Spirit Grooves Blogs

Published on September 4, 2013

Here I am, back in my little office at home. It was another 12hr drive yesterday, all the way across the top of New York, then three hours through Canada, passing at Port Huron back into Michigan and the U.S. From there, it is just three-and-one-half hours back to our house. I went to bed early last night with visions of white-line fever in my head.

Now in the very early hours I am sorting out not only all my things, but also everything that happened over the last two weeks. There are events I want to blog about, so watch for that. And I have thousands of photographs, right now in the form of digital negatives (raw), but soon to be developed into finished photos. I will post some here.

In fact, I did a ton of photography, Margaret and I not only videoed the entire 10-days of teaching, day by day, but I also spent many mornings photographing the lovely shrine at KTD and some of its various components. In addition, the last three days of the retreat were devoted to all-day practice of the White Tara sadhana, the Bodhisattva of long-life and health, done in honor of our teacher the venerable Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche to celebrate his 90th birthday.

For those three days, I was shooting still photos of just about everything I could manage to get near, and was busy some days from 6 AM until around 5 PM doing photos, a long day. Altogether I shot almost 3,000 photographs. Now I have to develop them all, digitally speaking!

On the day of Rinpoche's birthday party there were more than 500 people present, so it was shoulder-to-shoulder for a while and very hot (and sweaty) for those of us with cameras trying to document it all.

Typically I was up around 2:30 AM or at least awake. Sometimes I was able to fall back asleep, but otherwise I was up and wandering around the halls or sitting in the library writing. Around 6 AM most days, Margaret and I would bundle up (when it was cold) and walk down the back side of the mountain until we reached the first flat plain, a place I believe called McDonald's farm, but I might be confusing that with the old kid's farm song. Going down was so steep that we got shin splints the first day or two. Coming back up was, well, very slow indeed. But it was good exercise, especially considering that we would be spending many hours each day sitting on a cushion.

So much happened, so many different threads woven together into the total experience of the entire time spent at KTD Monastery. Some of these threads deserve detailing, like the incredible healer that was there, or the herbalist hermit that I connected with, or the wonderful reincarnate lama (tulku) Lodro Nyima Rinpoche, the 9th incarnation of this remarkable lama. And of course, our teacher, the venerable Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche, just as vital for us as ever into his 90th year.
And there is more aside from the above. I will see what I can do about sharing this, so please bear with me.

[The above is the right hand of the large White Tara statue. White Tara has seven eyes, the normal two, a third eye, and eyes in the center of both hands and feet. The idea is that she is watching over us, with all eyes open.]