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Archive for the ‘travel’ Category

 

 

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An interesting look at Buddhists doing something one might not expect. Well, okay, maybe doing 2 things one might not expect; Protesting and using social media in ways other than teaching Buddhism or reaching followers. But then, perhaps it’s not as unexpected as one might think on first glance. The issues that are presented by the Trump administration are plentiful indeed, depending on your individual politics. The travel ban, or whatever he might wish to call in on any given day, is obviously the most contested so far. I’m sure that his policies and my own philosophies will clash many times.

Do have a read, dear reader. I hope you find it interesting.

Buddhist teachers, on social media, respond to “Muslim travel ban” (Updated)

 

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Towards Lhasa

We discussed the smell

Of the monk who set himself on fire,

Shaking our heads in half-disbelief

As our tour guides made dinner.

We camped early along the banks of

The Lhasa River,

The terrain rough-hewed and ragged.

The sunset, intense orange and purple, matching

The orange flames of our campfire matching

Those that ate his flesh.
In Liuwuxiang we waited as our gear dried.

We inquired, with barely a concern,

As to precisely where he burned,

How much further to the spot in Ngawa and

Was the spot worshiped like a shrine?

To forgotten freedom?  Was there

A plaque to commemorate?
No one talked to us about the Why.

Half- hearted questions met with steel eyes.

Such questions are better not asked

Such words carry too much weight

Baggage packed with an official taboo

Burning the tongue before utterance.

 

We discussed the smell of a monk on fire.

His ashes washed away long ago

But the smoke still presents a challenge

The stench of burning flesh

A common pain that may never leave.

 

 

 

Poets note: Most of the self immolation that has occurred in Tibet have been in the Ngawa region, not in Lhasa. Access to Ngawa is forbidden by the Chinese government for most from the west, and internet access has been severely restricted. I chose to use Lhasa in this poem to reinforce these restrictions.

For more information, go to this website; https://www.freetibet.org/about/self-immolation-protests

 

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She kept the letters in a drawer

Locked away in a box made of teak

Lined with silk paper.

Next to a sachet of lavender,

Small shoes from her childhood,

Dried flowers from days almost forgotten.

 

Each memory

Tied ever so carefully

Ribbons of the softest silk.

The key, always close to her breast,

Hiding in a locket she always wore

But no one had ever seen.

 

Letters, passports, ticket stubs,

All of them nothing more than

Allusions to illusionary places.

She read them daily, wistfully,

Like an evening prayer to Love,

Mantras to her spirit

Chanting each word by memory,

Gently rolling her tongue over them

To feel the taste of each word of love,

Re-committing her every sigh to memory

 

Praises, laughter, whispers, tears, murmurs,

Words laced with promises

Long since broken

Or, perhaps, all were kept,

But always intended

For someone else.

She read them like a thief of hearts,

These names and places she never knew,

Each stolen secret, a transfixed reality,

Little lies that only her heart knew of.

 

This one, from Gibraltar, spoke of a honeymoon

The one with the perfumed paper, from Paris,

Of the loss of innocence,

This one from Geneva, with the stunning photograph,

Spoke of love reunited,

This one from India, the Holi, the Festival of Colour,

So vivid, the only colour photograph and

How she loved the message of joy-

 

Every destination, every postal stamp,

All these cities where love grew,

Or perhaps withered,

She knew them all by rote

Although she had never been,

Airlines had never called her seat

Ships porters had never held her luggage,

Subway trains never passed her by In the middle of a kiss

The time schedule over run by the romantic urgency

 

The earthly completion of her travels gained no notice

Barely a whisper

On the boards of time,

The pall bearers were hired,

No tears were shed

Now her journey is beginning,

Her soul is free to explore where she could never go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I found this article this morning while surfing the dreaded but unavoidable Facebook and it struck a chord with me. I remember the nights  directly after Obama won his first term as President. I was in Stockholm and everywhere there was a sense of enormous relief. Not only did it mean the imminent departure of Bush and Cheney, but we all wanted to believe it would bring about changes the likes of which we hadn’t seen for some time. The types of changes that we had been longing for, the types of changes that people were fighting and dying for. A government,  with a considerable amount of power, might turn back  to diplomacy as the first course of action. A government that might actually keep its promises, closing gitmo, ending the illegal and immoral wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. A government that finally would repair perhaps the biggest wrong in the 20th century, and force Israel to return to its 1967 borders, one that would force Israel to rethink the nakba and allow the Palestinian refugees to return to their homes. A government that would free its political prisoners both those inside their own prisons and those illegally kept in prisons throughout europe. etc etc etc

 

Did we expect too much?   How much IS too much? What do we have the right to expect from our governments and from those who proclaim to be the world leaders?

I would LOVE to hear your thoughts after reading this article..

 

http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2014/10/obama-europe-s-biggestdisappointment.html

 

 

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Egypt opens Rafah border crossing to receive wounded Palestinians – Politics – Egypt – Ahram Online.

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Some people to me are

Translucent, generally the ones I trust most, the ones I want closer,

Blurred, running through life too fast for the casual eye,

Opague, like he was at times,

These are the dangerous ones,

Him racing through his life but

Grandma never knew his silences

Never figured him out

Never wrote a poem or heard a symphony

Or travelled.

The small town she grew up in was the whole world for her

Until.

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