Wiki Info Hemis
On the way to Hemis Festival Bonnie related the difference between the relationship of people to buses/bus drivers here vs in 'The 'WEST' as follows: In the west when shopping and the bus you must take comes you drop your shopping and catch the bus. Here, if your doing your shopping and the bus comes you finish your shopping while the bus waits for you.
To Hemis Festival (see photos), lots of mini buses going when full, jammed, packed - very typical here! Passing on the way many monk- monasteries which we hope to visit tomorrow. Took an hour on bus (we thought we'd left early) but upon arrival there were hundreds of hired taxis lined up along the road already (again see photos). When we hiked up to the gate to the monastery we bumped into Martin and Marget from our GH. Their adopted son who is working with a high end tour agency, had picked them up and had seats for them at the festival. We were told to get there early because if not you might get stuck not being able to see anything. They invited us to join them and we accepted not knowing the price but with the crowds figuring joining their 'group' was a fortuitous meeting. I learned quite a bit from Martin who'd been a follower of Padma Sambhava (Guru Rinepoche) 19+ years back and whose birthday this festival celebrates. Just less than a km from here is the cave where he became enlightened.
Marget and I it turns out are both 100% German(something in common), however our seating did not allow for much conversation. We watched the first half 'til lunch break at which time the sun became just too hot for us. Plus, the crowds were too, too if you know what I mean. The LP says it is a festival for the locals but I fear by the looks of it the tourists have taken it over!
We saw very few locals, a pity what we tourists do to local customs and traditions. It's like this everywhere now, mobs of tourists and many times it is impossible to know what's real and what's show! Kind of like where I came from and Wisconsin Dells of 40 years ago - now even more I suppose. The Winnebago Indian Ceremonials for those familiar with it were shows. I should have seen it coming since it's no different than what's happening now all over the world. I see elements of 60-70s hippydom but today it's more like these new ones are seeking to be cool, in, not seeking anything but a show. Finding themselves or some answers or truths or discovering their bliss??? I don-t know but I think I'm seeing human zombies caught in some karmic, soullessness. Well off, spoiled clueless youth wandering here and there as opposed to the other 85% of humanity struggling just to find space and food day by day to live on.
I'm to blame as is all of my generation for just sliding into the consumptive, close our eyes, let-it-be mentality. Of course, Buddhism and all the other -isms seem to always point to some 'other' which somehow is guiding life/humanity. I doubt that this will change. Though Buddhism seeks to teach a 'higher' realm/reality which humans might attain, the bottom line is the whole of humanity is not making our earth more enlightened. Our earth is only capable of re-balancing in terms of the physical laws which have controlled it's millenia of life. Humans are but a tiny moment in the earth's existence. To impute more to me is crazy. But still, I think there are some few who are seeking happiness, bliss away from the consumptive life style of the spoiled and clueless. Many of these humans are in the 85% struggling just to survive I suspect. I refer to the books Blessed Unrest and The Next American Revolution I've mentioned before in which people are trying to find community, a sense of relationship. This usually has been found in newly discovered, untouched tribes. I think this is what I've felt when I've participated in Scouting, Peace Corps, AYH/hosteling, even the gardening community. People connecting through a common connection with the earth and it's being. Maybe it's a surrogate family I found to some degree that has filled a void. Today's disjointed, competitive, fragmented, isolated, individualistic emphasis on achievements has made humans less human, more like zombies.
I'm not searching for meaning anymore. It is clear to me from travelling that it is 'the journey', not the destination (meaning) that is my life, quite simply. Why I've taken so long to see what is right in front of me is a puzzle. The Buddha might recognize my struggle to maximize bliss/happiness as an attempt to reach the higher realm. Any effort to 'help' humanity only has meaning in the context of my effort to maximize bliss/happiness for myself if I see myself as part of an eternal, infinite, universal whole. After all, our galaxy is only one of tens of thousands, our solar system only one of billions. Let's not get too carried away/hung up on humanity!!