above the town to a small temple i could see, nestled in the crest of
some gigantic cliffs way up on the mountain side.
It took several hours to reach this remote location and was tough
climbing in the thin, high altitude air, but the scenery along the way
was stunning. The tiny trail crossed small, bubbling, crystal clear
streams. The hill sides were verdant with wild flowers of every shade
and variety and all of this was enclosed by glistening snow capped
mountains that stretched up into an azure blue sky.
Nestled at the base of soaring cliff were a small cluster of mud and stone dwellings. It was inhabited by a number of monks and nuns, all of whom formed part of a closely knit community of Buddhist Yoga Practitioners.
During the short summers there was a lot of activity going on in these
tiny communities. Houses need to be re-coated and sealed with a new layer of mud mixed with cow dung in order to help protect them from the harsh winter months. Supplies of fire wood needed to be collected
and all manner of preparations made for the long months when it would
be neither possible nor practical to move around. During winter the
monks and nuns stay in their houses and practised in retreat, but
during the summer months they moved about freely, visiting one another
in various communities, attending ceremonies, receiving teachings and
collecting stores of food, firewood and other necessities.
Therefore i was rather fortunate to find the head Lama at home.
Normally during this time he would be away visiting somewhere or
teaching his students at other retreat locations. I was in luck, not
only because he was at his home, but when he heard that my teacher was Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, he immediately and without the least hesitation invited me to stay in his house.
This was indeed a good fortune that i could not turn down and very
soon i was installed in a bright, comfortable little room on the third
floor of his dwelling. There were large windows on two sides from
which i had sweeping views of the mountains in the north and to the
west. The room also opened out onto a spacious rooftop which made a
perfect place to meditate or just sit and enjoy an evening sunset.
The next day i climbed back down to the town of Keylong to pick up my
things and buy a few provisions for a longer stay at the monastery. I
was taking some lunch at the lodge where i had stored my bag, when the
owner came up to my table and asked me where i had disappeared to the
day before. I related my adventures and told him i was intending to
stay longer. He responded very positively and immediately added
something rather intriguing. He said i was very privileged to stay at
that particular Lama's house and that he was known in these parts as the
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