January 18, 2009

1/18/09 Road Trip

The New Year started off on a good note here at the Buddhist Center with the arrival of Glenda Lee, an introductory Buddhist teacher and yoga instructor from Australia. She was the founding Director of the Hospice of Mother Tara - Buddhist Teaching, Meditation & Healing Centre in Bunbury, Western Australia twelve years ago and for the past five years, has been the Spiritual Program Coordinator which is also her new position here at FPMT Mongolia.

People were so excited by her arrival, that at Glenda's first meditation class we packed in over a hundred people. She is also teaching a four-week "Why Buddhism?" course. Her eight-week yoga class had a huge waiting list before registration opened. Like me, her time is being split between so many commitments, I'm not even sure when she sleeps. [smile] Besides teaching classes here at Shedrup Ling, she is also doing meditation classes at Dolma Ling and will be taking regular road trips to Darkhan to teach, plus monthly visits to a men's prison. Compared to Roy and I, she is a breath of fresh air of those living at the center. (she says that's only because she is the 'new one' on the block! he he he!)

Glenda teaching...

...to a packed house

Well, with our very short school-break, I got an opportunity to take a road trip to Darkhan, the second largest city in Mongolia which is about a three hour drive north of UB. Roy was taking Nyanmsambo up to Darkhan for a teaching but was also taking Glenda to see the new center we have there and invited me along for the ride. I was overjoyed.

Munguu's husband offered to be our driver so we wouldn't have to take a taxi or bus. Driving through the early morning smog wasn't any fun but once we got out Ulaanbaatar, the countryside was as pristine as it was cold. The new center (we rent now but Roy has big plans for a new center) was beautiful, full of sunlight and warmth. Roy plans on frequent visits from the regular Buddhist teachers like Nyamsambo, Geshe Tenzin and Glenda. After Nyamsambo's teaching, we stopped to see the huge white Buddha statute that is on a hill that separates old Darkhan with its gers and new Darkhan with its apartment buildings. I was a nice but very cold drive back to the 'big city'.

Huge Buddha shrine between old and new Darkhan

Prayer wheels lining the stairs to the shrine

Just after sunset on the way back home