K U Z U Z A N G B O L A . . ..


There must be a reasoning for exploring this place. And for me, there is – and it’s one that stretches back decades. I’ll not get too far into it here, in terms of the specifics, because over course of the days, there will be revealing that will come back to that. And I’m pretty sure that it will be that, over days — since I can’t hope for any consistent access to place. Even this has been waiting for days to send across the wires.

But the traveling over the passage of the last number of years, for me, has been consistently of a spiritual wander. And wonder. And finding some truth in myself, and finding some truth in what I find and see in the world.

We are all struggling to find the truth. And for me, it’s about being truthful. Literally: truth full. And it’s hard to know where the truth is. But it’s best to start with the simple truth of one self.

And trust me, I’m not presuming to say that I’ve found it, I’m merely looking for it. What truth in me, what truth in others? And I’m more serene in what I might find, and looser in what expectations of have of others in any of this. But my expecting, of my self, is growing steeper and looking harder in the self of who I am, and what that means for me. And for what I do for others.

So Bhutan — a place that I’d read about more than 35 years ago, now, for me, is coming to life. I’ve been out in Mongolia; and I’ve traveled some of Tibet. And in neither place, did I get out there far enough to find myself thoroughly removed from my self and its distractions — and now more focused on seeing things clearer. To retreat, to refuge, to seeing, to exploration. To beauty. To work.

And what might be seen as the real clarifying force here, for me, is the people. And what brightness they bring to their living.

So in connecting with my tour guide, Tsewang Nidup, the person that I’d connected with earlier about coming here, along with members of his family, our exploration began with deciding, really, what this would be about — this 13 days; what could be retained to the planning, and what might be tossed out. And it wasn’t only about me, but my traveling companion — and what she was interested in.

Straight off, then, beginning the run from the airport we found this simple temple. And any temple is always about some kind of remarkable story — some amazing Lama (or teacher) — how this space of meditation, this god house, lhakhang, was created miraculously, by this presence, a magical indwelling. The stories are legendary, and I don’t know what to believe — but believing is the beginning. Any act is about believing. In some thing.

Dungtsi Lhakhang, Paro, Bhutan, built by Dupthop Thangtho Gyelpo, the Iron Bridge Maker had his priorities aligned — starting with a great prayer wheel for turning and turning the hundreds of thousands of prayers that are encased inside, overseen by a monk of relative antiquity.

Then, the path leading to the interior courtyard of the compound — and the structure of an internal column, leading to the upper most tiers.

All, darkened, all seen in the dark lit by a tiny wind up generator light (literally) and all strictly un-photographed, by Bhutan law.

Okay, getting the feel of things and learning more, I realized that I can shoot from the outside in, and I can photograph the sacred remotely — but nothing that might be printed and lain on the floor. And then stepped over.

Imagery, then.

The casement, like so many other compounds, is ringed to link to the sequence of the prayer wheels — which are not only in the entry in the large wheel, but instead, as well, in the thousands of other prayers that ring the temple. Clockwise, turning, you ring your way around, spinning — and the multiplicity of prayers therein, sends the messages of blessings to advance the character of your soul, growing ever forward.

There are other rings there, of sacred things — corridors, symbolic entrances, collections of stones, tiny reliquaries of resplendent deities in clay, arranged like

miniature populations.

Prayer flags, with wood block

imprinted imagery of Tibetan text and carved treasures that act as wind-borne amulets, a breeze the current, to channel the fragrance of blessings ever outward.

Another monk was making dozens of little spirit catchers, for some other ritual, at some other place. And that seems to happen incessantly — bringing the monks in to bless:

your house
your body
your altar
your garden
your children
your problems



I’m sure they work — believing in that.

Finding more, to the notion of breeze, strategy, implantations and care:

Everything good is made by hand – or at least it starts that way. There’s some gesture, some mudra, that’s there at the heart of it, learning all that, too, as a bonus student gesture..

There will be others. I’ll be looking for them, coming to my eye, mindset scene, advancements, found…


warmest | t