Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Another Viewpoint

Think of all the things New York City is: big, crowded, full of tall buildings, noisy, full of traffic, busy, loud, multi=cultural, stylish, aggressive, success obsessed, known everywhere. Now think of the opposite of ever one of those words. That opposite is what Bhutan is. As people who read my blogs often know I frequently attend events at the Rubin Museum of Himalayan Art. The current major exhibit is about Bhutan; the art works exhibited there have never been out of Bhuthan and are not only national treasures, they are high revered objects. To insure the objects are safe here the Bhutanese sent a couple of lamas to care for them by saying prayers for them morning and night. Being out of their proper place, being in New York is seen as something of a dangerous shock for these items.

You can might imagine what kind of shock being here is for the lamas. Yes, they've seen television -- a little =- and speak English but this is certainly a cultural shock. One of the lamas, Sonam, is writing a blog while he is here, Sonam in The Big Apple, and you can click here to go to his blog. I've been reading it backward and haven't yet got to the beginning. It is fascinating to see how he feels about our city and what his life is like while he is here.

I add this to an opposite of reading experience, the other lama, an
American Buddhist monk who is working in Mongolia helping the Mongolian Buddhists restore monasteries and practices. He's a fluent writer and adds a lot of photographs. Most recently he visited a 100 year old nun who practiced her rituals secretly the 40+ years of Soviet occupation. We should all look as wonderful at 80 as she looks at 100. For reading to get people out of their everyday thought patterns these two lamas' blogs are a great antidote. Highly, highly recommended.

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