Fearless Puppies On New Year's Day
The Tibetan New Year has begun. The festivities will continue for several days. Below is a mere thousand words about it, plucked from a longer chapter in the new book that describes the season. Everyone in Nepal is very hopeful that the new year will bring great improvements to conditions here and around the world. I suppose that everyone everywhere is the same kind of hopeful. My personal hope is that everyone everywhere will remember that noble hopes aren’t worth a damn thing unless real effort and involvement accompanies them. Hope and prayer can be lovely additions to intelligent action, but they are disastrous as substitutes for it. Nothing fixes itself. I am also very hopeful for your uninterrupted happiness and good health.
“Without action, Buddha's blessing is not worth much.” HH The 14th Dalai Lama
Below the text are photos of the Tibetan/Nepali New Year’s Day party with our gracious friends from the Pema Boutique Hotel and their family. Be well. Love, Tenzin and the Kathmandu crew
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Today is Losar, the Tibetan new year. Traditional activities include visiting relatives, going to a temple with family, and public festivities. The celebration will continue for several days.
Nikky, Wangmo, and the staff, along with several of their family members, are assembled in the lobby. They are dressed like royalty. Everyone is even more smiley and sweet than usual, if that is possible.
The streets are lined with people in their finest and most colorful regalia. Even Walt Disney would have been in awe of the spectacle.
My positive-energy-projection-toward-the-street shtick is now being done daily from the front window counter of the hotel. I don’t even have to think about it. It happens on automatic pilot during breakfast.
After breakfast, I head toward the Stupa to watch as the entire massive structure is painted.
It has been cold and raw since my arrival in Kathmandu, but today the sun has come out in force for this festive occasion. So have folks from all over Nepal and the world. A twenty year old named Milabuddha sits next to me on a bench by the Stupa. He lives in a village hundreds of miles away. Mila starts a conversation with me, then takes a selfie of us on his phone. The friendliness of the people here continues to astound me. It will be very interesting to travel elsewhere in Nepal and see if this friendliness is a national habit. Being in the Stupa neighborhood is somewhat like being in church. Visitors practice their most noble behavior here.
But for the people that actually live here, their most noble behavior is a way of life—and the animals are just as amazing as the humans! A couple of dozen dogs surround the Stupa. Most (certainly not all) are among the most conscious, mellowest, sweetest animals in the world. They seem to belong to no one and everyone. These canines often act more human than many humans do. They have a sharp intelligence and a kind of radar—a sense of premonition.
A white one sits himself in front of the bench that me and Milabuddha are seated on. A man walks in our direction and starts to approach a woman two benches away with his hand out. The man looks more hungover than hungry. He has an air of snarling surliness about him that I can feel from a distance. He isn't doing anything loud, crazy, or even noticeably different than other folks—but the energy radiating from him seems to stand out like a sore thumb in this otherwise serene atmosphere. The white dog feels it too. He bolts up and darts himself between that man and the woman sitting on the bench. White dog barks as if his master’s house is on fire! The man backs off and walks away quickly. The dog continues to bark at the ornery man's heels for twenty yards or so until both are well out of range of the benches. White dog then simply lays down silently by the Stupa. This creature seems to spend most of its time in a meditation, as do all the canines in the area. These animals lay around as if they are reincarnated saints that have earned the right to relax in heaven for a lifetime—unless there is a situation that calls them to action guarding the area’s good energy.
Several hundred of the most well fed pigeons in the world have their own corner of the Stupa grounds. Locals sell grain to people that spread it around for the birds to eat. Any form of human caring for any form of life is considered a source of blessing here.
On the way home, I stop at Thar Lam Monastery to visit the temple that sits halfway between the Stupa and the Pema Boutique Hotel. The monks are having New Year's badminton and volleyball tournaments! The young adult monks are playing. The elder and child monks cheer from the sidelines. I sit down on a curb, near a few elders in chairs. My legs are in the street. I am immediately approached by a young black dog with markings that resemble a white necktie. The dog licks me until I fall off my narrow seat on the curb! She keeps licking as I lay on the ground. The monks are laughing at me—almost as hard as I am laughing at myself. The dog seems to be laughing too.
Midway through the volleyball game, I go into the temple. It is a beautiful structure with a gorgeous interior containing giant iconic Buddhist statues. The walls are painted with scenes from the historical Buddha’s life. There are offerings of yak cheese, cookies, fruit, and many other goodies stacked everywhere in obvious preparation for a later ceremony. After enjoying a few hundred breaths in the temple, I head back to the hotel with a big smile on my face and the love of fearless puppies in my heart.
Much of humanity thinks that a power beyond itself will drop from the sky to help save our species. Few people are coherently concerned, consciously aware, and common sensible enough to realize that the only way our planet will become a better planet is if we each, individually, do away with the bullshit we are addicted to and put in the mental work necessary to become better people. I may be in the ten square block area of Earth containing the highest concentration of people that are aware of this fact. There is a very palpable density of love and goodwill in the atmosphere here. It is fostered internally by individuals. This internal mental work, this fostering of goodwill, is not done as a self-serving mechanism. It is motivated by a love for, and done on behalf of, everything that lives on the planet. The term for the all-inclusive target of this concern is usually translated into English as “all sentient beings.” The Tibetan phrase is “sem chen”—mind possessor. Taking into account that animals, plants, and insects, as well as humans, are thought to have a consciousness, this motivation covers a lot of ground. It is an extremely powerful force within the nuns and monks. It also plays a very recognizable part in the lives of the neighborhood’s residents. And it is obvious that even the area dogs, in their own way, are involved in the process.
My experience of being here is akin to that of a thirteen-year-old baseball fanatic who suddenly finds himself living in a bed-and-breakfast planted right in the middle of the Cooperstown Hall of Fame.
I have spent almost all of my life in America. In America, many people that see soldiers in uniform approach them and say, “Thank you for your service.” The soldiers are considered heroes worthy of respect and admiration.
My heroes are not professional killers. My heroes are professional altruists that are dedicated to producing saner, kinder, more compassionate opportunities for all living creatures. My heroes are walking in robes on the streets of Kathmandu, and I am lucky enough to have a guest room planted right in the middle of their neighborhood.
***The books Fearless Puppy On American Road and Reincarnation Through Common Sense by this same author are also available through Amazon or the Fearless Puppy website, where there are sample chapters from those books. Entertaining TV/radio interviews with and newspaper articles about the author are also available there. There is no charge for anything but the complete books! All author profits from book sales will be donated to help sponsor an increase in the number of wisdom professionals on Earth, beginning with but certainly not limited to Buddhist monks and nuns.
***If you missed the Introduction to the new book that will be titled Temple Dog Soldier, or would like to see several chapters of it that are available for free online, go to the Puppy website Blog section. This is a book in progress. You will be reading it as it is being created! Just like you, I don’t know what the next chapter is going to be about until it is written. As the Intro will tell you, this is a totally true story—and probably the only book ever written by and about a corpse journeying completely around the world!