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Nepal: Traditions of the Himalayas, Summer 2012


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Last night we stood shoulder to shoulder around a deep well of water, keeping the candles lit with the tightness of our circle. Looking around that circle, I saw so many beautiful faces, full of love and gratitude. I was touched by the depth at which everyone in that circle engaged with the world around them and the heart that they put into all they did and experienced in Nepal. I felt blessed and honored to be part of that circle!

This morning we slept in, had our final yoga class together and ate a late brunch before heading out to the airport. As I write this now, our group has landed in Delhi before heading on to Brussels and on home, where the journey and learning will continue on in all the stories that are coming your way!Thank you all for joining us in this incredible journey!

"...I want to beg you as much as I can, dear friends, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms or books written in a very foriegn tongue. Do not now seek the anwsers, which cannot be given to you now because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps, you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer." - Rainer Maria Rilke

Namaste!

With love from Nepal,

Germaine

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Nepal: Traditions of the Himalayas, Summer 2012

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The Journey Home

Germaine Bartlett-Graff,Nepal: Traditions of the Himalayas, Summer 2012

Description

Last night we stood shoulder to shoulder around a deep well of water, keeping the candles lit with the tightness of our circle. Looking around that circle, I saw so many beautiful faces, full of love and gratitude. I was touched by the depth at which everyone in that circle engaged with the world around […]

Posted On

07/27/12

Author

Germaine Bartlett-Graff

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I leave tomorrow.

Journal Entry Excerpt 07/19/12

"I start walking towards the Golden Temple. It is raining. The streets are half empty. There is some sort of peaceful silence.The streets are wet. They are shining. Without cars or motorcycles the old city of Patan reveals itself. Through small secret streets the true beauty comes out. Little eyes look out from under awnings, tucked in hiding from the rain. One man helps me find the Golden Temple. I enter and pay the tourist fee. Some ceremony is going on. Tourists stand hidden under the side roof of the temple with their cameras. I try to see if I can climb to the second floor. I need peace. I need silence. In that moment all I want to do is pray. I walk down into the temple's open courtyard and i start to walk clockwise, spinning the prayer wheels. I get to the part of the temple that is like a little alter, hidden by a roof: the center of the temple. In front of that structure women are kneeling and lighting candles for the ceremony. In the temple a small boy in white is standing. It looks like he is the one going through the ceremony. Other Nepalis stand by the side and watch. But I kneel under the roof next to those women. I close my eyes and I begin to pray. I feel love and peace around me, I feel security and comfort. I feel happiness. With close eyes I count my mala. I lose the place that I am in. I lose myself from everything. Only three things are with me, just the three words I keep repeating as I move each rose seed of my male: peace, love, happiness. When I get to the end I open my eyes and I see that aroun me nothing has changed. Nothing has changed except for the fact that the boy has moved to another spot. No one is disturbed by my presence. No one is upset, confused, angry. It's like I am not even there. Total acceptance. Total welcoming. Total openness. And then I walk out, with a heart filled with happiness.

What a beautiful culture, what beautiful people, that I, some stranger, can be accepted so openly. In that holy place it does not matter who you are, just that you are there.

I continue to walk in the rain. I choose an unknown path. Through small alleys and dead end courtyards I start to see so much beauty in this city, beauty that I had never seen before. I choose to get lost. And of course, when I take a new and unknown path, in a second I find myself home."

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Best Notes From The Field, Nepal: Traditions of the Himalayas, Summer 2012

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Kushi

Nika Fehmiu,Best Notes From The Field, Nepal: Traditions of the Himalayas, Summer 2012

Description

I leave tomorrow. Journal Entry Excerpt 07/19/12 "I start walking towards the Golden Temple. It is raining. The streets are half empty. There is some sort of peaceful silence.The streets are wet. They are shining. Without cars or motorcycles the old city of Patan reveals itself. Through small secret streets the true beauty comes out. […]

Posted On

07/25/12

Author

Nika Fehmiu

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Om mani padme hung

Homage to the jewel in the lotus

Homage to compassion in the heart.

A vow not to kill, not to steal, not to lie or abuse.

A vow to live harmoniously.

A valley of green, of rice and laughs fades into the white and grey mountains shyly hiding behind the clouds.

A river winds through the land; women and children bathe, a boy dives in to chase his soccer ball down stream.

Pariwaar, family. They care for each other, they love each other. We are all family.

"Durga! Come meet my brother!" "how are you related?" "this is my grandfather's cousins son but we just say brother."

Perfectly browned skin, cheeks stained pink from the sun, faces marked with a permanent smile.

Foreheads painted with a blessing; a blessing of protection, of compassion, of love.

Live all beings equally. Love that mosquito as you love your mother. Love your enemy as you love your friend. Have no enemy.

Golden Buddhas and golden gods towering above cities and plains. Tara, shiva, Vishnu. Prayer flags spreading prayer in the wind. Flowers laid, candles burning. Incense fills the air.

This place has the most beautiful views.

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Nepal: Traditions of the Himalayas, Summer 2012

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Beautiful Views

Denali Tietjen (durga),Nepal: Traditions of the Himalayas, Summer 2012

Description

Om mani padme hung Homage to the jewel in the lotus Homage to compassion in the heart. A vow not to kill, not to steal, not to lie or abuse. A vow to live harmoniously. A valley of green, of rice and laughs fades into the white and grey mountains shyly hiding behind the clouds. […]

Posted On

07/24/12

Author

Denali Tietjen (durga)

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Nepal: Traditions of the Himalayas, Summer 2012

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Goodbye to Patan

Caitlin Cain,Nepal: Traditions of the Himalayas, Summer 2012

Description

Last night was my penultimate night in Patan, and my wonderful homestay family had a going away dinner party of sorts for me. They cooked so many vegetable and rice dishes. My Aama must have been working away all day in the kitchen to prepare such a thoughful meal. My entire homestay family, along with […]

Posted On

07/23/12

Author

Caitlin Cain

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    [post_content] => In essence, I am kind of like Spongebob. Not in the sense that I like spending my days flipping burgers at the Krusty Krab or lolligagging around Bikini Bottom with Patrick, but rather that I am ever expanding and absorbing knowledge. So maybe a more accurate analogy I can use is that my mind is like a sponge. During the school year that sponge is constantly in use, readily absorbing all that I can learn, but when finals are over and the hot summer sun emerges that sponge is left out to dry. That was certainly the case this summer until the moment I landed in Nepal. I feel as if that sponge has been tossed overthe edge of a boat into the open ocean and is trying to absorb all the water, which is clearly a difficult task for a simple sponge.

Ever since our first day at the Boudha Stupa I have been exposed to so much information about religion, the caste system, environmental issues, gender roles, and more. Just walking 20 minutes through Patan every morning to the program house I witness the ritual act of Puja along with locals bargaining for their fruits and vegetables at the market. I try to take this all in as much as possible, yet I must stay alert incase I have to dodge a motorbike racing down the narrow streets. Although the trip isn't quite over yet, I feel that my mind has soaked up all thatit possibly can.

That sponge is still out floating in the vast ocean, but is so filled with water that I feel as though soon it may begin to sink. When I fall asleep at 9pm every night I am not just physically exhausted, but mentally as well. I lay in bed for at least 15 minutes, my mind trying to process all that I have been exposed to during the day, until finally sleep overtakes me. Somehow though, I wake up every morning and walk out my door ready for more. My mind is overwhelmed and exhausted but not ready to quit. As I return home that sponge floating out in the ocean will wash up on a sandy beach somewhere for a much needed rest, but this time it will be different. The sponge won't be dried out by the piercing sun, rather the soft waves will continuously replenish it with knowledge and experiences, both new and old. Although it's not an easy journey, hopefully one day that sponge will once again return to the sea.
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Nepal: Traditions of the Himalayas, Summer 2012, Focus of Inquiry

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Spongebob

Aubrey Suber,Nepal: Traditions of the Himalayas, Summer 2012, Focus of Inquiry

Description

In essence, I am kind of like Spongebob. Not in the sense that I like spending my days flipping burgers at the Krusty Krab or lolligagging around Bikini Bottom with Patrick, but rather that I am ever expanding and absorbing knowledge. So maybe a more accurate analogy I can use is that my mind is […]

Posted On

07/23/12

Author

Aubrey Suber

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Hello everyone!

We've now been in Patan for 9 days and Ill admit that city life is a little hard to get used to. The cars and motorcycles honking and going every which direction is a little overwhelming, but it gets better as the days progress. I also am really enjoying my homestay family. My sisters are very nice and speak amazing English which is really helpful when it comes to my parents who only speak Newari and Nepali. My mother is also an amazing cook and Ive learned a lot from her as she was my ISP mentor for cooking.

Im excited to come home, but it will be bittersweet saying goodbye to everyone that Ive gotten close to. We've relied so much on eachother for emotional support and it will be extremely weird not having them around all the time, but I know that I have made long lasting friendships that are extremely special.

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Nepal: Traditions of the Himalayas, Summer 2012

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City Life

Makenzi Malvey,Nepal: Traditions of the Himalayas, Summer 2012

Description

Hello everyone! We’ve now been in Patan for 9 days and Ill admit that city life is a little hard to get used to. The cars and motorcycles honking and going every which direction is a little overwhelming, but it gets better as the days progress. I also am really enjoying my homestay family. My […]

Posted On

07/23/12

Author

Makenzi Malvey

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Another entry from my journal:

Many people on this trip have mentioned that living here had made them appreciate the luxuries that they have at home. And although I miss my bed, shower, washer etc., I have learned that this trip is not so much about appreciating our Western lifestyle but rather realizing that our lifestlye is simply one of many. And maybe living like we did in village should be appreciated for what it is rather than being compared to this set Western standard that we have been conditioned to view as our prototype for living. To experience Nepal without these constant comparisons is to truly travel. I miss my home and all of the inatimate objects that collectively create a Western lifestyle, but I do not feel "lucky" for having a toilets instead of squatty pottys. Because who is to say one is better than the other? For when I feel that way I'm setting a standard that is not universal. And by doing this, I'm even insinuating that the way I live is better. And I have learned from Nepal, that this is far from true. So everyday, I strip myself of these distinctions and comparisons. I am here to experience, appreciacte and learn. This is why I leave my standards and expectations at home.

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Nepal: Traditions of the Himalayas, Summer 2012

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Standards & Expectations

Emmaline Jones,Nepal: Traditions of the Himalayas, Summer 2012

Description

Another entry from my journal: Many people on this trip have mentioned that living here had made them appreciate the luxuries that they have at home. And although I miss my bed, shower, washer etc., I have learned that this trip is not so much about appreciating our Western lifestyle but rather realizing that our […]

Posted On

07/22/12

Author

Emmaline Jones

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Namaste!

Our course has moved by oh so quickly! The next 6 days of our course are full and this past week students have found a rhythm in the ancient kingdom of Patan.

This week has been filled with getting to know our caring homestay families in Patan and beginning to observe and particpate in the unique culture of the Newari community, the indigenous ethnic group of Kathmandu Valley. Through discussions on caste and ethnicity, environmental issues of Kathmandu Valley, an experiential development lesson, and a visit to Pahupatinath, Nepal's most important hindu temple, students are beginning to grasp the complexities of Nepal's ethnic, ecological and religious diversity.

The personal reflection in our group never ceases to amaze me.Yesterday, for example, in our morning satsang(truth community), the group re-visited the question “why am I here?” and explored how that has changed for them throughout the course. Much emotion and profound realizations of gratitude and self-reflection emerged. Incredible!

Student are also preparing for the expedition phase of our course. Today for example the group organized an outing to see Kutumba, a folk instrumental ensemble from Nepal, committed to the research, preservation and celebration of the diversity that exists in indigenous Nepali music. Tomorrow students will fully enter the expedition phase of the course with a student-led excursion to Swayambunath Stupa. The following few days are filled with Independent Study Project presentations, where students will share their experience and knowledge gained in this last week, and all culminating in organizing the final homestay appreciation party!

Much more to come before the end so stay tuned for more stories from Nepal! Thanks for joining us in our journey.

Be well,

Germaine

[post_title] => Settling Into to City Life [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => settling-into-to-city-life [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2012-07-20 00:00:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=40533 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 299 [name] => Nepal: Traditions of the Himalayas, Summer 2012 [slug] => nepal-traditions-of-the-himalayas-summer-2012 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 299 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 252 [count] => 55 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 15.1 [cat_ID] => 299 [category_count] => 55 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Nepal: Traditions of the Himalayas, Summer 2012 [category_nicename] => nepal-traditions-of-the-himalayas-summer-2012 [category_parent] => 252 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2012/nepal-traditions-of-the-himalayas-summer-2012/ ) ) [category_links] => Nepal: Traditions of the Himalayas, Summer 2012 )

Nepal: Traditions of the Himalayas, Summer 2012

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Settling Into to City Life

Germaine Bartlett-Graff,Nepal: Traditions of the Himalayas, Summer 2012

Description

Namaste! Our course has moved by oh so quickly! The next 6 days of our course are full and this past week students have found a rhythm in the ancient kingdom of Patan. This week has been filled with getting to know our caring homestay families in Patan and beginning to observe and particpate in […]

Posted On

07/20/12

Author

Germaine Bartlett-Graff

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    [post_content] => The streets of Nepal are truly something else. At every turn there is a religious deity or an ancient temple. All style range from being hundreds to thousands of years old. There isn't a single detail that doesn't have meaning from the clothes worn by the many Buddhas to the number of eyes, hands or faces depicted. Each sculpture and carving is a religious doctrine of its own rendering me awe inspired to the solemn and enigmatic symbolism preserved and revived for what feels like eons. It would take me week to understand the contextual philosophic meaning of single art pieces. Every time i step a toe into the pools of knowledge and culture the ripples reflect a seemingly endless atmosphere of profound spiritual belief. My greatest regret is that sooner than i imagine i will have to leave this sacred bizarre valley of cultural cocktail and I will be left with a million more questions than when i came.
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Nepal: Traditions of the Himalayas, Summer 2012

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Walking in a Religious wonderland

Timoteo Flynn,Nepal: Traditions of the Himalayas, Summer 2012

Description

The streets of Nepal are truly something else. At every turn there is a religious deity or an ancient temple. All style range from being hundreds to thousands of years old. There isn’t a single detail that doesn’t have meaning from the clothes worn by the many Buddhas to the number of eyes, hands or […]

Posted On

07/16/12

Author

Timoteo Flynn

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Welcome to the Historic City of Patan!

On friday we left our retreat at Kopan Monastery to head into the heart of historic Kathmandu - in a part of the city over 2600 years old by the name of Patan. Patan is a traditional home to the Newari people, who are world famous for the traditional crafts they produce. Newaris are master craftsmen at everything from jewelry & stone carving, to metal & wood work, to intricate Buddhist paintings, and amazing dances. Students spent the weekend getting settled with their homestay families and are now about to begin work with their individual ISP mentors.

The Students have chosen the following topics to pursue:

Aubry - Silver Jewelry

Ari - Silver Jewelry

Denali - Silver Jewelry

Teo - Pauwa Painting (traditional Newari-Buddhist Painting)

Caitlin - Pauwa Painting (traditional Newari-Buddhist Painting)

Makenzi - Nepali Cooking

Emma D - Yoga

Emma J - Yoga

Nika - Newari Dance

Lindsay - Ayurveda (traditional Medicine)

Cara - Ayurveda (traditional Medicine)

Billy - Traditional Flute Music

Noah - Traditional Sarangi Music (similar to violin)

They will be spending a couple hours every day until the end of the week learning the traditional craft they have chosen with mentors who have spent their whole lives pursuing. Next week they will present what they learned to the group during their ISP presentations!

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Nepal: Traditions of the Himalayas, Summer 2012

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Welcome to Patan where ISPs Begin!

Danny, Amrit, Germaine,Nepal: Traditions of the Himalayas, Summer 2012

Description

Welcome to the Historic City of Patan! On friday we left our retreat at Kopan Monastery to head into the heart of historic Kathmandu – in a part of the city over 2600 years old by the name of Patan. Patan is a traditional home to the Newari people, who are world famous for the […]

Posted On

07/15/12

Author

Danny, Amrit, Germaine

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