sit back and let it wash over you, after a while you start to get it, and I think it's worth the time. The trick is that while the answer to life, the universe, and everything is simply expressed, walking the path is different than being told what it looks like. And that takes time. So his Holiness very kindly spends the time that it takes to get you to grok the teachings, not just hear them.
We westerners are used to Powerpoint presentations, and indeed sometimes I'm tempted to do a Powerpoint of the Lam Rim, or something like that, but really a PowerPoint presentation isn't going to do it.
Seeing His Holiness in Dharamsala was a real bargain - in New York they charge $100/class, typically, but in Dharamsala the teaching is free. This year (and I think in previous years) a group of Taiwanese students of His Holiness sponsored the teaching.