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12/30 – Fun with tormas! Around 5 or 6 am every morning, the lamas who were on that particular chanting shift do a torma practice. This means chanting a special prayer and opening the curtain to the mandala, getting out a little plate of tormas and putting them on the lamas table. On this particular morning, Khenpo Chophel sprinkled salt in the middle of the three tormas making them slump over. These tormas were small and made from oatmeal, so I guess the salt dried them up further, causing them to droop. Then Khenpo Tsultrim requested the camera and he took pictures of the sagging tormas. Pretty funny – they got a good laugh out of it anyway!
I made my table into the picture of a face with cough drops and my mala – to which the yogi sitting next to me added eye brows and a mustache. I got a serious laugh out of this. My sitting partner had a mug with a Walt Witman quote on it – I celebrate myself and I sing myself or something along those lines – to which he modified to be “I celebrate no self…”
I desperately need a nap. My body is tired and my kidneys are continuing to ache. I do the opening prayers and supplication and then go and crash for a half hour. I feel better – integrating, calm, settling and more grounded.
It snowed over night here, so I wander out into the chilly, wind swept white TMC terrain. The Stupa is magnificent as usual, but the snow seems to bring out the vividness of the prayer flags. The ice crunches beneath my feet as I ponder a plethora of possibilities. Fresh prayer flags catch the gusts, whipping prayers into the cosmos for all beings.
Ice crackling purification. 20 degrees F – this is more like being in Tibet eh? Except over there, the winter lasts for 8 months and it is bitterly cold (so I have heard).