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Tibet Cultural, Group "A", Summer 2007


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Hello to all!

We have arrived at our half-way point, and today we leave the Tibetan Autonomous Region and fly to Eastern Tibet to begin the second leg of our journey. Amazing!

Our three days in Lhasa have flown by, after our trek starting out from the beautiful medicinal hot springs of Tidrum Nunnery. We returned to Lhasa one day earlier than planned, due to a minor foot injury that needed medical attention - all is well now, and our patient is on the mend!

It is has been a poignant last few days here in Lhasa, the place everyone has come to call "home". We continue to meet with foreign scholars and NGOs, learning about such diverse topics as Tibetan midwifery and healthcare, and the Lhasa modern art movement.

The students have been busy working on their Independent Study Projects, and already projects are underway on Tibetan music, religion, meditation, hagiography, education, market culture, and more ... !

Today we fly from Lhasa to Lanzhou, and begin a series of bus journeys into the heart of Kham. Arriving at Shechen Orphanage School, we will begin our service project and monastery stay. A Dragons colleage is the co-founder of the Shechen Orphange, and we are all very excited to meet the forty children waiting for us!

As our journey continues, our internet access will be limited - although our students will have access to public phones, and our instructors will always be in reachable through the Boulder office on our mobile phones.

We all send our warmest greetings from Lhasa to our friends and family all over the world!

Jackie, Bryan, Kristin, Alex, Betsy, Tim, Brad, Eloise, Rose, Gabby, Anna, Brent, Phil, Charlie, Mike & Oliver

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Tibet Cultural, Group "A", Summer 2007

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TAR to Kham !

Jackie Dennis,Tibet Cultural, Group "A", Summer 2007

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Hello to all! We have arrived at our half-way point, and today we leave the Tibetan Autonomous Region and fly to Eastern Tibet to begin the second leg of our journey. Amazing! Our three days in Lhasa have flown by, after our trek starting out from the beautiful medicinal hot springs of Tidrum Nunnery. We […]

Posted On

07/17/07

Author

Jackie Dennis

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The monsoon season has started in Tibet, today it rained alot.

Bradley: The lighting an thunder were verascious. We sought cover in a lonely pool hall next to the barkhor. Thankfully....

Rosie: There was a pool table all ready for us. So we started playing and attracted the attention of many tibetan men.

Bradley: Most of the old men came to make fun of Rosie's shoes, and admire my incredible pool prowess. Even the children were in amazement.

Rosie: Bradley thinks he's famous now. And the children left us in their wet school uniforms, with stories to tell their grandchildren. We challeneged 2 kids to pool, and beat them!

Bradley: Luckily I have strayed off schisomiosis, and have somehow managed to containe the inner workings of my stomaach and intestines.

Rosie: On a more relevant note we saw a tibetan doctor at the mensecan, an outpatient clinic of tibetan herbal medicinal practice. We then visited an authentic thangkah studio. Bradley was very impressed with the tibetan medical history, and has decided to start his practice here in lhasa. He has decided to give up all hopes of a comfortable life, and to become a buddhist.

Bradley: I am very excited about our trip to tridrum nunnery. There are hot springs there we can relax in. I am a little apprehensive about travelling at 18000 feet, but i'm sure I cna pawn off the majority of my things I do not wish to carry on Rosie. I'm also a little nervous about alttitude sickness. But I'm sure our incredibly competant leaders will be able to expertly manage all unpredictable predicaments.

Rosie: And we're done!

P.S Bradley has typed almost 0 of this and has only been consulted for creative approval...... ..gblie.

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Tibet Cultural, Group "A", Summer 2007

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the eve of 1800 ft

Bradley and Rosie,Tibet Cultural, Group "A", Summer 2007

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The monsoon season has started in Tibet, today it rained alot. Bradley: The lighting an thunder were verascious. We sought cover in a lonely pool hall next to the barkhor. Thankfully…. Rosie: There was a pool table all ready for us. So we started playing and attracted the attention of many tibetan men. Bradley: Most […]

Posted On

07/10/07

Author

Bradley and Rosie

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good evening!

i am writing this yak feeling kilos lighter from the dirt and sun and sweat now showered off from the past 5 days out of lhasa and in the tibetan heartland. we had a fantastic first excursion out to some of the richest "power places" on the plateau. it's a bit difficult to describe the intensity of the valleys we've been sleeping in and hiking through for the past few days; not only are they visually stunning, they have a powerful energetic quality that i've never quite felt in any other place. these places have been worshiped and been the center of thousands of pilgrimages over the centuries. we've traveled through sand dunes and arid hills, and these lush, penetrating valleys are a stark contrast to the barren landscape all around. each of these special valleys are marked with particular natural features unique to the area - vital streams carving through soft grassy moguls, piercing rock outcroppings baking under the hot summer sun, and elaborate cave systems galore - the main attraction of the past few days for us.

we traveled first to the drak yangdzong caves which are one of the principle power sites of guru rinpoche, the famous tibetan tantric master responsible for taming the ancient and earthly demons to pave the way for buddhism. drak yangdzong remains one of my favorite places in the world, and each day i reflect on how fortunate i am to have visited these caves multiple times. there is truly something extraordinary about them: we had to climb a 100 foot sandalwood ladder to reach the main opening, and then we pulled ourselves through narrow channels on ancient yak ropes. our headlamps as our beacons, if you looked closely at the rock it was splattered with smooth, circular crystalline formations. the passageways eventually opened up into a large womb-like cave where we spent some time exploring and meditating in. we then retraced our route through this veritable birth canal and were essentially re-birthed back out into the sunlight after what seemed like an ethereal eternity inside the dark, dank chamber. for those at home reading this already gripping the phone to call your loved ones to make sure we're safe, i assure you that we are. i was so proud of every one's courage; it was not only a difficult climb up to the caves, but this experience opened up a lot for everyone and we all faced our demons with grounded clarity that day. we were scared of heights and close quarters and the dark, but we all made it out stronger and proud of our accomplishments.

we then traveled to the dzong gompo caves, a second grouping of caves down the valley from drak yangdzong. these caves were more spacious and we bore witness to a deep crystal clear lake inside one of the openings. we shimmied up slick slides on similar yak leather ropes and marveled at all the mythic stories behind the unique rock formations, explained to us by humble monks in pants clambering alongside us.

these sites were so amazing, and our campsites even more welcoming after long days of hiking and climbing around in the hot sun and cool cavs. we found some wonderful nooks to set up our tents and we all slept soundly after all we faced those first two days.

after exploring the drakyul valley, we boarded a tractor and bounced along through dry sand dunes and up into the nearby, equally lush chimphu valley. we stayed there the last two nights, sleeping under myriad strands of prayer flags, and explored the hermitages scattered around this beautiful natural amphitheatre. it's really a living retreat site with many practitioners who have been meditating there for years and years.

well, it's very late and i must get to bed. i have been so impressed with everyone so far, with our intimate discussions and emotional openness, with our physical perseverance and our total curiosity undiminished by tired days. i'm sure folks will begin posing reflections in the next few days before we head out of the city again and begin our trek.

love,

kristin

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Tibet Cultural, Group "A", Summer 2007

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reborn again!

kristin,Tibet Cultural, Group "A", Summer 2007

Description

good evening! i am writing this yak feeling kilos lighter from the dirt and sun and sweat now showered off from the past 5 days out of lhasa and in the tibetan heartland. we had a fantastic first excursion out to some of the richest "power places" on the plateau. it’s a bit difficult to […]

Posted On

07/9/07

Author

kristin

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it has been four days since we arrived in lhasa and already our group is seasoned in the art of bargaining, practicing their tibetan with local merchants, and navigating the alleys and streets with apparent ease. of course there is much that courses under the seemingly ordered surface of this city, and i admire the subtlety and sensitivity everyone is observing this place with. we have been having daily yoga, meditation, and language sessions in the mornings, and afternoons are full of exploring the sites and other introduction to buddhism classes. again, the group is sharp in intellect and i'm so impressed by all the questions and discussions we have been having. it is never a dull moment!

lhasa has been treating us well, but i think i can speak for all of us when i say that we're so excited to get out of the madness and into the mountains. tomorrow morning we will depart for the magical and mysterious drak yangdzong caves. we will be camping in a beautiful valley below the hidden caves and then spend the next two days hiking up and navigating these majestic sacred cave complexes. guru rinpoche, the tantric master who is credited for spreading buddhism in tibet, meditated in these caves for years, and we will pass through the narrow tunnels as thousands of pilgrims have done before us. they're worn from bodies slithering through, and smooth from layer upon layer of yak butter rubbed into the rock. the main cave which we will visit the day after tomorrow is likened to a womb, and the tunnel we must climb out a second, conscious chance at the birthing process! after that, we will travel to samye monastery, the first monastery built in tibet (with the help of guru rinpoche). it is a beautiful living mandala in the heart of dry sand dunes swept up below high mountains. this time of year the mustard flowers are in bloom, and we'll walk through fields of bright yellow plants, an incredible contrast against clear blue skies dotted with puffy white clouds.

needless to say, we'll be out of e-mail range for the next five days so don't despair at the lack of yaks! we'll write promptly upon our return with myriad stories to share of our first tibetan adventure!

hope all is well on the homefront. i'm off to pack!

kristin

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Tibet Cultural, Group "A", Summer 2007

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out into the countryside

kristin,Tibet Cultural, Group "A", Summer 2007

Description

it has been four days since we arrived in lhasa and already our group is seasoned in the art of bargaining, practicing their tibetan with local merchants, and navigating the alleys and streets with apparent ease. of course there is much that courses under the seemingly ordered surface of this city, and i admire the […]

Posted On

07/3/07

Author

kristin

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    [post_date] => 2007-06-30 00:00:00
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it's 9:00 am in gorgeous, sun-drenched lhasa, and we're getting ready for our first full day in tibet. last nite we gathered together as a group on the roof of the flora (our nepali-run hotel here) and held a brief ceremony to mark the true beginning of our pilgrimage to the tibetan plateau. under the full moon (an especially auspicious sign) we shared our hopes and fears for the trip and lit incense and candles as a way to mark the moment. by the time we were finished (around 10 pm) everyone was completely exhausted. the few of us with mild altitude headaches were given lots of water to drink and with the magic of some ibuprofen, everyone seems to be doing really well today.

we started this morning with our first yoga and meditation classes, again on the roof of the flora. a group of young tibetan men and women who were tiling the roof next door to us stopped and pretty much stared at us for the entire hour! at the moment, a few folks are off to grab breakfast for the group and then we're starting our language lessons this morning over the meal. this afternoon we'll be visiting the jokhang temple in the heart of lhasa, the literal heart of the tibetan universe. the students were given postcards yesterday, each with a different buddhist deity on the front. over the next few weeks, and starting today in the jokhang, they'll be looking out for these deities in the frescoes and artwork of the monasteries we'll be visiting. eventually, they will each be making a brief presentation on that deity to the entire group.

i am so excited for this group. we've got a great group dynamic and everyone's been asking some really amazing and intricate questions about what we've been experiencing. for example, on the bus from the airport to the hotel, brent initiated a really fascinating conversation about the differences between hindu and buddhist philosophy. i feel really lucky to be around such sharp minds as we have in this group!

so again, we're all healthy and happy in our new lhasa home, and more yak yaks will be coming shortly!

-bryan

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Tibet Cultural, Group "A", Summer 2007

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lhasa, lhasa, lhasa!!!

bryan newman,Tibet Cultural, Group "A", Summer 2007

Description

it’s 9:00 am in gorgeous, sun-drenched lhasa, and we’re getting ready for our first full day in tibet. last nite we gathered together as a group on the roof of the flora (our nepali-run hotel here) and held a brief ceremony to mark the true beginning of our pilgrimage to the tibetan plateau. under the […]

Posted On

06/30/07

Author

bryan newman

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Following is a sample itinerary for Dragons' Tibet Cultural Summer Program 2007-2008. Our sample itineraries are based on past courses; in order to meet instructor team goals, as well as the goals and interests of particular student groups, future itineraries are subject to change. Please keep an eye on the course's Yak board for additional itinerary-related postings and updates.


Week One:
Orientation in L.A.; layover in Chengdu; arrive Lhasa: visit sacred Tibetan monuments; discover the city on bike; meet with traditional healers at the Mentsekhang Tibetan Hospital; meet with aid groups and scholars; meet with high lamas, oracles, accomplished artists, and graduate students

Weeks Two - Three:
Travel by Landcruiser, bus and foot to Drigung Monastery and sky-burial site; rugged 5-day trek to Terdrom Nunnery and hot springs. Visit the sacred, high lake of Namtso; camp along the shore and explore nearby hermitage and nomadic communities; explore the Nyen Chen Thang Lha Mountain Range. Return to Lhasa to continue with Independent Study Projects.

Week Four:
Travel to Ganden Monastery: hike khora route encircling the monastery; prepare for 5-day trek to Samye Monastery; explore nearby meditation retreat caves at Chimpu. Fly to Xining, Qinghai Province; Chengdu, Sichuan Province; or Zhongdian, Yunnan Province.

Week Five:
Challenging and rough overland transport into Amdo / Kham: camp at traditional Tibetan horse festival; internships and independent study projects; learn about monastic reconstruction and preservation of traditional arts and architecture; numerous opportunities for day hikes

Week Six:
Nomadic home-stay and service learning in monastic Tibetan community; religious teaching and in-depth exploration of Tibetan Buddhism and the Tibetan political situation; return to Chengdu, return flight to U.S.

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Tibet Cultural, Group "A", Summer 2007

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Tibet Cultural: Sample Itinerary 2007-2008

Dragons Administration,Tibet Cultural, Group "A", Summer 2007

Description

Following is a sample itinerary for Dragons’ Tibet Cultural Summer Program 2007-2008. Our sample itineraries are based on past courses; in order to meet instructor team goals, as well as the goals and interests of particular student groups, future itineraries are subject to change. Please keep an eye on the course’s Yak board for additional […]

Posted On

01/1/07

Author

Dragons Administration