Feb. 19-We were up early for a 5am train ride to Varanasi, a city of more than a million people. The train had sleepers so able to sleep a few hours. Train and station both crowded with thousands of people, some suspicious and lurking near us. We were warned to keep an eye on our baggage. This has not been an easy journey, and pounding our way through the train station was no mean feat. I am not sure how many miles we've traveled to get here, or how many more miles one would have to go to find open space.
Feb.20- This morning up early for bus ride to the Ganges or Ganga river, again depending on British mis-pronunciation. We took a boat ride across the river, and along the old city, which is thought by some to be the oldest in the world. The sun arose out of the smog for incredible pictures. We walked through narrow streets of the old town. Just incredible. Interesting too that no matter where you go there are "street" vendors trying to sell something-post cards, prayer beads, little vessels to take sacred water home-7th most polluted river on earth. On the river, boats would pull next to ours with vendors selling fish they had caught to then be released in the river to gain merit. Rinpoche bought most of the fish they had, but also scolded the vendors for not having integrity. We had lunch at a nice hotel with WIFI, and able to connect with internet for first time since leaving Delhi. All is well at home.
My ego is popping up again. Many questions about meditation, and seeing into the true nature of the mind. Form is emptiness, emptiness is form. This is bothering me as, perhaps, I still cling to an all-knowing God. On a relative level, we exist. On an absolute level there is simply, or perhaps not simply, emptiness. Another way of putting this is that I have a problem with form arising out of emptiness without some consciousness or conscious creativity.
Tomorrow is only half way. I feel like I've been here for a month.
Feb. 21-Meditation today on Form and Emptiness. Form arises out of emptiness, just don't know why without some creative desire to do so. The result is Karma or life, and the Four Noble Truths (there is suffering, the cause of suffering-desire, cessation of suffering through Prajnaparamita, and follow the path through this life, and however many more it takes to reach enlightenment). Have another teaching this afternoon. We have prabably had an audience with half a dozen very significant Tibetan teachers. Rinpoche has managed to get us in to see a long list of famous lamas. One more night in India, visit the place where Buddha died, and then on to Nepal. Afternoon audience was with Khense Thraugen (sp) Rinpoche, and elderly and high-ranking monk. This amounted to passing through a line for a blessing. We then had tea with his attendant, a friend of Rinpoche. I asked him about Prajnaparamita or visualizing emptiness. Not sure his answer helped. Later passing out of town with all of these weddings, with loud music (DJ carts) and colored lights. Amazing how the lights make the old go away.