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Dec 09
Friday
Northern Europe, Scene and Heard
Honeymoon Pilgrimage

Dutsi Til Shedra

by Eric Rugani and Nadine Zerbel, of the Shambhala Center in Marseille, France

This is an excerpt of the longer article which can be found in a number of installments on the Shambhala Europe Blog. See below for links to the longer articles.

At the time of the Sakyong and Khandro-la’s wedding celebration in Orissa in 2007, a pilgrimage was organized to visit the sacred Buddhist sites of India. Participating in it deeply inspired us, so last year when we were married at Dechen Choling and were thinking about a meaningful destination for our honeymoon, we decided to visit Kham and Golok, where our lineage originates. Using Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s autobiography: Born in Tibet as our inspirational guidebook, we embarked upon our honeymoon pilgrimage.

Trungpa XII in the center

We landed in Jyekundo (or Yushu by Chinese name), which had been devastated the year before by a terrible earthquake and is now a town of tents between mud and dust. The morning we met our driver, we hoped to possibly have the chance to see the current Trungpa Rinpoche. He surprised us by getting in our car for the whole trip, as he happened to be a close friend of our driver Phuntsok! Unfortunately Trungpa Tulku doesn’t speak any English yet, so we engaged in direct heart-to-heart communication.

On the way to Surmang we witnessed and practiced the “Tsethar” tradition of buying the life of a Yak from their owner, in order to save the animal for the rest of his life from being slaughtered. The Tsethar animals (mostly Yaks or sheep) can be recognized by a colorful ribbon in their ears, and everyone in the area respects the taboo of killing or even stealing such a liberated animal.

Nadine with a nun at Namgyal Tse

The young Trungpa Rinpoche was very generous with his time for us, which was at the same time delicious and extremely embarrassing. We learned that he had come especially for us from one full day’s drive away, from Sertar monastery where he pursues his studies.

Rinpoche was fascinated by the Born in Tibet pictures of Dudtsi Til and its Dorje Kyung Dzong retreat center, as it was drawn by Chogyam Trungpa 50 years earlier, and he spent a long time studying our photo of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. We wanted to find the birthplace of Chogyam Trungpa, but it was too far away for our schedule. Auspiciously, Surmang Khenpo Tsering Gyurme himself went there after we left, placing the 1st stone of a Stupa dedicated to Trungpa at his birthplace.

After some hours we arrived at Namgyal Tse, the main monastery under Trungpa’s guidance as far as size is concerned. Here we realized how much Tibet is changing: hundreds of little grey concrete box houses and blue tents are growing like mushrooms to house Chinese “voluntary” immigrants. It gave us the impression of a swelling human tide.

Click Here To Read More: Shambhala Europe Blog

Sechen Monastery

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