Part III: Played By A Lama? What Will I Serve The Lama for Dinner?
When I got to the top of Tiger’s Nest, almost all the other teachers had already been there for some time and were starting to descend down. Apparently, Sheal and I took too many pictures on the way up and I was sure our new guide-friend’s finger hurt from snapping all the photos of us. I hugged the other teachers as we passed. Everyone on this mountain is excited and you can actually feel it. The anticipation of entering inside the monastery is almost too much to handle.
Unfortunately, you can’t take your hats, bags, or cameras in the monastery. No pictures or filming and you will be patted down before you enter, especially if you look like a photo fanatic foreigner like me. If you want to know what it looks like inside, you will have to go. I will not spoil it for others because I want everyone to go and experience its beauty first hand. I’m confident you won’t be disappointed.
|Feet away from Tiger's Nest|
However, I will give you a little history lesson that my new friend (aka the guide I stole away with my charm) gave me about the monastery. Tiger’s Nest also known as Takeshang Gompa or Taktsang Palphug Monastery is one of Bhutan’s most famous and holiest sites. It was built in 1692 in Guru Rinponche’s honor. Guru Rinponche is a real historical figure in Bhutan and is credited for bringing Buddhism to Bhutan during three of his visits in the eight century. Inside Tiger’s Nest there is a great cave where Guru Rinponche flew into on a tigress back and meditated in for three months. Guru Rinponche is very powerful and is known for subduing anti-Buddhist forces. It’s even believed that the construction of the monastery was aided from celestial beings. There is so much to know about Tiger’s Nest that I can go on for days, so look it up people!
I’m sure most won’t believe all of this mystical stuff about Tiger’s Nest, but I do. So to be able to meditate in a place where the great Guru Rinphonche meditated was an honor and a blessing. While meditating I was flooded with the usual luminescent purple light that likes to pay me visits during my meditations. It was a majestic moment to say the least. I thought about how happy my angels and spirit guides must have been to accompany me on this once in a lifetime adventure.
People from all over the world make a journey to visit Tiger’s Nest. I met people from China, Nepal, Italy, Japan, France, and Tibet who were embarking to check off this monastery for this lifetime. When everyone reached the top that day, they were surprised by a great Bhutanese master lama who had traveled there for the day to give blessings, whom I got my first blessing ever. I was so excited that I rushed to the front of the crowd without observing the “proper” way to get a blessing and found myself doing a hesitant bow with my head. The young lama laughed at me, told me it was ok and blessed the top of my head with a wooden looking gavel. He looked at me with curiosity wanting to know where I was from and why I was here. He told me that he was originally from the village I would be living at and asked for my phone number so he could visit me when he passed through.
What? A famous lama with an entourage wanting to visit little old me, how lucky am I! So I was devastated that I couldn’t remember my new phone number. No problem though, he ordered his assistants and umbrella holders to fetch him a pen and paper so he could give me his number instead. That’s when my ego came out to say hello and I was literally blushing as he wrote down his number for me while tons of people watched. How strange, the only bold male who asked for my number was a lama, did he think I was cute or was this friendly customs? I later learned that Lama’s are allowed to marry, hmmm. I couldn’t wait to tell all the other BCF teachers how special I was. Ha-ha.
|Break time! Shhh|
Down the mountain my guide-friend I went catching up to Sheal. I waved my precious lama’s number around in the air to her. I yelled in excitement, “Whee, what will I serve the Lama for dinner?” Finally, we reached the bus and everyone had been waiting for us for quite some time. The BCF teachers kindly hooted and hollered that we were able to physically make it, little did they know that Sheal and I went on a photo shoot/meet and greet event. Shhhh! Their cheering was a little embarrassing, but I didn’t care because my ego had news to share. I proudly took out my phone number and announced to everyone that the lama was coming over for dinner. The whole bus busted out in a roar of laughter. I instantly knew something was funnier about this story than I was aware of and I was about to be the butt of a good joke. In front of me, I noticed that Reidi was the only one not laughing. Tim was the first to burst my bubble, he gladly shouted that the lama said he was also originally from Reidi’s assigned village, asked for her number, but she too couldn’t remember her new number. So the cute lama gave her his number instead, asked her to call him, so that he could visit her whenever he was in her village.
|Down the Mountain|
I guess I wasn’t the only one with an ego the size of Texas. Reidi had also “ran down” the mountain entering the bus feeling lucky about the thought of this great man coming over for dinner. It was basically the same exact replay as my experience. So Reidi and I sat there looking at each other quite annoyed. The bus was filled with jokes about how we got played by a lama and being a monk is only a day job. On and on the jokes continued and I couldn’t help but eventually laugh too.
Later on Reidi and I were still in denial that we were no longer something special and we thought for sure there must have been two different lamas giving blessings. We started to compare notes on what the lama looked liked and what he said. Still cemented in denial we got a great idea to get our lama’s phone numbers out to compare. Our egos slowly crumbled away as each digit matched. Then we laughed and secretly admitted we were still going to call this lama. Ha! What will I serve the lama for dinner?
|Reidi and I|