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Trek View on Nepal: Himalayan Studies Gap Year Semester with Where There Be Dragons

A day in the monastery

5:30 a.m. Wake up for morning puja, entering the monastery eyes heavy. The chanting of young monks vibrates through the echoing room, walls laden in gold, red, and various floating deities.

7:00 a.m. Breakfast. It’s the familiar smell of baking Tibetan buns. Rubber sandals soon liter the ground, blue and black, covering all empty spaces.

8:30 a.m. We take off our shoes and trod on the cold floor of a room adjacent to the monastery. A towering golden buddha gazes down on us as we all sit crossed legged and turn to the Lama. We begin with an opening prayer and our meditation begins.

10:30 a.m. Dharma, Karma, the three jewels, emptiness, the Buddha nature. Words delivered in Tibetan vibrate in the room. We wait patiently and soon our translator is stringing tighter sentences and revealing their meaning. It goes on like this, the Lama, the translator and us, a network of language, sounds transformed and meanings revealed.

12:00 p.m. Lunch. The young monks shout their prayers and finally lift their plates in gratitude. Their booming voices are followed by a 20 minute period of silence, broken only by the sound of scraping spoons. Just like that its over, the young monks get up, and we are left scrambling to finish our food as they rapidly exit the dinning hall.

3:00 p.m. Another puja. This time we are served warm tea and biscuits

4:00 p.m. We once again greet the Lama, our Khenpo, revered teacher. Questions are asked and answered. What is the nature of the mind? The universe? What is emptiness? What happens after Samsara. We stand and wait for the Khenpo to exit the room. “Katinche,” we say, thank you.

5:30 p.m. The air is so calm here, the sky crisp and blue. You can see the outline of the great mountains on the horizon.

6:00 p.m. There are also ladybugs, everywhere. The air seems charged. Like electricity.

6:30 p.m. I have time to contemplate here. To write and think. The energy of this place is so tangible. It pulsates.

7:00 p.m. Dinner. Sandals once again litter the ground, prayers said and food is devoured. Delicious food, a combination of Tibetan and Nepali.

9:00 p.m. I go to bed exhausted, flopping onto the soft pillow. The days here are intense and intriguing. My mind is constantly working. And tomorrow is a new day.