Saka Dawa ceremony

For some days here at Jonang Monastery it been a busy scheduled to arrange a great prayer ceremony, Saka Dawa*. 

 Good prayer for world peace and may our all  have a good prosperity, happiness, successful and long life.

We have been given special meals, and the Lams is very busy doing their paying, the sound of music, mantras, prayers sounds throughout the monastery from morning to night. As I told you before, I don´t have a religion (I do have my faith)  but I´m very happy to be able to be a part of this! it´s very beautiful and filled with happiness, good energy and vibrations! I´m grateful!!!
 And yesterday evening, some kids knocked on my door, and handled over a bunch of candy. I asked them why do give me all this? And they just pointed out  to the courtyard, and there were huge sacks, filled with lost of sweets...
 Here are all lined up,  waiting for their part of goodies.....
 Happiness is complete...
 Viewing with each other what they got ...

Everyone gets more than enough, even our little dogie  Dorjee, he became so excited, "tailed around"  all the goodies, (smelling good of course) he got some as well :)

I can just say, Thank You!! I´m super grateful to be a part of all this!!!

*Saka Dawa- fourth month according to Tibetan calendar - is the month remembered as the one in which the Buddha Shakyamuni displayed the deeds of birth, enlightenment, and Parinirvana. But this month of three important deeds is important for Buddhist all over the world. On this special month, all Buddhists, lay or ordained, observe it with the practice of accumulation and purification. It is said that any merit made on this day is multiplied 100 million times and negative emotions, thoughts and actions should be avoided.   / This explanation comes from on of the  coordinator : Cynthia Chao at  Little Lamas org.


Not only nice to know...

... but also good to know :)


When I decided go to Kathmandu / Nepal, I had no idea about what I would bring with me, including the dress code, etc, it is after all a completely different culture ( Hindu / Buddhism rules here), and I'm a woman, working in a monastery for monks.
Amazing culture, and deserve respect....

Now I will try to reproduce what I think is most important to bring / think about for a volunteer assignment.

What I can not do without!

A Kettle!
Absolutely the most important gadget for me.
- I boil water, so there is  no bacteria. (water in Pharping is okay to boil, but the water in Kathmandu, I would never use)
- I boil water for my shower and hair washing.
- To wash my clothes (there are no washing machines)
- To be able to boil my own tea, coffee, soups possible if you want, etc.
(electricity plug same as we have in Europe 220v)

Lightweight travel towel

Since we wash by hand, and let everything dry naturally,  this is almost a must. It is easy to wash, and it will dry quickly. As well as minimizing its weight in your suitcase.
A "terry towel" would never get really clean, not rather dry.


You must of course make sure you have all vaccine that you need for this area etc, Your doctor will also tell you what's good to have with you. But basically everything is available here, and cheaper. In Pharping is a pharmacy.
I brought with me, antibacterial hand wash, both liquid and napkins, this I have not found here. It is really needed! If you keep your hands clean, you minimize the risk to get sick.( A thing to think about is the money, here are some of the money super dirty & smelling = full of bacterial! )

dress code

This was my main concern at home, but once I got here, it's not so big deal. But be aware that you must have covered shoulders and legs. So jeans and t-shirt works, but not too tight and "naked." But even loose linen trousers,harems trousers (baggy pants) exc .. Use common sense, respect the culture, deselect short shorts for example.


Most products are available to buy here, shampoo, shower gels, washing etc. And in Pharping are several shops, supermarkets, electronics stores, pharmacies, greenery,stores with phone cards, they are open 7 days a week, so it's no problem to buy what you need here. So it will not drag on, it weighs quite a lot. Even bookstores with English books are included in Kathmandu.

Nepalese telephone number.

Are super ease of purchasing, and cheap. However, you must have with you, passports, visas, and give your thumbprint :) hehehe. it's true!
You also have  internet included with the number, which is fantastic and necessary cos it's power outages several times a day here, and no wired internet connection, but works usually on mobile.


Swayambhunath - Kathmandu

I took a taxi to The Swayambhunath - maybe more known as the "Monkey Monasteries" in Kathmandu last Sunday  One of the places i felt I must see when I´m in Nepal.

After a bumpy road through Kathmandu I finally arrived to the fabled area. The first I saw was a monkey eating mango on the outside. To get in you have to pay 200 rupees for entering. Which is less than 2 €.

 A typical view here, monkey and prayer flags. I will see if I can find them in only withe as well. They would be beautiful as a decoration of av a garden party etc...
 Beautiful Stupa with Buddha eyes in all four directions.
 The whole area is full of souvenir vendors. It was impossible to take a step without them hanging over me, wanting me to come and watch, etc. In my opinion, it ruined my whole experience of the place.It was impossible to soak up and feel the atmosphere, to really be here with my full concentration, body & soul ... The disadvantage of traveling alone, and being blonde.
 Besides vendors, it's some beggars here as well. A monk haunted me for a while, at first I did not understand what he wanted, because he just walked after me and smiled, and held a book about Nepal in his hand. When I realized he wanted money, I gave him some money. That  was apparently  not enough, to judge of his facial expressions. I told him this is all I can afford. Then he hit me with the book in my head,and on my shoulders, then he repeated the same procedure on himself while he mumbled something. I hope it was not a curse, but a blessing :) but considering that this month is" the month of all good" which means all need to be extra nice now,  it was probably a blessing, I choose to believe it anyway. hahahaha .....
 another monkey hanging around....
 The view is stunning!
 The architecture, the buildings, the clothes, the culture is fantastically beautiful. An explosion of colors, shapes and details.
 Another monkey climbs on the statue of Buddha :)
 fruit and water vendors are here too ...

And with the beautiful and important message contained in the background of this Buddha statue (where you throw coins for good fortune and fulfilled prayers etc.). I end this blog post.

May peace prevail on earth! 


Boudha, the area I use to live in when I´m in Kathmandu...

After a bumpy, scary, hectically ride on a scooter from Pharping (I´ll never do that again!) and some shopping in Thamel I arrived to my hotel in Kathmandu.

I surely can recommend this Hotel if you are nearby. It´s near The Boudhanath Stupa, but it is so quiet here comparing to the rest of Kathmandu. Hotel Norbu Sangpo.

  You find lots of fruit & vegetables, this is the backstreet...
.... between my hotel and the Stupa.
 For dinner I went to an neighborhood restaurant, and it was not even a "hole-in-the-wall- restaurant",  I felt I was in a private families backyard  There was their scooter, only 1 tables for guest (like a garden table set), and one ordinary dining table for them, an a TV they were watching :) Behind that curtain is the kitchen.
And for the first and only time since I arrived I had meat, or to be exact, chicken. But it was probably one of the best chicken I ever tasted. Yum!
 Other vice, this is typical street views from the main street in Boudha... Colors...

 Cows, they are all over, usually in the middle of the streets, or among the garbage...
The trucks and buses are so nice decorated! I love them!!
And not to forget  the sleeping dogs! They are everywhere, sleeping! They don´t care about, people, cars or noise.  This dog for example, didn't move a bit even when this lady started to ring in the bell!

Another thing about the streets are that they are in so bad shape. This is normal as you see on the pic above, and much worse. When you go between the areas in Kathmandu,this is how it looks like. It is so bad roads  with large holes and pits, one time I thought the taxi were gonna turn upside down! Not to mention the dust, sometimes you can not see more that a couple of meters ahead of you. As well as bumpy, after a ride it feels like the body been through  a combat. And this is the capital city :)
Everybody tells me, now when the monsoon is starting... It will be big problems!  Yeah yeah, we will see...

Thamel - a shopping area in Kathmandu

This weekend I went in to Kathmandu, and I visit some different areas, one of them is Thamel, known as the tourist area. And that's true, it´s a huge commerce here.But last time I was here I found a great book shop " "Himalayan book House", that I really liked. And they have so much more than books. And good prices comparing to others.
Anyway, here come some pictures from this area.
 If you go of, from the shopping streets, you can find so many beautiful wives... It´s breathing old tradition and culture...
 A woman doing here laundry, in a surrounding of beautiful old houses, sculptures etc....
 Intensive shopping streets.... There is a lot of mobile "fruit stores"from bicycles...
 a mix of tourists, shooters, rickshaws, and tourist shops are all over. All are selling the same thing more or less if you ask me.
It was a heavy rain for about 30 minutes, then the sun showed up again. the monsoon just started...
Among a lot of things I found a beautiful head of Buddha in wood. its big, more or less 45-50 cm high. And I love it!!! This kind of things I could fill a whole container with to take back home to Spain :)

After my my shopping round I went  straight to Bhouda. Were I was going to stay the night.


Buddha´s birthday...

Not many can claim to celebrate their 2,500+ birthday. Then again, not many can claim to be the founder of a major world religion, Buddhism.  So because that  we had no classes s today at the monastery. (But the real celebration in Nepal, of  Buddha's birthday will celebrated first on the full moon day of May. In 2013, the holiday occurs on May 25.) 
 So, I started my relaxed morning with  Tibetan tea, and the morning paper, I can´t remember when I did that last time??? It´s ages ago!!! I never do it in Spain, so it must have been when I lived in Sweden, hahaha... But very nice indeed!

After breakfast I went up to the mountain for meditation, on my walk up I met a monk. He looked like a Samurai very powerful  but he told me he was from Tibet as well but from another Monastery.  He followed me a bit on my walk, he was very nice, I hope I will meet him again. I liked him.

Then as a super nice surprise for our lunch. We got sooooo much food!!! Just look at it!!!Yum!!! Do you see that dish as is white in the top of the pic? They said when they served it  to me, "It´s milk" But it was thick, cold, and tasted vanilla :) Super yummie! That dish had a reason, look bellow: 

"It is said that the Buddha tried to attain enlightenment sooner, so he sat for a prolonged time with inadequate food and water, which caused his body to shrivel so as to be indistinguishable from the bark of the tree that he was sitting under. Seeing the weak Siddhartha Gautama, a girl named Sujata placed a bowl of milk in front of him as an offering. Realizing that without food one can do nothing, the Buddha refrained from harming his own body."

And this is what the "Little lamas" did, and still do :)

 Running competition....

 other acrobatic work outs...
And some took care about "the little treasure " :)


A brand new morning...

... right now I had my breakfast. I go up early to do some yoga, than around 06.00 I get my breakfast.
And every morning I have this scenario, right outside my room..
The" little Lamas" morning ritual (evening as well) they are praying for the Peace of the world and for people who has been suffering from the wars, the human-made and the nature disasters.... for peace and less suffering.

it´s an amazing environmental I live in! I can just say WOW!!!! So happy to be able to be a part of this, if even for only 3 month!

Now I gotta prepare my first class as starts 8 o´clock! We had a test yesterday, and today I will give them the result, as was actually very good :)


Sunday, a fun day!

Sunday is a free day at the monastery. And today I been at Pharping exactly one week. And it total my 11th day in Nepal.
 I was suppose to go away early this morning to see a Hindu temple in the neighborhood but it was delayed to the afternoon, so I just looked at the kids when they were enjoying their day if in the sun.
 here they are planting, something they dig up on another place and just replanting it :)
 A lot of fun...
 And here is our little guardian puppy! It´s a lucky dog, with so many people caring for it, play with it and give it love.

In the afternoon I was picked up of a man that helps at the Monastery as well, we went to his home and family. They are Hindus, and very hospitable. They told me that the world Guest also  means God in Hindi, so they "must" treat all guests the best they can, and they feel blessed to get "God in their house" I like that! Imagine if we treated all like that!
A beautiful decoration on the doorstep to their hous

 I got to meet his family, see his house, and they gave me plenty to drink, wanted to cook too but I said no thanks. After a while we headed to the Hindu temple that he wanted to show me. It was bumpy winding roads down in a valley, I really got to hold on hard on the Vespa.

The Dakshinkali Temple is very well known, and it use to be so many people visiting this temple. After walking down a lot of stair we came to the place were they burn the bodies. Picture above. Then we came to a place were they slaughtering the animals, cos they  give offerings ( animals) to Dakshinkali to make her happy, so she is kind to her followers. This they do early in the morning. So I´m happy I wasn´t here then!

 I have all respect for all religion and culture, but some things i don´t want to be a part of. But I´m curious and I want to see and know things!  But back to the slaughterer area, here were so much flies, it was almost like a black carpet on the floor and full of them in the air as well.. uhh... and it was dark.. I got goosebumps. I can´t say I liked this place or temple, it was something "dark" around it. I didn´t got nice vibes. Usually I get a feeling of peace when I enter a Temple, church etc.. But not here.
 This is Daskinkali. I couldn´t enter, cos Im not a Hindu, but that was ok :)
 But then I found something that attracted me :) All those bells! I have so many pictures of them. So beautiful! People come and make prayers. And then they put a bell here as an "payment". As you see, every bell have a locker! So not anyone steals them.
There were one more Temple here, Mata temple (the mother temple) to come there you you have to climb up 200 meters, and we did. But I had the same feeling up there, so.. no pics...

But I'm very grateful to be able to see all new things today, new experience again. And meet so kind people!