|The designated driver Aue Tshering ( my friends elder sister) made us hike some places where the road was steep because she wasn't used to the narrow road and was concerned for our safety :)|
|The narrow roads , seen here in the pic is slightly better some roads were really narrow, steep and in need of immediate repair|
|As soon as we arrive a beautiful temple greet us ... whoaa just amazing|
|My friends youngest niece gets the first hug from her grandmother who was patiently waiting our arrival |
|Some of the retreats folks take a break from their isolation and rituals and bask in the sun over looking the valley|
|The neighbors cat , notice the mis- match eye colour. The old lady who took care of it was really possessive of the kitten =(^_^)=|
|Beautiful Inspiring walls of the cottages especially the second wall nice pattern|
|The hide and seek playing lights insides the cottages very interesting|
|The balcony my friends mother sits during her afternoon meditation and the narrow stairs leading to her tiny room :)|
|I know there is something wise written below the mantras but the English translation confused me , If someone could leave the right translation in the comment box, Thanks!|
|Shrine at my friend's mothers little room , apparently she explained that all the Rimpoches on display were the Tsa-wa-lama ( root Gurus )of her Late husband, brother and other important family members|
|Beautiful mud walled and wood country cottages like these bring me so much JOY, Its such a relief from the ugly concrete urban houses with loud colors|
|Places of other retreat people also her neighbors :)|
|A young monk takes his lessons outside in the Temple lawn along with his other fellow monks|
A month back my friend and I had promised his mother that we would visit her when she would go on a one month long isolated retreat to Tashigang (a retreat center up the hill 3 hrs by foot above Hongtsho, Thimphu ). We set out in my friend's sisters car with her ( Aue Tshering) behind the steering along with his three nieces Selsi , Gelek and Kunzang Pc.
We avoided the 3 hrs trek up to the retreat center ( I dont know if center is the right word ) for we had children with us but the road up hill was no smooth ride either, It was a newly built road with loose soil and falling debris at some places and to make matters even worse for the driver who wasn't used to the narrow road it was very steep, For the safety of the children we hiked at some steep places.
On reaching our destination we were greeted by our host for the day with a warm hug. We had to further hike uphill to her place with butter lamp oil packages, incense some food and rations that we had had carried for her. We arrived at a little cottage that belonged to my friends family and it was being used by two other people who were on a similar isolated retreat. The cottage had a little garden a small veranda overlooking my friends mother's room where she sat during afternoons and meditated. I instantly fell in love with the place I could live here for ever.
We had a light lunch of mushroom datsi (cheese) , dal, soyabean and bowl full of rice mixed with fresh butter ^^ my friends mother had prepared that with love. Lunch was followed by visit to her neighbors living in similar old quaint cottages and visit to the shrines of two of the temple that was available. We said our individual prayers and soaked in the places as much as we could for we never know this just might be the first and last time some of us would be here given our busy lifestyles. A whisper in the wind and prayer on my lips I hope to visit this place one day and hopefully its pristine untouched beauty and simple cottages would not give way to ugly concrete buildings and litters of trekkers.
If you are serious about taking the spiritual path, I think there is no better way to start than with a retreat. On retreat you can find a greater depth and intensity of spiritual practice than you are likely to have experienced before. You will experience facets of reality, and of yourself, that may surprise you. Some of the people higher up in the hill were in retreat for three years and we were requested to not make noise or cross the fence of the longer duration retreat practitioners.
I am not a very ritualistic person so the idea of a retreat in isolation best suited the spiritualist in me. It was truly a day well spent :) For all those people who assume i maybe shallow or selfish just because i have a fashion school background I would like them to know that I may not have memorized my sutras and prayers but I sincerely do have a good heart. I prefer my actions do the talking.
On a lighter note , the SONG we were listening to throughout the journey a track from the Japanese drama " One liter of Tears " Thank u Kunzang Pc for transferring it to my cellphone I am listening to it as i edit the blog :) and I shall listen to it on my trip to my hometown the day after tomorrow :)