BootsnAll Travel Network

June 25th, 2008 – Dharamsala, India

Today we didn’t have any tests but I had my Tibetan Buddhism test the next day.  This was the only exam we had that would be closed exam, meaning no notes or anything.  Lucky for me it was in a subject I had no prior knowledge about before I came, so I was a little nervous.  I mean every credit and test counts towards my gpa, so I take the tests extremely serious.

After class we had to meet at 105pm to head to the 17th Kalampa Lama.  He is the head of another one of the Tibetan Buddhist sects.  The Dalai Lama is the head of the Gelupa sect while this other lama is the head of another.  Janeen and I crammed in to the back in the jeep for what was going to be a very bumpy ride.  I was under the impression that the ride would only be 15 minutes, but as I have learned in India, nothing takes 15 minutes.  The ride was well over 30 minutes and sitting sideways in seats in the trunk of a jeep is not very comfortable and by the end of the ride I was actually feeling a little queezy which doesn’t happen to me often.  When we arrived at this Lama’s complex it was quite nice.  There was housing for many monks, I snapped a few photos by myself and with some others and we waited for the rest of the jeeps to arrive.

The place was pandemonium.  There were many people trying to get blessed by this famous lama and we were just one of the groups of people there.  We all had to have a white scarf, as that is what the lama will customarily bless.  Karma our guide from the Chonor House Hotel, who was tibetan, was having trouble getting us all scarf, and our professors were getting a little nervous.  In the end we all got our white scarfs, but we stood in line waiting for this dude for quite a while and it was hot.  I was dressed in my fancy indian attire from head to toe and was sweating bullets.  I mean this guy did not want to be standing there waiting to bless all these people, as much as I didn’t want to be standing their either.

In the end we were shuffled in, I briefly glanced up at the 17th Kalampa Lama as he put the white scarf around my neck and handed me a piece of blessed red string.  I left the room feeling very inadequate about the situation.  Not only had we driven all this way, but we got to see the guy for about 1 second, a small consolation for our school not getting us an appointment with the His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

After getting the scarves, we went back in to the room to take a group photo with the lama.  I have yet to see the picture that our professor has on CD, and I doubt I will.

From the Kalampa Lama’s complex (I am definitely spelling his name wrong and will correct it when I return to the states), we headed to this Tibetan preservation institute called the Norbulinka Institite.  This was set up by the Tibetan government in exile as one of the ways they have tried to help the Tibetan Refugees maintain their religion and culture, and oh by the way they also sell lots of expensive Tibetan handmade crafts.

We got a brief tour which took us around the complex seeing how different things were made and then we were shuffled in to the store, but of course.  I ended up buying a few things, mostly for myself, adding to the amount of crap I have bought so far on this trip and then a bunch of us heading for the cafe.  It was so hot, and I needed a drink and a little pick-me-up, so I grabbed a pepsi, recycled glass bottle, as usual and we waited for the rest of the group to be done.

A bunch of us were getting really antsy because we wanted to get back to do all the reading and studying that had to be done before tomorrow.  Not only did we have our Tibetan Buddhism class, we also had to do reading for our International Human Rights class.  We eventually left at around 5pm and got back home whenever after.  I studied briefly for the exam, mostly just messing around and wasting time.  After studying I hit the hay and was ready to go for the test tomorrow.


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