Above: Konchong with a 104 woman who managed to practice Buddhism before, all during and after the Communist period in Mongolia.
For about three years I've been reading a blog called Dreaming Dazan Ravjaa which you can go to here A fascinating, multi-faceted blog by an American Buddhist monk, Lama Konchong who is from New England but has been working in Mongolia, centered in Ulan Baator, getting scriptures translated into Mongolian, helping local Buddhists work in groups and in the restoration of monasteries in the Gobi, helping young people join monasteries or nunneries, plus much else, including meeting and describing fascinating Mongolians, writing about Mongolian customs and several times rescuing dogs and cats -- as well as making occasional birding forays into the country side.
Much of the fascination is his writing which mixes Buddhism with American background, but also it's a connection I have enjoyed maintaining tenuously, as a lurker [one who reads but rarely comments on a blog]. In many ways I dislike missionary impulses and the Buddhists mostly agree and do not proselytize. But Mongolia suffered the same kind of destruction of their monasteries and religious life under the Russians that Tibet did under the Chinese. They are a very poor people, especially outside the city and have few resources to resurrect what was destroyed.
I was very smitten with Mongolia and the people I met, their culture and their astonishing landscape when I traveled there several years ago. Now Lama Konchong writes that he is being called back to the US and that the work in Mongolia is at an end. It was sudden and he's not written at length why. He seems resigned but I am sad about it. As if a friend is moving away. The world can really be smaller through the Internet. Konchong seems to have a Buddhist acceptance, I suppose I'll have to acquire the same. Sigh.
The mid-70s are a surprise! Part of me remains in the 50s -- age, I mean, not decade of 20th century. It's a joy ride, new experiences land in my lap and I've become a better quilter, poet, writer than I expected. It's a rich life for a person never rich financially. Hey, this is what the mid-70s are like!