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6/17/08 – Having gotten a few hours of sleep (they had to plug in a converter and then play with that to get the A/C going), I explored the World Buddhist Center or WBC. It was / is a beautiful sanctuary, primarily for Buddhist ordained members and pilgrims. However, in speaking with people from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, it seems very challenging to get a reservation (unless you are a nun / monk or an Indian travel agent). There were many Theravadin Buddhist flavors – the shrines, the images – a strong Thai / Sri Lankan emphasis (in my less-than-skilled opinion).
The WBC has several floors of dormitories, another with the kitchen and large dining room and the first floor is entirely composed of the main shrine room and a beautifully painted entrance, with a 40 – 50’ ceiling. However, each floor has a gorgeous and serene shrine, making it easy to fall into a blissful and serene state. I was fed well, eggs, toast, jam, tea and offered more food than I could eat.
Then I was picked up by Peter again – I wondered how much sleep he got (seriously I worried about the man, he kept talking about doing all these things and forgetting to sleep) – and driven to meet my friends from the states. I was the first to arrive, hence my staying over at the WBC. I was driven to the Likir House – a guest house in Delhi named after a monastery in Ladakh. Several people were there and the pilgrimage leader suggested we rest in the air conditioning for a while and I was very glad for it!
In the afternoon, we went out – to explore Conaught Place and exchange money. The middle of the day had drivers and tuk tuks buzzing around Delhi, all honking madly and intuitively navigating their vehicles. Gazing around at the vehicular chaos, I was surprised there were not more accidents. Somehow order and rule arose in the midst of all the hubbub.
It turned out several people missed their flight in the U.S., so there were about eight of us going to Ladakh first and then the rest would join us later. At the Likir house, I did a little practice and it seemed I was “rewarded” by an interesting dream. Time started doing a strange thing to me – whether it was due to jet lag or what – I felt like I had been in Delhi for weeks, when it was more like 24 hours. Hmmm.. Buddhist jet lag?