Photo of the Week
Photo Title


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    [post_date] => 2009-07-22 00:00:00
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hey family and friends! this is a photo yak from sarah and david. ok. cool!

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Identity in Exile, Summer 2009

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photo yak!

Sarah Fennel,Identity in Exile, Summer 2009

Description

hey family and friends! this is a photo yak from sarah and david. ok. cool!

Posted On

07/22/09

Author

Sarah Fennel

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    [post_date] => 2009-07-22 00:00:00
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Greetings Identity in Exile Parents and Friends,

I am writing this yak yak from a cyber cafe in Manali, a small hillstation city popular with Indian tourists. It's lush and green here (and densely populated), all a big shift from the last few weeks of our lives up on the high and dry Tibetan plateau. As many of you already know, we decided as a group to shift our trekking itinerary a bit, ending several days early and re-routing to a small, but famous monastery town called Tabo. The basic reason for re-routing the trek was to allow for more cultural interactions with Tibetan people and to give more time for ISP work in Dharamsala, both of which our students have really been craving.

Tabo was beautiful, home to one of the oldest existing Buddhist monasteries in South Asia, dating back to 992 AD. The artwork there is from a now-extinct Kashmiri style of painting that I had personally never seen before. We camped in Tabo for two days, continuing our Tibetan language lessons, as well as doing a half-day interactive "Life of the Buddha" lesson as well as a day hike. We enjoyed our last days in tents before hitting the road early yesterday for Manali. It's about 10 am right now and we're again hitting the road, this time bound for Bir, a Tibetan refugee community about 45 minutes outside of Dharamsala. Due to our large student interest in Buddhism, we will be spending 3 nights at a place called Deer Park, a Buddhist center set up for westerners, where they have arranged an introductory program for us. Here's the link to their site: http://deerpark.in/

On saturday morning we will be shifting to Dharamsala. Expect more yak yaks, emails and phone calls then. Now that we are back in civilization, we are really prioritizing students contacting home regularly. Thank you for your patience over the last couple of weeks of less frequent contact.

And please know that everyone is happy and healthy!

Best regards,

Bryan, Debi and Tashi

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Identity in Exile, Summer 2009

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An Update!

Bryan Newman,Identity in Exile, Summer 2009

Description

Greetings Identity in Exile Parents and Friends, I am writing this yak yak from a cyber cafe in Manali, a small hillstation city popular with Indian tourists. It’s lush and green here (and densely populated), all a big shift from the last few weeks of our lives up on the high and dry Tibetan plateau. […]

Posted On

07/22/09

Author

Bryan Newman

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    [post_date] => 2009-07-21 00:00:00
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After a week of trekking through the Himalayas, it's safe to say that we're all pretty ecstatic to take showers with running water. Aspainfully rewarding as the trek was, it's so exciting to finally be back in a city filled with people, non-compost toilets,and a fast-paced sense of time. Tomorrow we leave for an 8-9 hour public bus ride to Bir where we will be stayingat a Buddhist retreatin hopes to gain more insight toa Buddhist lifestyle (and see monks and nuns debate)!

Namaste!

[post_title] => Ending the Trek [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => ending-the-trek [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2009-07-21 00:00:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=50698 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 405 [name] => Identity in Exile, Summer 2009 [slug] => identity-in-exile-summer-2009 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 405 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 249 [count] => 55 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 25.1 [cat_ID] => 405 [category_count] => 55 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Identity in Exile, Summer 2009 [category_nicename] => identity-in-exile-summer-2009 [category_parent] => 249 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2009/identity-in-exile-summer-2009/ ) ) [category_links] => Identity in Exile, Summer 2009 )

Identity in Exile, Summer 2009

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Ending the Trek

Elyna Grapstein, Andrew Longhi, Jamie Theophilos,Identity in Exile, Summer 2009

Description

After a week of trekking through the Himalayas, it’s safe to say that we’re all pretty ecstatic to take showers with running water. Aspainfully rewarding as the trek was, it’s so exciting to finally be back in a city filled with people, non-compost toilets,and a fast-paced sense of time. Tomorrow we leave for an 8-9 […]

Posted On

07/21/09

Author

Elyna Grapstein, Andrew Longhi, Jamie Theophilos

WP_Post Object
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    [post_author] => 39
    [post_date] => 2009-07-21 00:00:00
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So right now we're in Manali. A few of us just had supper (veg chow mein for Carly and me). While we were waiting for our food a huge crowd started gathering outside, around blue-shirt-man and a couple policemen. One policeman was holding blue-shirt-man a little roughly, but mostlyhe and some of the crowd seemed to be doing a lot of pointing and explaining. Some older monks stood apart from the crowd, gossiping. The whole thing lasted about 15 minutes, when blue-shirt-man and his friends walked off and so did the policemen. The crowd dissipated. I still have no clue what the argument was about, but I kind of assumed drugs or disturbing the peace.

I'm really not enjoying the hour or two we've spent back in an urban area. People here stare and beg and frown and I never forget for a second that I'm a tourist. In Stok and Tabo and while trekking, it was so different. I felt like I was actually kind of understanding how people there really live. Here people don't seem willing to let me into their lives. I'm hoping Dharamsala (sp?) is different.

The trek had its ups and downs, but I mostly really enjoyed it. One of my favorite mornings was the one where I woke up feeling terrible. Then I walked with Bryan and Jamie and Andrew E.for a while. Bryan was explaining a bunch of stuff about Buddhism, mostly about how Buddhism sees self. Every time we've discussed Buddhism on this trip, no matter how I was feeling, I'm just overcome with this all-consuming peace. It just makes so much sense, and it makes even more sense the more I learn about it. After a couple of minutes of trekking along with my head churning from this new information, I took up Andrew E. on his offer to explain quantum physics. We talked for aboutan hour and a half. My head hurt so badly by the end, but I learned that the scientific community has agreed upon the fact that parallel universes exist. Seriously.

I'm really excited to go to Dharamsala and start my ISP. Still not entirely sure what I'm doing, but definitely something Buddhism. Bryan said I might be able to do a 3-day meditation retreat, which I would absolutely love. And I'm hoping to follow around/chat witha nun who speaks a little English.

I wish everyone could visit India sometime. It's so, so different from anything I've ever known.

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Identity in Exile, Summer 2009

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Manali

Lynx Mitchell,Identity in Exile, Summer 2009

Description

So right now we’re in Manali. A few of us just had supper (veg chow mein for Carly and me). While we were waiting for our food a huge crowd started gathering outside, around blue-shirt-man and a couple policemen. One policeman was holding blue-shirt-man a little roughly, but mostlyhe and some of the crowd seemed […]

Posted On

07/21/09

Author

Lynx Mitchell

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    [post_date] => 2009-07-15 00:00:00
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    [post_content] => 

Greetings Exile Program Parents and Friends,

Update via satellite phone check-in, July 15 9:00am MST/8:30pm India Time:

"The group finished an incredibly long day of trekking today - 9 challenging hours on trail! We've reached Dhangkar village and will be camping beside a nearby lake. It's beautiful here, less harsh than the environment in Ladakh and there are more local people along this route than the route we took last year. Students are really hanging in there, though the trek is definitely more challenging than most of them anticipated. We'll be taking a rest day tomorrow and will be back on trail the day after. All is well, health is generally good and spirits are high!"

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Identity in Exile, Summer 2009

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Day 3 of the Trek – Update from the Field

Ryan Koupal, Program Director,Identity in Exile, Summer 2009

Description

Greetings Exile Program Parents and Friends, Update via satellite phone check-in, July 15 9:00am MST/8:30pm India Time: "The group finished an incredibly long day of trekking today – 9 challenging hours on trail! We’ve reached Dhangkar village and will be camping beside a nearby lake. It’s beautiful here, less harsh than the environment in Ladakh […]

Posted On

07/15/09

Author

Ryan Koupal, Program Director

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    [post_date] => 2009-07-11 00:00:00
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Triple Yak Attack!:

1: We saw a Yak Yak.

2: David Yak Yakked

3: We posted a Yak Yak

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Identity in Exile, Summer 2009

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Foto Yak/ Triple yak attackt

David Johnson,Identity in Exile, Summer 2009

Description

Triple Yak Attack!: 1: We saw a Yak Yak. 2: David Yak Yakked 3: We posted a Yak Yak

Posted On

07/11/09

Author

David Johnson

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    [post_date] => 2009-07-11 00:00:00
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I honestly would love to explain how I felt as we entered the same room as the Dalai Lama, and how I feel now after such an experience; but I don't think any words I choose could portray or recreate such an emotion. But I'll do my best...

Waiting to enter the room was both thrilling and nerve-wrecking. Feeling faint, nervous, and excited all at the same time.

But the moment we entered the room, every fear and any bit of anxiousness thatwas felt evaporated into the Kaza air. His Holiness' smiling face and contageous laugh made for a relaxed environment, although his recognizability made me feel star-struck.

He spoke of the Buddhist lifestyle, and preached compassion, forgiveness, and respect. Of course, he said it a bit more eloquently than I just did.

While I cannot repeat what His Holiness said, or recreate the feeling I experienced, I can say that all of us are incredibly greatful to have had such an opportunity.

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Identity in Exile, Summer 2009

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Meeting His Holiness

Elyna Grapstein,Identity in Exile, Summer 2009

Description

I honestly would love to explain how I felt as we entered the same room as the Dalai Lama, and how I feel now after such an experience; but I don’t think any words I choose could portray or recreate such an emotion. But I’ll do my best… Waiting to enter the room was both […]

Posted On

07/11/09

Author

Elyna Grapstein

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    [post_date] => 2009-07-11 00:00:00
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I stood first in line ready to enter the resting place of one of the most amazing people (livliest, amiable, scholarly....) I will ever meet. Up the marble stairs a balcony overlooking the Kaza mountain range. With a scarf laid across my arms (the traditional sign of welcome in Tibet) and a set of monk beads clenched tightly in my hands (folded in prayer), the bodyguard finally signalled us to enter. A European couple finished their audience, commotion ensued among the directors. It seemed each one had a unique direction for us. I nervously kept asking if I should remove my hiking boots but the head secretary pulled me into the inner chamber from the arm. There he was. The man that headed the only resistence to a massive genocide and perhaps the most well known spirtual leader in the world. I literally felt my entire body shudder when he looked into my very being with eyes as dark and shiny as those of the village river bed. He extended a completely unclothed arm and guestured for me to shake his hand. As if our hands had opposite charges (and this wasn't the first time I felt that) I extended my right hand to meet his. He removed the scarf, brought it up to his lips, and placed is around my shoulders. Nervously I bowed my head and he pointed to the seat directly left of his modest throne. Once we were all settled we asked three questions. The first was a deep philosophical concerning the difference betweeen perspective and reality. With the aid ofa translator with a rather noticible snake bite on his cheek, His Holiness dedicated over 10 minutes of his time to describe the three conditions necesary for an object to be real: see, think, and discuss. Next we asked what three words could describe His Holiness. He humbly responded "Normal Human Being" and "Simple Tibetan Monk." He explained it is critical to debate as such (our final question as well) in order to share humanity with your opponent and end cross-cultural conflict. We must give up our secondary identity, such as race, religion, or nationality,for this practice to be successful. Finally he said "although you can cannot make a difference in the world, you still must contribute to a greater movement of change." Mind you, I was sitting right next to him so we locked eyes and swapped smiles many times, but I was completely bewildered when he looked right at me and said "you are the future" (hello, Scretary of State!) followed by a point. Afterwards we took a picture with the monk. He clenched my hand very tightly, (my second experience with charge from the monk), and inspected my prayer beads. Finally we said our thanks you for the generous 37 minute session (each second is precious to such an esteemed political and religious leader, mind you) and bowed out.

Earlier he went into depth about the cultural genocide going on in China. He folded his hands in prayer, humbly asking for us to promote awareness on this crisis. I plan to do so accordingly and with great pleasure.

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Identity in Exile, Summer 2009

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Meeting with HH the Dalai Lama

Andrew Longhi,Identity in Exile, Summer 2009

Description

I stood first in line ready to enter the resting place of one of the most amazing people (livliest, amiable, scholarly….) I will ever meet. Up the marble stairs a balcony overlooking the Kaza mountain range. With a scarf laid across my arms (the traditional sign of welcome in Tibet) and a set of monk […]

Posted On

07/11/09

Author

Andrew Longhi

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    [post_date] => 2009-07-10 00:00:00
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    [post_content] => This morning, we got the rare opportunity to attend one of the teachings of His Holiness, The Dalai Lama. It was a very humbling experience to jst be in the same room with the man who has done so much for his people. There he sat on his throne, in an absolutely beautiful monastary, rocking back and forth, making jokes and speaking about the "two truths"--I was in awe.
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Identity in Exile, Summer 2009

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HIS HOLINESS

Kendra Dennis,Identity in Exile, Summer 2009

Description

This morning, we got the rare opportunity to attend one of the teachings of His Holiness, The Dalai Lama. It was a very humbling experience to jst be in the same room with the man who has done so much for his people. There he sat on his throne, in an absolutely beautiful monastary, rocking […]

Posted On

07/10/09

Author

Kendra Dennis

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2009-07-10 00:00:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00
    [post_content] => 

Jule (that means hello, goodbye, thank you, basically everything)! So we're in Kaza right now. Igot up early and took a freezing cold shower this morning, but with a showerhead, which was exciting. Then we had breakfast in the guest house's restaurant, banana porridge - which was the best oatmeal-type-thing I've had in my entire life. The Dalai Lama is speaking in Kaza for two days, which is why we're here. So after breakfast we gathered up and went to the huge monastery where the Dalai Lama was speaking. His teachings are especially special here because he's speaking at a monastery that's not part of his sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Carly and I had to go to the bathroom, so we got up as discretely as two Westerners could and walked up the monastery steps. The line was long, and two old women cut us because we weren't aggresive enough. But we eventually got in. I have to say, I'm starting to prefer squat toilets over normal ones; life's going to be hard once I get back to the states.

My homestay was amazing. We stayed in a small village calledStok for 4 nights and 3 days, each student with their own family. My family consisted of an older mother and father, two sisters, 3 brothers (only 2 of whom I got to see- the other one's a soldier), and then the wife and two children of the brother who still lives in the house. I got to milk the cow twice, which is something I've always wanted to do. I wasn't expecting it to be easy, exactly, but it was much more difficult than I imagined.When Imilked, thislittle stream of milk dribbled into the pail, but when my host mom went at it, she couldsquirt water from two teats atonce with such force that sometimes themilk splashedout of the bucket onto her skirt.And I alsohelped with sweeping, cooking, weeding in the fields, etc. One of the sisters and the brother who was home all the time spoke pretty good English, so it wasn't too hard to communicate. Iloved being part of their simple life.

My family will be very suprised to learn all the foods I've tried and now like- most notably chai and omlettes. Chai with milk and sugar is one of the most delicious things I've ever tasted. I've had several cups almost every day. I also like a lot of stuff I can't remember the names of. However, I do know the names of all the ppl in my group, which is a big deal for me.

In Leh, I spent two days searching for a nearby temple or monastery I could visit. Finally I found a large temple, hidden right in the center of town. I couldn't remember whether you're supposed to walk clockwise or counterclockwise, so I paused at the door for a minute, trying to gauge what the other temple-goers were doing.A couple men were doing prostrations to the right of the door. So I figured counterclockwise was the way to go. So I walked counterclockwise halfway around the temple. A monk came in with some burning juniper, and he was looking at me all funny. The prostraters also were looking with interest in my direction. I sighed and walked clockwise, stopping at each holy image to bow. I felt very white and foolish, but there was something very holy in the experience, too.

I'm gonna go now. I probably won't write again until after the trek, but you never know.

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Identity in Exile, Summer 2009

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Lynx from Kaza

Lynx,Identity in Exile, Summer 2009

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Jule (that means hello, goodbye, thank you, basically everything)! So we’re in Kaza right now. Igot up early and took a freezing cold shower this morning, but with a showerhead, which was exciting. Then we had breakfast in the guest house’s restaurant, banana porridge – which was the best oatmeal-type-thing I’ve had in my entire […]

Posted On

07/10/09

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Lynx

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