'When I actually arrived in India I had no hotel or transport booked for the Kalachakra which others had done up to a year previous. Hotel prices were through the roof at an escalated price that was fifteen times the norm! However somehow a room manifested at a fraction of the cost others were paying at the last minute in a Burmese monastery affording me a peaceful escape from the Kalachakra crowds. Having been there a good two weeks before the event itself I got to witness the build up to it including the assembly of the breathtaking chair for His Holiness and the raising of colourful thankas all around it. In general Tibetans wait till the last minute to arrive because of the inflated costs but when they did finally arrive they did so by the busload and that in itself was a sight to see. Armed with pots, pans and bedding of all sorts it was not unusual to hear of up to 12 of them sleeping in one double sized room. Friends of mine from Gyumed monastery were sleeping in a hall with no less than 500 monks with barely enough room to turn over.'
'I feel it is important to mention that at the end of the day we fell into our rock hard beds exhausted, crashing out immediately. Yet the Dalai Lama was getting up at three in the morning most mornings to prepare, followed by giving teachings and all the while holding us in his big heart. The energy of this wonderful 76-year-old monk as he calls himself, is indeed endless. On the night of the first day of initiations something really special occurred which I will never forget. I was sitting meditating under the Bodhi tree in the Mahabodhi temple as around the perimeter devotees walked uttering their mantras and prayers. It was totally packed with people shuffling and prostrating their way around. In the distance I heard singing and I couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. Then sure enough as the crowd continued to circle around the ancient melody got louder and louder. A throng of Tibetan monks were singing their hearts out and as they flowed past it did not falter. It was as if the song had spread around the perimeter like a flame to petrol. In that moment I felt like I had the chance to witness the true beauty of Tibetan Buddhism. The Dalai Lama had worked so hard for eight solid days, had given us the initiation and we were as high as spiritual kites. It was totally electric and my initial thought was the Chinese government will never ever dampen this spirit and I hoped so much that the 200 chinese spies reported to be at this event were witnessing that moment.'
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