Edward Reib's "Travels" Part 4

13 minutes, 36 seconds
Premiered: 30th March 2021
Filmed: Jan/Feb 2018

Part 4 opens having just left the airport in Paro, Bhutan. We stop at a restaurant there, and get lost in the imagery on the colored flags hanging over the cashier for a minute.

We meet Tshering Jamtsho, our guide. Well, you meet him. I already knew him. Anyway, we go to Rinpung Dzong, a Drukpa Monastery and Fortress.

With morning coffee we awake the following morning, and head to a restaurant that looks like a Bhutanese Temple. Then, we visit Chimi Lhakhang Monastery, established by renowned enlightened pervert Drukpa Kunley, popularly known in English as "The Divine Madman", and Tshering and I giggle and recite his famous mantra:

I take refuge in an old man's chastened penis,
withered at the root, fallen like a dead tree;
I take refuge in an old woman's flaccid vagina,
collapsed, impenetrable, and sponge-like;
I take refuge in the virile young tiger's Thunderbolt,
rising proudly, indifferent to death;
I take refuge in the maiden's Lotus,
filling her with rolling bliss waves,
releasing her from shame and inhibition.

Oh, also, there's a cat. But she's sleeping.

Then, we go to Punakha Dzong Drukpa Monastery, where I kneel to pose with an elder. Then, on a rope bridge nearby, we meet our driver, Tenzien. You meet him. Obviously, I was in the car with him this whole time, so...

In the morning, we go to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten which is basically Padmasambhava's vision of The Pure Land literally built in a place of rolling hills and rivers and stillness.

Then, we visit the nuns at Sangchen Dorjee Monastery, and stop at a waterfall beside the mountain road.

Next is my favorite part of the whole trip, we visit the one and only Nyingma Monastery in Western Bhutan, apparently, these days, which is Gangteng Monastery in Phobjikha Valley, where the famous Tibetan Black Crane spends its winters, after circle the monastery three times.

Now, you may watch this video and read this description and think, "wait.. you mean the part that went by very quickly and you bought a wood thing?" Yes, that part. I wasn't taking pictures much. In the Inner Sanctum, surrounded by ancient scrolls of the Three main Vehicles of Buddhism, Tshering and I were invited to touch the breastplate worn by Padmasambhava in the 8th century, which he had gifted to Tashi Khyidren, or so the monk said anyway. I wanted to believe him enough that it gave me goosebumps touching it.

The next day, we visit Tashichhoe Dzong, the Fortress which houses the Throne of the Dragon King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck. We saw him face to face there, with his guards and his yellow sash, and he waved at the small crowd of us admirers that happened to be there at the time. They're very strict about not taking pictures of him though so, sadly, that's not included in this video.

Then, we hike up a hill into a snow filled, colorful prayer flag laden, forest landscape straight out of Studio Ghibli's vision of Paradise. At the top of the hill is Lungchu Tsey, a pilgrimage site. This is another one where the experience was profound, but the representation in this video is very brief, on account of my tending not to take pictures of genuine religious experiences since they're going on within me anyway so what would be the point?

The monk overseeing the Temple at the time was so kind as to allow me to sit alone in the Temple before the assembly of gods, The Buddha, Padmasambhava, The Great Unifier of Bhutan, and so on. I sat in Lotus for what felt like an eternity in another dimension, but it might have been less than twenty minutes. Then, the monk, Tshering and Tenzien and I shivered, talked, laughed, and pigged out on those candies that people leave. You know, on the altar.

Afterward, we spend some time way up in the Himalayas, having snowball fights and playing with the dogs there, both literal and astrological. (Tshering is a dog).

Finally, we arrive at Tiger's Nest. One time, Yeshe Tsogyal turned into a flying Tiger, and Padmasambhava rode on her back (let's keep this clean for the kids) and she flew to this spot in the mountains near Paro. So, they built Taktsang Monastery, also known as "Tiger's Nest".

If you'd like to learn more about Yeshe Tsogyal, the sometimes flying tigress, I have a website dedicated to her called What Would Yeshe Do?

If you'd like to hear Tshering and I talking about Bhutan and Buddhism, please feel free to check out WWYD #6.

Click to Watch Part 4 "Bhutan" on Youtube

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