October is a sterling month in East Bhutan with stellar views out over the eastern horizon and the uninhabited Matterhorn Peaks of Tawang/Tibet. What make the Himalayas so special are the layers upon layers of mountains. In one eyeful one captures banana trees and snowcapped peaks and all between. Mountains are piled upon mountains on a scale that cannot be fathomed. From my stoop I descry places that are unreachable or many days walk. Now the valley turns golden while the highlands retain their greenness. Billowing clouds cling to the mountaintops and escarpments and it’s difficult to discern where one range ends and another begins and where the nexuses are. It truly is a mountainous mandala and like the sand mandalas of tantric Buddhism these geometric features are impermanent. Maybe this impermanence gives this life its piquancy, consider it? Isn’t the Christian notion of Cloud Nine pretty boring the same old people and situations frozen in perfection? Imagine, an egotistical God with flowing white beard angrily calling the shots from on high. Maybe the reason Buddha didn’t rap about god is that he knew spirit was something different for each of us-something personal and rapt that needn’t be defined. The Bardo offers a scary rendition of the afterlife where one wanders in an intoxicated state in a fearful transitory realm full of colored lights and clawing demons. As for enlightenment I just don’t get it-escaping ego and rebirth means sizzling back into the primal soup of ecstasy melding with eternity. How is it then that some Buddha’s can retain their identity and beam back to earthly realms to assist us, I just don’t understand. Maybe I just never learned to share properly.
In this area of the globe the world’s major religions are worshipped in close proximity. Down in Samdrop Muslim men repose on benches at Buddhist pagodas while subversive Christians pay homage to Christ-All under the watchful gaze of Lord Shiva the King of all gods. Whatever you believe make room in your heart for others beliefs too.
Afternoon, walking up the spine of the ridge with three little girls who remembered that my mom’s name was Marti and then asked the names of my other family members. Then this morning Karlos showed me a photo of Reid and Paige dressed as superhero and princess (what a world) Evening descending my beloved ridge a Nepali crescent moon rises through eucalyptus leaves, on the fading frontier stupa clouds ghostly white abode of sky dancers. Stars vibrate and come into being one by one at first and then suddenly all at once UNFOLDING UNIVERSES reflecting cold blue dead light. Yet somehow space seems cozy to us, why? Because silly Billy YOU are the universe.