Sunday, December 26, 2010

Following Ganesh

Thanks to my mom, I just met cultural anthropologist and photographer Stephen Huyler at a recent screening of his film Sonabai (see film excerpt here) during my Christmas vacation in Maine. 

It's perfect how it happened, and it's another synchronistic story of how life works for me.

Several years back, my mom heard Huyler speak about his work with women artists in India and thought that I should meet him because of my experience living in Nepal's Hindu culture. She lives in Maine, and I'm based in the West Coast, so it didn't seem possible at the time.

Earlier this year, Mom saw an exotic looking Toyota Prius in a beach parking lot on the Maine coast. It had a unique paint job with a reddish paisley design--the kind you'd see on a Kashmir shawl--with a dancing Ganesh on one of the passenger doors and a small Ganesh statue mounted on the hood. 

Ganesh Hood Ornament. Brilliant!!!!

She gazed to the shoreline where she thought she saw Stephen Huyler relaxing with what looked like family members. She asked a woman near the car if Stephen was really on the beach. The woman said yes and that it was ok to say hello.  Mom didn't want to bother him, so she returned to her car and drove away.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Finding Peace In India

I am a world traveler and seeker of holy and soul stirring moments. I have been overpowered by unexplainable feelings of ecstasy and peace in the presence of spiritual masters many times during the course of my global jaunts, from Oregon to Nepal with many stops in between.

In January of 2009, I deepened my exploration for inner peace when I attended the teachings of the Karmapa, the supreme leader of one of the major lineages of Tibetan Buddhism. The teachings were at the ancient Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya, India where the Buddha found enlightenment. King Ashoka commissioned the towering stone temple in the 3rd century B.C. in honor of this most auspicious event.

It was a unique and authentic experience with few western tourists about. I spent five days sitting as an observer in wafting clouds of incense while watching thousands of Buddhist monks and nuns from 5 to 80 years old, dressed in fiery orange and saffron robes. They meditated and chanted in Sanskrit all hours of the day.