|"The secret of the mountain? It has none. In itself it is no more than a heap of rock and ice. Various qualities - its appearance, its height, its isolation, and the feelings these evoke - have made Kailash a fitting throne for the symbols of the ultimate that man has placed atop it, Shiva or Shenrab or Demchog; the transcendent knowledge, Eternal Bliss. In the end, Kailash is no more sacred than any other place on this planet. It is we who make it what it is: a repository for the dimly-felt perfection we sense within ourselves. Because we fear, in a way, to actualise it, we place it atop a mountain and worship it as divine, for this potential is superhuman, and we are comfortable in our humanity, warm and safe. But even from this distance the transcendent acts upon us. Like a mirror, the mountian reflects back the divinity we have invested it with, incarnating it as a symbol to remind us and lead us on.
To mistake the mountain for the ultimate goal is to miss the point. Its meaning at once suffuses and transcends its appearnace. In one sense Kailash is the divine centre at the heart of all creation, and from its worship comes a vision of the divinity of all things. In another sense it captures for a fleeting moment the Absolute for which all sumbols are only substitutes, translations of eternity and infinity into the realm of time and space.......
Two Chinese truck drivers I met near the shore of Lake Manasarovar were one day bemoaning the desolation of the remote place. 'Too cold, too high, no food, ai-yah...' I translated their complaints to a Tibetan companion, and with a sudden intensity he said to me: "Tell them that here life is real.'
He was right. Here life and land alike are reduced to their simplest components, and this stripping away, far from impoverishing them, creates the space for a certain essentiality to shine through, an element of meaning which vanishes when things, material or mental, begin to pile up. 'But there's nothing here', the Chinese objected. 'Only mountains, a lake, and it's so high.' Precisely, I thought. A mountain. A lake. So high" (Kerry Moran, 'Kailas: on pilgrimage to the sacred mountain of Tibet')
About a month back I sent you all an invitation to join me on a unique journey to Tibet and Mount Kailash in May 2006.
As these journies take some time to organise, I now have to finalise the composition of the group by the end of January. Some of you who receive this have already signed up and some have said that their schedules make it impossible for them to come. For these two groups I hope you will enjoy the above quotes and there is no need to reply!!
For those of you I have not heard back from, this is my final attempt to persuade you to come along on a journey of a lifetime. I hope you can make it. It will be an unforgettable experience. I need to hear from you by the end of this month
Much love to you all....... Mutribo
|To my friends......
About two weeks back now I returned from a journey into Tibet where I spent 24 days with a group of 11 other people. As many of you already know, this journey took us to Lhasa, Gyantse, Shigatse, Sakya and then far out into Western Tibet to do the kora or circumambulation of Khang Rimpoche, also known as the sacred mountain of Mount Kailash.
It was such a tremendously touching and magnificent trip that I want to try and share with the words that follow a tiny fraction of that experience with you.
I am feeling a certain urgency in doing so. The railway that connects the rest of China to Tibet was completed last year and opens to the general public this coming July. Inevitably one of the consequences of this new and easier access from China to Tibet will be a large increase in the amount of Chinese settlers. For many years the Chinese government has had an active policy of settling Tibet with Han Chinese and they offer large financial incentives for any who want to do so. The engulfing threat that this brings to Tibetan culture and history is already very obvious.
As we travelled through central and western Tibet, you already find two cities within each one that you visit: the Chinese and the Tibetan. Unfortunately there also appears to be a policy of demolishing the older, Tibetan-style buildings in these cities and replacing them with "modern" ones that have none of the feeling of Tibetan architecture. There are vastly decreased numbers of monks and nuns in the gompas in the face of limits imposed by the Chinese authorities. The younger Tibetan people also appear to be less and less interested in their own traditional culture and, for many, Chinese has become their first language. Tibetans are in the process of being reduced to second-class citizens within their own land.
In one sense none of this will be surprising to any of you who know a little of recent Tibetan history. It is now over 50 years since the Chinese occupied Tibet and some of the worst ravages of Mao's Cultural Revolution in the mid-sixties took place here.
But what took me by complete surprise was the intensity of the experience that I had there and the essence of that was encapsulated in one event in Lhasa.
My first evening in Lhasa, Praghosh and Marpa - my two filming partners in the movie we made while we were there - came to my hotel room and insisted I come with them right away. They had arrived two days before myself and the rest of the group and they were intent on leading me out to the Barkhor Square which is directly in front of the oldest and most revered gompa in Lhasa - the Jokhang.
As we made our way through the small back alleys between our hotel and the Barkhor, they revealed little of the reason behind their insistence that I accompany them right away. But I could feel a certain excitement and confidence within them that I would understand everything very soon.
One of the small back alleys suddenly opened up onto a larger one that was full to bursting with a stream of Tibetans all doing the kora around the Jokhang. We joined the flow of people and suddenly we were in the Barkhor Square and I turned around to stop and just look.
What confronted me was one of the most touching experiences of my life. I saw before me such an amazing and beautiful collection of individual faces. As they passed me by, I was met by myriad pairs of eyes, set into faces sculpted from a different humanity: one that I belonged to. They gazed at me with such a warm curiousity, it just melted my heart. There was nothing that the eyes wanted of me and no trace of any judgement within them as they looked. Our eyes met, connected and then they moved on, only to be replaced by another set and another and another, each with his or her own absolute uniqeness.
Within a very short time my own eyes were brimming with tears. The feeling that came up circled around some memory that I felt I was born with: a memory of how human beings could relate. The cultural and geographical location of my own birth had never been able to satisfy that genetic expectation. That deep dissatisfaction had been one of the key factors in the start of my own spiritual seeking.
As I looked into this procession of eyes that reflected a natural, spontaneous connection with their own Beingness, I felt how much of my life had been spent in all sorts of inner contortions to try and regain that simple state of Beingness within myself. At that moment the feeling of the connection to all my friends and fellow travellers across the world arose in me: all those that I had known, loved and shared so much with during my life. I knew that if I could have somehow captured what was in front of me on the Barkhor and what I was feeling inside and transmitted it experientially to all of them through some magical new technology, they would have left what they were doing and "beamed themselves up" to the Barkhor too!! There would not have been a second thought.
That is all I can do in fulfilling the promise I made to myself on the Barkhor that evening that I would try my best to let my friends know what I had felt there and throughout my journey in Tibet and what the future may hold for these people. It has already been a lot of words and I have not even touched on Kailash itself or all the other amazing feelings from the trip. I cannot do that here. There is not enough time or space.
I am going back once more in early September.
We shot the movie and my time was busy. I want to go back and and take some more time and space to breathe in all that I saw and felt in this land that long ago made - somehow - this unique decision to give so much emphasis to the inner world.
This is to invite any of you to come along at that time if you possibly can. If you have any feeling of connection with Tibet and its people, I just want to urge you to go there much sooner than later. It was such a precious personal experience and you just cannot say that what is there now will be there for too much longer.
You will find an attachment with this mail that outlines the next trip and has some pictures from the one we just made. I hope this has given you a feel of it. I would love it if you can come with me but mainly I just wanted to tell you how I felt while I was there.
I don't know for sure if you would feel the same........ ........but I think you might.
Lots of love for you all....... Mutribo
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