When East meets West and leaves the latter dumbfounded…
Living between the East and the West is a bit like living in the past and future simultaneously. One foot supported by science, the other by the mystical.
Building up a daily belief, a daily witnessing of the power of intention brings immense value. For when life’s larger happenings arise, a sound faith can make the right choices for us at those times of confusion, or at the very least, carry us through. And our Tibetan brothers and sisters, I have witnessed, are masters of this.
Every moment of every day the Tibetans acknowledge spirit.
Walking through the streets of Dharamsala, India, which is home to the Tibetan community in exile, the sound of their prayers and chants can be heard from early morning till late into the night.
If I try to relate this back to the West I would say they focus on the ethereal as much as we do social media or trying to succeed. Both cultures are forever seeking to connect, one perhaps more misguided than the other.
During my most recent trip to Dharamsala we had two earthquake tremors. Coming from Ireland, this was a personal first and it brought about moments of total fear. However, it gave me the opportunity to see the strong faith of these people in action.
From the local community I learned that Dharamsala was historically an active earthquake region, but the British were unaware when they first occupied it.
“In 1848, the area now known as Dharamshala was annexed by the British… Before the earthquake of 1905, the upper part of the station, which rises to a height of 7,112 feet [2,168 meters] contained the European houses, the station church and the officers’ mess and lines of the 1st Gurkhas, together with the public gardens, post office and two bazaars, the Forsythganj and McLeodganj. The public offices, a bazaar and a few European houses made up the lower station, as low as 4,500 feet [1,372 meters]. The public gardens, which were, before the earthquake, laid out with much taste in lawns and terraces, contained a valuable collection of indigenous and imported trees and shrubs and were overlooked by the Assembly Rooms, a handsome building comprising a public hall, a library and reading-room and a billiard-room. The church was beautifully situated in a recess of the mountain.
In 1905, the Kangra valley suffered a major earthquake. On April 4 of that year, the earth shook, demolishing much of the cantonment and the neighbouring city of Kangra, Himachal Pradesh as well as the Bhagsunag temple. Altogether, the 1905 Kangra earthquake killed 20,000 people. 1,625 persons perished at Dharamsāla alone, including 15 Europeans and 112 of the Gurkha garrison…The British had planned to make Dharamshala the summer capital of India, but moved to Shimla after the disaster.”
According to local beliefs, the region was left pretty much uninhabited after that, at least until 1959 when the Tibetan settlement of Dharamsala began.
Upon his arrival, the Dalai Lama built stupas around the area to deal with the threat of earthquakes, which resulted in a significant reduction of seismic activity.
The recent tremors affecting the area are unusual and causing grave concerns within the Tibetan community. From my own personal accounts, I had never experienced a tremor during any of my previous trips to this sacred town.
While all this activity was going on, the Dalai Lama was visiting Japan and as scared as I was, I knew in my heart of hearts we were in safe hands and he would do something to help us upon his return.
Then one evening while relaxing with my monastic friends in their charity shop, a local Tibetan man came in and started handing out sheets with Tibetan writing on them to all the monks and nuns.
When I inquired as to what it was, I was told that it was an earthquake prevention prayer that has been issued by the Dalai Lama’s office. My feelings had been right, the Dalai Lama was taking action, and to ease my worries further my dear friend Lama Nyima turned around, looked at me with a heartfelt smile and said, “Now my dear, you just enjoy, okay? We will take care of the earthquakes for you!”
This was a classic moment where my futuristic mind-set had to lay down its arms and allow ancient ways to take the lead. For what else was there to do? I could trust or not get any sleep. I chose to trust.
The Dalai Lama has his own personal oracle, Kandro-la.
Rumors went around at a later stage that she had predicted a big earthquake on a certain date. Thankfully, that date came and went with no incident apart from it being a sleepless night for some.
As I thought about it afterwards, I mused that perhaps Khandro-la had uncharacteristically predicted wrong. Or maybe the Dalai Lama’s prayers had started to take effect once again.
Could it be that Eastern intentions, thoughts and prayers are working with Mother Gaia rather than against her and she is responding favorably?
We have so much to learn from this incredible culture, and in turn, them from us. Having one foot in each world is indeed a privilege, for the discoveries can bring great benefit and as I personally experienced, great relief.
As the Dalai Lama says himself, some ancient beliefs no longer serve, yet some absolutely do. The goal is to learn and incorporate the latter into daily life, where the cyber world can so easily trick us into thinking our reality is something that it’s not.
For we are so much more than that, dear friends; we are spiritual beings above all else. And the Tibetans clearly get that. How else could they use simple, albeit mastered thoughts to stop the movement of the earth? That potential is each and every one of us. As the Tibetans would say, it is our inherent Buddha nature.
Ed: Brianna B.
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