Dreaming Of Chad And Herb

I hope you are happy and healthy. What’s new there?  Life in Nepal is still somewhat restricted, but it is still great.             My recurring dreams of Chad and Herb have returned. This is a very short chapter, but whenever I wake up from these dreams it always seems like I’ve been involved with them for centuries.           

I first had these dreams decades ago and wrote about them in the book Reincarnation Through Common Sense. I guess they will continue to bounce around in my brain until I become worm food.            

 I’ll leave the door to that brain open for a minute here. Come on in! Take a walk around. Meet Chad and Herb.             

Thanks very much for reading, and for clicking the backlinks.                                            Stay well. Love, Tenzin

***p.s. As always, if you find these weekly bits bothersome, let me know and I’ll stop sending them to you. If you find the reading at all enjoyable, please—it literally takes only seconds—click one or more or all of the highlighted backlinks following this paragraph. This simple process is completely without risk, cost, or difficulty. All it does is bring you to the site that is highlighted. Each click is a big help in pushing Fearless Puppy up in the Google rankings. Whether you browse the sites or close the windows immediately, your help has been delivered when you click. Thank you!

FEARLESS PUPPY WEBSITE BLOG 

FEARLESS PUPPY ON AMERICAN ROAD/AMAZON PAGE

REINCARNATION THROUGH COMMON SENSE/AMAZON PAGE

FEARLESS WEBSITE

                                                    DREAMING OF CHAD AND HERB
                                                          

Chad            

Most of the folks you meet here are very pleasant. The natives are notoriously happy people who smile more often than not. Even those with ulterior motives are pleasant while overcharging you. Those who aren’t after what you have are a joy to be with. Most of the foreigners here are having fun. They are good company as well.                                     Every once in a while you meet an asshole.              

I was hanging out with my buddy Sepp at his resort’s bar. After more than a few beers we were feeling pretty good so the loud, obnoxious man who suddenly appeared uninvited at our table didn’t disturb us—at first. The problem was not that he invited himself to the table. Almost everyone here has the holiday spirit and is enjoying a similar buzz. Invitations are not required and most travelers are communally welcomed wherever they sit.                                                      There are exceptions.        

Chad was one of them. There’s no sense in telling you his country of origin. Assholes, like saints, come from everywhere. His voice sounded like screeching fingernails across a blackboard. He knew everything and everyone who ever existed anywhere. Chad actually said this. “Everybody wants to be like me, but I’m the only one who can make it work!”
                           Chad didn’t have the chops to make being that cocky work.        

Chad knew that some folks didn’t appreciate his presence. He didn’t care. Even Chad’s racist, sexist, bitter, chronic slandering of nearly all his fellow humans was overshadowed by his arrogance and total lack of humility. Chad only stomached other people in order to have more time to remind us of just how terrible everyone else was and how great he was.          

It was hard to stomach Chad. In Brooklyn, Chad would have gotten his ass kicked in five minutes or less. But Asia is much more polite and tolerant than Brooklyn. Places catering to tourists carry tolerance to an even greater level.           Dogs don’t have a human sense of protocol. Chad did not have to harass the resort’s resident dogs in order to get a reaction from them. They barked and snarled at him just for being Chad.         

Chad rattled on about all he knew that he was sure we didn’t, and about the wonderfulness of “The Chadster” and the very few people like him. I was getting a headache from this annoying prick. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath while trying to keep my composure and remain humane.           

When my eyes opened again, I was in bed. First daylight was coming through the window. Chad had been a dream.      

Something was telling me to be very careful to never move in the direction of
                                                   Chad-like behavior.                                                         
                                                   

HERB             
          

Most of the folks I’ve met here have been very pleasant. The natives are notoriously happy people who smile more often than not. Even the few with ulterior motives are pleasant while they overcharge you. Those who aren’t after your money are usually a joy to be with. Most of the foreigners here are having fun. They are often good company as well. It is rare to meet someone so decent that they shine above even the best of the rest.                         Herb was at the bar drinking slowly. We could tell he was not used to vacation quantities of alcohol. Nonetheless, the drunker he got, the more pleasant he seemed to become. The difficult experiences he spoke of were each framed in terms of the silver lining around the cloud. Herb actually said this about a betrayal he had suffered. “That one really hurt but I learned a lot from the experience. I can’t imagine what that poor guy must have gone through in life to make him so angry at everything!” If a lunatic threw a rock at his head, Herb would probably tell of the inspiring hallucination that he enjoyed during the concussion and then try to think of ways to get helpful counseling for his attacker.            
       Herb’s soft but energetic voice transmitted a calming strength that was as contagious as laughter through a crowd of children. Everyone felt it and was grateful. Folks kept buying him drinks that he obviously didn’t need, just so he wouldn’t leave. The dogs came over to lick his hand, purr like kittens, and then lay at his feet. He would pet them and say, “How you doing, sweetheart?” in the same tone that he used to speak with humans.             
        Herb didn’t overdo the horror stories, but he hadn’t had an easy life. Some folks are the privileged few. They get to grow up surrounded by loving kindness in an idyllic environment. They can easily grow into good qualities. Herb didn’t fit that mold. Herb had worked for every progress he made. This gave his character a very recognizably different dimension. He had an experiential wisdom to go with his kindness. Herb’s eyes afforded anyone that looked into them a no detours trip through hell and on up into heaven.             
         After a few hours and several beers with this amazing person I was feeling very good. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath to drink it all in. My eyes opened. I was in bed watching the sun rise across my window. Herb had been a dream.   

Something was trying to tell me to be very consistent in practicing        
Herb-like behavior.
 

(Make all the 420 references you like. They’ll fit.)

Many thanks to our wonderful friends at Pema Boutique Hotel for their help and support. ***The books Fearless Puppy On American Road and Reincarnation Through Common Sense by this same author are also available through Amazon or the Fearless Puppy website, where there are sample chapters from those books. Entertaining TV/radio interviews with and newspaper articles about the author are also available there. There is no charge for anything but the complete books! All author profits from book sales will be donated to help sponsor an increase in the number of wisdom professionals on Earth, beginning with but certainly not limited to Buddhist monks and nuns.        
***If you missed the Introduction to the new book that will be titled Temple Dog Soldier, or would like to see several chapters of it that are available for free online, go to the Puppy website Blog section. This is a book in progress. You will be reading it as it is being created! Just like you, I don’t know what the next chapter is going to be about until it is written. As the Intro will tell you, this is a totally true story—and probably the only book ever written by and about a corpse journeying completely around the world!

My Family Of Crows

What’s going on where you are? I hope you are happy and healthy. Lockdown is still going strong here in Nepal. We are legally allowed out from 6 to 9 a.m. for shopping at the few food stores that are open. With nowhere legal to go, most local people are more compliant about spending the rest of their time in the house than they might otherwise be. Some people including myself go out for walks at other times when there is nothing legally open but pharmacies.        

Even during sanctioned shopping hours, it is rare to see more than two dozen people during an entire one mile walk down Lakeside. Nineteen of them are likely to be white people! The locals have close families that are used to spending a lot of time together. Most expats and trekkers have just a few friends here, no kitchen, and no family within several thousand miles. We also seem to have a respect for but less dramatic fear of the virus than the locals do. Expats and trekkers believe smaller percentages of what the media tells us than the locals believe. We are more used to and therefore a little less influenced by the manipulative dramatic nuance in media. We are much more likely to take it all with a grain of salt when served our institutional sources of information.        

Most folks keep their masks on when outdoors. This often has more to do with cooperation or compliance with legality, and compassion for the fears of others, than it has to do with an actual fear of the virus. There are so few people on the street that one rarely finds him or her self inside the recommended six-foot social distance from another person! So in many cases the masks are a polite decoration.                

The Nepali folk come out unmasked in the early evening and play badminton without a net on the side streets, kick a soccer ball around, or play other games in their back yards. A few families that live on the same block may cluster a bit, but they don’t stray far.       

The concept of family is different here than in the USA. American crows, however, are very similar to the Asian variety. Families and crows are both looked at below. I hope you enjoy this little bit from the new book-in-progress.                       Thanks very much for reading and thank you for clicking the back links.                                                                 Be well, Tenzin

***p.s. As always, if you find these weekly bits bothersome, let me know and I’ll stop sending them to you. If you find the reading at all enjoyable, please—it literally takes only seconds—click one or more or all of the highlighted backlinks following this paragraph. This simple process is completely without risk, cost, or difficulty. All it does is bring you to the site that is highlighted. Each click is a big help in pushing Fearless Puppy up in the Google rankings. Whether you browse the sites or close the windows immediately, your help has been delivered when you click. Thank you!

FEARLESS PUPPY WEBSITE BLOG

 FEARLESS PUPPY ON AMERICAN ROAD/AMAZON PAGE

REINCARNATION THROUGH COMMON SENSE/AMAZON PAGE

FEARLESS WEBSITE

                                               My Family Of Crows
                                                          FAMILY        

Family means something different in Asia than it does in America. They take the concept more seriously here. The difference seems beneficial most often but it can be restrictive and detrimental at times. When I grew up in Brooklyn, most families including my own resembled a badly managed zoo where lions, rhinos, jackals, mongoose, and the occasional cobra were all thrown together willy-nilly in the same cage. Independent thought and a rebellious spirit were at war with tradition and conformity throughout most of American life during the 1960s. This struggle was perhaps most evident within our individual families. Many thirty to fifty-year-old parents would regularly beat and scream at their ten to twenty-year-old children, whose goal in life was to get as far away from their parents as quickly as possible.          

Many teenagers considered at least one or two of their family members to be negative examples. A lot of parents showed us how not to be. Most adults of that time had a prejudicial, narrow minded attitude toward black people, gay folks, and most other subdivisions of humanity that they were not personally members of. Beside the racial bigotry and a second-class-citizen attitude toward women that was woven into almost every aspect of life, there was a general lack of happiness displayed to many urban children of that era.            

Our parents’ compulsive striving for material possessions and status often happened at the expense of love and sanity. This caused many to suffer ill moods, ill health, and obsessive behavior. It made some parents appear to their children as embarrassing housemates related only through a biological accident and a temporary financial necessity. This lack of any admired in-house role models to emulate drove a lot of young folks into new lifestyles.         

What has been publicized as “America’s greatest generation” was no kinder to its parents than it was to its children. This was the generation that invented putting grandma in an old-age home almost as soon as grandpa died. Farming out the old folks was unheard of during previous generations. There are still very few old folks homes in Asia. Grandparents live with their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren until they die.             Married Nepali couples may move into a house of their own but many continue to live with their families in the same house where they grew up. Others build a house close by. This can do some wonderful things for the stability of everyone in the family. Old folks are more comfortable with the idea of being old when they are constantly loved, cared for, and respected by the family. Children often feel more secure among a whole tribe of loving relatives. Neighboring and cohabiting aunts, uncles, grandparents, and even cousins often act as second mothers and fathers, giving the child a broader range of practice in relating to adults. Mother and father enjoy a little more alone time and some help with the strenuous job of parenting.          

On the down side of all this togetherness is the problem of obedience often bypassing freedom and creativity. There are many instances where the future profession, spouse, and living arrangement of a child are very heavily influenced if not altogether decided by the parents. Within such a culture of obedience it is rare that a young adult will tell his or her parents, “I’m going to work and live where I want to and marry whoever I fall in love with! This is my life, not yours!”            

As is true of so many aspects of life in Asia, an impending American-style 1950s/60s shift is in the air regarding family structure. The violent separation between generations hasn’t shown itself very much—yet. But there are signs. Youngsters live on the Internet as much as they live in their homes. They are becoming entrained to some ideas that are very different from the ideas that have been dominant within Asian families for millennia. Some of these notions are an improvement. Many are not. It is wonderful to have access to an unending stream of good information about nutrition, hygiene, spiritual awareness, and so many other aspects of a constructive education—but graphic violence and some very unloving varieties of sexual conduct as well as a lot of flat-out bullshit and harmful misinformation on almost every subject are just as easy for a youngster to find. Children tend to make exploratory choices. The past few decades of Internet access have offered more things outside of home and family to explore than had been available in the previous two hundred thousand years of human history combined. Information acquired from some of these explorations will be acted upon by many children. Some of these actions will put many young adults at odds with status quo.            

I guess there is no valid objective generalization to be made when it comes to whether a tighter or looser family structure is the better method. Neither is always better or all ways worse. Like most other things happening on human Earth, the success of a family depends upon the individuals that form it and the cultural variables that influence it.            

All our family members, like all other humans, make us happy—sometimes because we are able to stay with them and sometimes because we are able to get away from them.                                                    

Crows Like Brown Bread                 

I am looking at the lake from the balcony while having breakfast at noon when Heckle and Jekyll land on the railing. I don’t actually know what their names are in Crow language. Technically, the Hekyll and Jekyll that my new ebony-winged friends are named after weren’t even real beings, much less crows. They were TV and movie cartoon Magpie birds that made their first appearance in 1946 and their last in 1981. But resemblance between the two sets of birds is so strong that those cartoon names seem to fit these recently arrived friends.                  

The crows look over at me with desire and hope in their eyes, then let out a series of loud caws that were easily translatable to English as, “Can a brother get some of that nice brown bread you have there?”                 

I break off a piece for my boys (perhaps girls?) and put it on the railing about a yard away from the birds. Jekyll is afraid and flies off quickly but then circles back around to sit behind his partner. Hekyll, the obvious Alpha, takes a hop backward on the rail without ever turning head or body around to stick the landing. He sticks it anyway. If it was an Olympic event, the judges would give him a score of 9.9. Within two seconds he becomes a speeding blur that lunges forward and snaps up the bread. He gives me a cautious look. Seeing that I have no problem with him or his hunt, Hekyll sits right where he is and eats his breakfast while I eat mine—and while Jekyll looks jealously on.                 

I try to get Jekyll even but Hekyll is too quick! I put another piece of bread on the far side of the railing behind the two birds and close behind Jekyll. With the speed of lightning Hekyll flies around Jekyll and snatches up the bread. He eats with a complete lack of concern or respect for his sky mate. It makes me wonder if all crows are like that or if some share.                

After a few more pieces of bread that give Hekyll a full belly and Jekyll a contact high, the guys are pretty comfortable with me. I duck into the room for a minute. When I get back to the balcony, they have cleaned up the scraps that were left on my plate and flown off. But I can see them both. They are hanging out with three adult cows that are blocking most of both lanes on Lakeside Road right in front of my hotel. Lockdown traffic is close to nonexistent and the people around here love cows at least as much as they love people, so the cows are in no danger. And of course, neither are Hekyll and Jekyll.                  

From this second-floor balcony it looks like Jekyll is telling the patiently listening cows the brown bread story while Hekyll picks his teeth. 

Many thanks to our wonderful friends at Pema Boutique Hotel for their help and support. ***The books Fearless Puppy On American Road and Reincarnation Through Common Sense by this same author are also available through Amazon or the Fearless Puppy website, where there are sample chapters from those books. Entertaining TV/radio interviews with and newspaper articles about the author are also available there. There is no charge for anything but the complete books! All author profits from book sales will be donated to help sponsor an increase in the number of wisdom professionals on Earth, beginning with but certainly not limited to Buddhist monks and nuns.        
***If you missed the Introduction to the new book that will be titled Temple Dog Soldier, or would like to see several chapters of it that are available for free online, go to the Puppy website Blog section. This is a book in progress. You will be reading it as it is being created! Just like you, I don’t know what the next chapter is going to be about until it is written. As the Intro will tell you, this is a totally true story—and probably the only book ever written by and about a corpse journeying completely around the world!

Genius Clowns and Silver Tongued Uncles

Hello from scenic Pokhara, Nepal!
          I hope you are happy and healthy. What is going on in your part of the world?          

There will be a lot to tell about this lovely town, but I have to do it before I can write about it! That report should be ready next week. This week please enjoy two bits from what may be the most important section of the new book in progress. Here is the first piece and then some more from the Tribute To Teachers section in that soon-to-be new book.          

The prophetic George Carlin has been without question one of the major influences in my life, and the lives of many others. He used a no-nonsense, tell it like it is, often crude, pull no punches, blue collar approach to what he saw going on in the world. He often envisioned, then clearly and accurately commented on, events that didn’t actually happen until years later—as well as having cutting edge interpretations of the present.  He was our canary in the coal mine, and much more a comic genius with immense foresight than a simple class clown.                     

Leo Buscaglia was favorite uncle to the world. Among the many brilliant strokes of pure honesty to come out of his mouth is the line mentioned as the title below. He asked a friend with a sour look on his face, “How are you?” The friend answered with an unconvincing. “Fine.” Uncle Leo replied, “Why don’t you tell your face!?!” Leo Buscaglia was filled from head to toe with good-willed honesty. He could say things like “Why don’t you tell your face?” without being insulting. His good intentions and love of humanity always shined through whatever little sting might result from his honesty and accuracy.            

I hope you enjoy my two little tributes to these incredible modern masters.                                              

Thank you for reading, and for clicking the backlinks. Be well. Love, Tenzin

***p.s. As always, if you find these weekly bits bothersome, let me know and I’ll stop sending them to you. If you find the reading at all enjoyable, please—it literally takes only seconds—click one or more or all of the highlighted backlinks following this paragraph. This simple process is completely without risk, cost, or difficulty. All it does is bring you to the site that is highlighted. Each click is a big help in pushing Fearless Puppy up in the Google rankings. Whether you browse the sites or close the windows immediately, your help has been delivered when you click. Thank you!FEARLESS PUPPY WEBSITE BLOG

FEARLESS PUPPY ON AMERICAN ROAD/AMAZON PAG

EREINCARNATION THROUGH COMMON SENSE/AMAZON PAGE

FEARLESS WEBSITE

                        No Misunderstandings, Please/What Does Matter
Thank you, Mr. Carlin. You brought us laughter, truth, integrity, courage, and conscience—and did each of them better than most folks do any one of them.
       Just so there are no misunderstandings, I would like to officially state something right here near the beginning of this section of tributes to teachers. Almost none of the people (there are a few exceptions) who are complimented here as teachers and influences actually know or ever knew me. I’m not trying to make believe that I am in some kind of intimate buddies club with every genius on Earth, or that I have personally met and had social what-to-do with any of these people. I go to lectures, classes, concerts, get the books, and watch these folks on HBO specials, YouTube, or PBS just like nearly everyone else who has been smart enough to seek out these human lighthouses, or has been lucky enough to just stumble across them. I do have an active imagination. Even the repetitive contact with videos can affect me strongly at times, but that’s where most of these “relationships” end.       

A very small number of people have become a lot more famous than the rest of us. Sometimes this happens because we admire a person’s genius, talent, or merit. But just as often, it happens through no actual accomplishment on the part of the famous person. It often happens because shill marketing and media conglomerates are selling the public an image, as well as an artificial relationship to that image. These marketing and media folks work for corporate pimps. The corporate pimps and their companies collect big money from these processes because these methods result in bizarre purchasing habits on the part of consumers. These bizarre purchasing habits materialize when consumers become hypnotized by vast avalanches of enticingly designed commercial messages into believing their imagined connection with the celebrity is not only real and meaningful, but also has a connection to the product that is for sale.        

But even truly meeting or knowing someone admirable doesn’t make you, yourself, an improved or admirable individual. That happens when you are actually being, doing, or taking part in something admirable.         

Why do people make such a big deal about this associating with/meeting/knowing a famous person thing, anyway? Brag about meeting, say, Mother Teresa or the Dalai Lama? I don’t think so. I’d brag if I spoke and acted as nobly as Mother Teresa or the Dalai Lama!        

  No, on second thought, I guess I wouldn’t.                         

I feel so strongly about all this that the following true story is still, thirty-five years after the fact, one of my very favorite moments in life.           

 It was a beautiful autumn day in the 1980s at Hugo’s bar on Pleasant Street in the lovely town of Northampton, Massachusetts. After an all-day effort to deplete the world’s beer supply, a sudden flash of inspiration came to me. Over the course of the following year, that inspiration developed into a successful local, and then statewide, charity project. It got a lot of attention and press because it involved high-level politicians, famous musicians, major league sports teams, labor unions, volunteers who didn’t get paid at all, and a hot button issue. Above all, the project went well because none of the money passed through me or our little volunteer group. It went directly from contributors to very well established and reputable charities. There was no possible question-of-trust factor. (Details in news articles at fearlesspuppy.info, if you are interested.)           

Shortly after the project, I was back at Hugo’s, again doing my part to help society drain free of its alcohol content. I made this effort many times during the 1980s. A guy (decent sort) who infrequently frequented our watering hole came through the back door. He was known and well liked by one of the regulars at our table, so we invited him to join us. Decent-sort-Mike was then introduced to several people who were well known for not being able to remember names.             

Mike downed half a beer and suddenly turned wide-eyed. He stared at me for a few very long seconds. It was the kind of stare that made me wonder if he was on some powerful drug and I was showing up as a freshly tapped keg in his hallucination.             

That wasn’t it. The mad stare was his sudden recognition of a person whom he knew had experienced the proverbial fifteen minutes of fame.             

“You’re that guy from the newspapers. You’re great!” said decent-sort-Mike.             

I had to reply, “Don’t be fucking ridiculous. I’m a drunk from Hugo’s, just like you are.”             

The light went on in Mike’s more than slightly bloodshot eyes. It was that deeper kind of understanding that rarely happens, even between people who know each other very well.            

He got it.           

A big slow “Wooooow!” came out of his mouth.           

Mike suddenly realized that he could have done that charity project and would have received the same attention from the media if he had. Instant insight told him that anyone could have done it. It was all just about getting up and doing it. All I did was kick my own drunken ass into the process. That didn’t make me any more of a superman than Mike. The only difference between us was that I put a situation’s potential to actual use.
   

  We bought each other beers and talked for hours with no further misunderstandings.

All of us humans have the same potential to be incredible.

Who you’ve met or know doesn’t matter.

Who you choose to be and what you choose to do with your life is what does matter.
                                     

“Why Don’t You Tell Your Face?”
With love and thanks to the world’s favorite uncle, Mr. Leo Buscaglia
       

I ask how you’re doing and you tell me you’re fine, but you’re staring out off into space. The look in your eye tells me something’s awry. You’re not sitting in your favorite place. You appear to be thinking that to speak your true feelings would surely result in disgrace. If you’re feeling fine, I’ll kiss my own behind. If you’re happy, you should tell your face!      

  No one feels perfect all day and all night, and if you’ve got a problem then you’ve got a right to share it with people who care ‘bout your plight and can help you recover, recycle your sight.            

But you don’t.            

You just sit there with that frown covering you.            

Seems kind of silly.        

If someone sincerely asks how you are, that’s a sign of your luck and their grace.     

They can help wash your clothes and straighten your wrinkles, pull joy through the holes in your lace. So do not sit there with your head up your butt wishing you were in some other place. Open up the damn door when your friends come knocking. Let them help you stabilize when you are rocking. You can’t tell them anything that will be quite as shocking as “If you’re happy, why don’t you tell your face?”                                      
 

Many thanks to our wonderful friends at Pema Boutique Hotel for their help and support.

***The books Fearless Puppy On American Road and Reincarnation Through Common Sense by this same author are also available through Amazon or the Fearless Puppy website, where there are sample chapters from those books. Entertaining TV/radio interviews with and newspaper articles about the author are also available there. There is no charge for anything but the complete books! All author profits from book sales will be donated to help sponsor an increase in the number of wisdom professionals on Earth, beginning with but certainly not limited to Buddhist monks and nuns.        
***If you missed the Introduction to the new book that will be titled Temple Dog Soldier, or would like to see several chapters of it that are available for free online, go to the Puppy website Blog section. This is a book in progress. You will be reading it as it is being created! Just like you, I don’t know what the next chapter is going to be about until it is written. As the Intro will tell you, this is a totally true story—and probably the only book ever written by and about a corpse journeying completely around the world!

Is Big Bird a God?

Hello! I hope you are happy and healthy.
            I have heard and am paying attention to those friends that have said things like, “My husband and I love the writing, but my brain hurts after reading it.” I will post more strictly upbeat, happy, fun bits of the books for at least the next month. There will be minimal scathing rants about social injustice, or so-called obscenity, or deep philosophy—and more Puppy-ness. Here we go.            

A lot of strange things can happen after you are pronounced dead at the hospital, brought back to life by a rebellious second doctor putting a post-mortem second shot of adrenaline in your heart, and then very shortly after regaining consciousness decide to manage your own heroin withdrawal without help.            

I met Garuda. This trip through the Twilight Zone bounced between being deeply into and all the way out of conventional reality. The experience would actually be eligible for a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most fun ever had by a human being during heroin withdrawals, except for the little physical and psychological torture inconvenience. That “inconvenience” actually was not as much of a problem for me as it usually is for folks. It was gracefully overshadowed by the rest of the experience.           

Garuda can be quickly but only semi-accurately translated into Western as the Asian Phoenix. Mine was a little different. It very rarely presented itself in any conventionally described Garuda form. It also changed forms at will. In the interest of keeping these posts within the thousand-word range of quick and easy reading, here are a few random paragraphs plucked from the twenty-plus page section in the book Fearless Puppy On American Road that describes the entire experience. Thank you very much for reading, and for clicking on the backlinks.                                                                     Stay happy please, Ten***p.s. As always, if you find these weekly bits bothersome, let me know and I’ll stop sending them to you. If you find the reading at all enjoyable, please—it literally takes only seconds—click one or more or all of the highlighted backlinks following this paragraph. This simple process is completely without risk, cost, or difficulty. All it does is bring you to the site that is highlighted. Each click is a big help in pushing Fearless Puppy up in the Google rankings. Whether you browse the sites or close the windows immediately, your help has been delivered when you click. Thank you!

FEARLESS PUPPY WEBSITE BLOG 

FEARLESS PUPPY ON AMERICAN ROAD/AMAZON PAGE

REINCARNATION THROUGH COMMON SENSE/AMAZON PAGE

FEARLESS WEBSITE
REAL?       

Ever been kicked in the crotch by a horse? Neither have I, but it seems that it might be a lot of fun compared with the effects of heroin withdrawal.                        

Some details have been forgotten and some particulars may be restructured, but this book is pretty much a true story. Except for this piece here. Maybe.       

You might call it real. Maybe not. Then again, who knows what the word “real” actually means?       

A lot of folks think that real is what materially exists and can be registered by the five senses. If you can see, feel, taste, smell, or hear it, that’s considered real by most people. But there are other schools of thought on the subject. Some folks think that our material definition of reality is just a collectively agreed upon hallucination.

A breeze comes up. It blows dust in my eyes.

Wipe eyes. Blink.

Opened eyes after blinking see that the highway has disappeared.      

Angelic sky blue surrounds me. Totally surrounds me. I am standing on it, as well as in it and under it. There is no solid ground but the blue is as secure to stand on as any of the Earth’s densest terrain. It is, oddly enough, also as comfortable to move through as Earth’s atmosphere.      

A strong but pleasant beam of light sprays right through me, treating me as a transparency.     Something nonphysical within me is being cleaned up enough to be wherever it has arrived.   

Whoever my hosts are, they want me to be here but don’t seem to want the bunch of garbage that has traveled with me.       All this is much less than clear. Ordinary sense is on vacation.      

Thousands of large white birds become visible. Each brilliant wing in the flock is composed of tiny feathers, alternating silver and crystal. Each tiny feather is as sharp as a razor. The wings begin to flap as the birds take flight. As they do so, a wind chime symphony at the volume of soft jazz is manufactured by the clank of silver against crystal. The symphony ends as the birds land in (and on) the blue.       

“We are Garrruda. Welcome.”        

It is somehow apparent that these thousands of birds are actually one combined energy. This energy displays a presence and beauty the likes of which I have never seen before. It is easy to believe myself in the presence of a Goddess.
        I feel as if two trains of thought are traveling my mind at once. One of these trains is so smart, happy, and healthy that it seems borrowed. The other is the ordinary mind that I have been using for the past year or two.
        “OK,” I think to my selves. “A little stranger than usual, but it’s a pleasant strange. This is not my first altered-state experience. We can deal with this.” I make my selves comfortable.
         My lower self is having a cynical day on Sesame Street. It thinks, “I wonder if I’m ever going to get a straight answer out of Big Bird and company here!”          

I think of another question. “What, please, is Garrruda’s purpose?”         

“Aha!” sing all the birds in a singular melodic voice that is accompanied by a symphonic flapping of wings. “That is an easy question to answer. Garrruda is here to protect you!”         

“Well, thank you very much. But protect me from what?”         

“Garrruda is here to protect you from your lower self. We are here to shelter you from that which informs you that you may never receive a straight answer from Big Bird and company.”        

Garrruda gives a soft giggle, this time in multiple voices. It is accompanied by a glance containing such a gentle compassion that it melts my embarrassment.
        “Every once in a while you get a residual, shall we say, subconscious drive-by shooting from the psychological remnants of that experience. Sometimes that bad memory, which aggregated to your psyche so long ago and associates success with punishment, attempts to surface as you are approaching a door of success. The memory is a defense mechanism. It is based upon previous conditioning. It thinks it is your friend. It is warning you not to succeed because, according to this little piece of history, you will be hurt if you win.”         

The memory is a bit unnerving. “Yes! I recognized that problem many years ago and actually remember talking myself out of it. This memory was told that it was a bad piece of information and was not a valid thought for me to live by. I dismissed it.”         

The birds smile and flap their wings. After an angelic ten-second wing chime sonata of silver and crystal, Garrruda speaks again. “When you recognize and repair dysfunctional conditioning in such a manner, you are at one with me. Byuncovering your obstacle and dissolving it, you are protected from being less than your better Self. This process requires nothing but the courage for objective self-examination. This process is a secret to many, but common knowledge to Garrruda. Through internal awareness of the root causes of our obstacles, we can cut those obstacles out. We thereby prevent being bound by them. This is the formula for psychological liberation and happiness.”         

Garrruda smiles and wraps its wings around me. Thousands of razor sharp feathers caress me without inflicting any pain or injury. An electrical charge of well being saturates my body—and then goes deeper than that. My whole life is being energized, not just the body. The sensation is like breathing pure oxygen straight from the tank. Oddly enough, there is also a feeling of being encased in water.          

Within an instant, I find out why.          

As Garrruda opens its wings, it dissolves. It disappears slowly, fading from bottom to top with its benevolent smile being the last part to vanish.                                                                      

* * *                                                         Jonah’s Frying Pan         

The bird is gone altogether and I am indeed encased in water. The blue that made up Garrruda’s world has maintained its color but become liquid. It seems odd to be breathing in water and odder yet to not be worried about it, or anything else for that matter. An all-pervasive comfort surrounds me. Everything seems better than fine—and exactly the way it is supposed to be.          

A multicolored fish joins me. It appears to be about ten feet in length and weigh nearly three hundred pounds. My new friend has a very pleasant nature, a happy demeanor, and a smile as wide as a row boat.

***Believe it or not, the chapter gets even stranger and more fun from here on!
          

Many thanks to our wonderful friends at Pema Boutique Hotel for their help and support.

***The books Fearless Puppy On American Road and Reincarnation Through Common Sense by this same author are also available through Amazon or the Fearless Puppy website, where there are sample chapters from those books. Entertaining TV/radio interviews with and newspaper articles about the author are also available there. There is no charge for anything but the complete books! All author profits from book sales will be donated to help sponsor an increase in the number of wisdom professionals on Earth, beginning with but certainly not limited to Buddhist monks and nuns.        
***If you missed the Introduction to the new book that will be titled Temple Dog Soldier, or would like to see several chapters of it that are available for free online, go to the Puppy website Blog section. This is a book in progress. You will be reading it as it is being created! Just like you, I don’t know what the next chapter is going to be about until it is written. As the Intro will tell you, this is a totally true story—and probably the only book ever written by and about a corpse journeying completely around the world!

Light and Breezy

Greetings from Nepal. I hope you are happy and healthy.  The air quality in Kathmandu has cleared just a bit. For the past week it had gone from bad to worse due to a dry winter and accompanying wildfires. We earned the dubious honor of being the most dangerous place on Earth to breathe.        

With great admiration and respect for humanity, I continue to see folks move along through trauma after trauma with strength and perseverance that most often includes a smile. It is a shame that all that strength and perseverance has to be mustered up to deal with trauma after trauma. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to spend all that energy fixing things that are already broken instead of dealing with so many increasing and additional troubles? The continuing propaganda, gaslighting, manipulation, misinformation, and intentional confusion provided the public, as well as the very real plagues, ecological disasters, political mismanagements, and other malfunctions influence almost everyone’s mood.  So much energy is spent rising above bullshit that shouldn’t exist in the first place.        

As they say in the old country, “This too shall pass.” Meanwhile, I guess there’s no common sense in doing anything but trying to create, within and without, the positivity we’d like to be swimming in.        

Tourist traffic is still sparse, but there is talk of that changing soon. Many of the small businesses here are struggling to stay afloat. While many of the less expensive hotels go out of business, the upscale hotel construction continues everywhere. Controlling interests continue building up to the gentrification of the Eastern hemisphere that is happening in coordination with the de-gentrification being forced upon the West.          

I was in Siem Reap, Cambodia for three months before coming to Nepal. Here are some short excerpts from what will be the Cambodia section of the new book. They were written before the world got so complex and heavy. To me, they are a welcome bit of light and breezy. I hope you find some light and breezy here too. Thanks very much for reading and for clicking on the backlinks.
                                            Be well. Love to all there, Tenzin

***p.s. As always, if you find these weekly bits bothersome, let me know and I’ll stop sending them to you. If you find the reading at all enjoyable, please—it literally takes only seconds—click one or more or all of the highlighted backlinks following this paragraph. This simple process is completely without risk, cost, or difficulty. All it does is bring you to the site that is highlighted. Each click is a big help in pushing Fearless Puppy up in the Google rankings. Whether you browse the sites or close the windows immediately, your help has been delivered when you click. Thank you!FEARLESS PUPPY WEBSITE BLOG 

FEARLESS PUPPY ON AMERICAN ROAD/AMAZON

PAGEREINCARNATION THROUGH COMMON SENSE/AMAZON PAGE

FEARLESS WEBSITE
                                                                                        The Local Market     

The local neighborhood market is a miniature version of the downtown Night Market, but with a very noticeable lack of bars and massage parlors. There is a lot more concentration on food, clothing, and cosmetics. Cosmetics are a big thing in Cambodia.      

This is a neighborhood venue that caters to a few long-term tourists, but mostly to locals with families. Fresh produce, meat, and live fish are available. The live fish sit on wet tables until someone buys them. At one of these fish tables, two live ones jump off the table and onto the floor right in front of me—and start walking down the floor! I shit you not. These fish have feet! There are no toes, but where a dog or cat’s front legs would be there are flipper/feet type appendages that allow the fish to actually walk!                                                                  

The Peace Cafe             

One of the cleanest and most beautiful bits of jungle in the neighborhood is the Peace Café. It sits about a half mile up the road and across the river from The Royal Dragon Apartments where I live. Gorgeous exotic fresh flowers of various purples and oranges grace each table. The place is spotless and the servers are in uniforms. As soon as a customer sits down, the server arrives with a smiling face and a cold, wet, very refreshing mentholated towel.              The food is some of the best in Southeast Asia or anywhere else. The Peace Café is strictly vegetarian. They don’t even use eggs. But they can make vegetable dishes taste like anything! Their vegan version of the nationally famous Amok fish rivals the original. They also offer meditation classes.             

If this sounds more like a fancy uptown restaurant than an ordinary mom-and-pop place, you are right. The prices reflect it. But that only means that a two dollar meal downtown (that would cost fifteen dollars in most of America) costs four dollars at The Peace Cafe. It is worth it. The atmosphere, as well as the food, reflect the value of the place.           

There is a card displaying a wisdom saying on each table at the Peace Café. Here is a sampling.              If you are depressed, you are a living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.              There is no way to peace. Peace is the way.              If you want peace, stop fighting. If you want peace of mind, stop fighting with your thought.                                                        

Death Defying Dragon Drivers       

I grew up in New York City and have since been in major metropolitan areas around the world. Cambodian drivers are by far and away the craziest and bravest I have ever seen. It is a miracle that half the population doesn’t die daily in traffic accidents! Tuk-tuks, motorbikes, some cars, and the occasional truck weave around each other with very reckless abandon. It is common to see someone driving on the wrong side of the road as if it is their personal one-way street and the opposing traffic is part of a video game obstacle course. Like Grand Theft Auto, drivers seem to treat the driving process as a form of entertainment instead of a potentially dangerous form of transportation. Rules are fluid. Folks have no trouble bending them. I have seen tuk-tuks going north while motorbikes go south in the same lane. As this goes on, a car tries to use the very same space to go from east to west. The situation is a bit more tame but still prevalent in my little suburban neighborhood. Downtown is flat-out batshit crazy. Pedestrians are always at risk. Looking both ways before crossing may not be enough.                                                                       Laughing Girl        

A few blocks walk from the Peace Café is a free standing hut restaurant with seventy-five cent coconuts. They chop the top off and stick a straw in one for me. A few blocks past that, down a side street, is a stand with a dozen kinds of natural juices. Half of the juices are made from fruits I have never heard of before. I get the Aloe Vera. Downing both juices would give a good rush all by itself. The monstrous amounts of sugar that Cambodians put in everything possible adds to the jolt.         

On that same side street, a block past the juice place, is a thirty foot tall, ornately carved, stone gateway. This is most often a sign that there is a temple, probably with an elementary school attached to it, behind that gateway. The gate itself is an incredible piece of art containing finely crafted scroll work as well as images of goddesses, elephants, and crocodiles. If a singular craftsman of his day did this, it may have taken a whole lifetime to finish.          

Getting closer affords a view of three orange-robed monks walking in the distance behind a hundred screaming children at play in a schoolyard. My juice buzz and I wander through the gate into a hectic schoolyard full of the sweet, noisy chaos of happy children, and then on to the serene silence of the temple/monk-residence section. Wandering into a small side temple gives a big surprise. Half of it is cordoned off into sections of orange robes hung over rope lines acting as room dividers. Three or four monks are actually living in this shrine!          

The main temple is much bigger. It is spotless and beautiful, as most of them are. It is considered a blessing to clean the temple. Monks and locals alike take very attentive care of the area. After a half hour of meditating/day dreaming in the temple, I go back to the school area to write up some notes. There are a few stone steps behind a woman that sells ice cream from a cart by the schoolyard. She has a crying three-year-old daughter with her. The child is perched in a basket on the handlebars of the bicycle that hauls that cart around.           

Many times, all that children need is to be distracted from their crying for just a minute in order to completely forget what the crying was about in the first place. (It can work with whining adults too.) I stroke the child’s hand while giggling and smiling at her. She starts giggling back. Giggles turn into uproarious laughter and the kid is on a roll! I’m ready to play. I start laughing and smiling right back at her. A half-dozen kids waiting for ice cream think this is hilarious. They start laughing along with us. This goes on for twenty minutes. Every few minutes the baby takes a break. As soon as she catches her breath and starts to laugh again, I give her a big smile and laugh in return—and then everyone waiting for ice cream breaks into laughter as well.            

At six feet and two inches tall, I may be the biggest, whitest thing this kid has ever seen in her short life. She may be the sweetest person I have ever met in mine.                                  

Many thanks to our wonderful friends at Pema Boutique Hotel for their help and support.

***The books Fearless Puppy On American Road and Reincarnation Through Common Sense by this same author are also available through Amazon or the Fearless Puppy website, where there are sample chapters from those books. Entertaining TV/radio interviews with and newspaper articles about the author are also available there. There is no charge for anything but the complete books! All author profits from book sales will be donated to help sponsor an increase in the number of wisdom professionals on Earth, beginning with but certainly not limited to Buddhist monks and nuns.        
***If you missed the Introduction to the new book that will be titled Temple Dog Soldier, or would like to see several chapters of it that are available for free online, go to the Puppy website Blog section. This is a book in progress. You will be reading it as it is being created! Just like you, I don’t know what the next chapter is going to be about until it is written. As the Intro will tell you, this is a totally true story—and probably the only book ever written by and about a corpse journeying completely around the world!

Not There Yet

I hope you are happy and healthy. I am still in Kathmandu, currently coming back from a severe dog bite, a few weeks of loose-stomach problems that fried my brain with dehydration, and attempting to recover from it all with construction noise in the apartment beneath me that sounded like an industrial jack hammer performing a lobotomy through a skull with a thick steel plate in it. The experience has turned me into a mildly shell-shocked, part-time short-tempered asshole. I have now moved back to the lovely Pema Boutique Hotel, into a room that is quieter and more amenable. Rapid progress is being made both mentally and physically. Meanwhile, the following seems to be an appropriate post—and will be a piece within the new book-in-progress. I hope it gives you a good laugh. Laughter, as the old saying goes, may well be the best medicine. Back to more about Love, Dharma, Nuns, and Lamas next week.
                                                                  Be well. Love, Tenzin
***p.s. As always, if you find these weekly bits bothersome, let me know and I’ll stop sending them to you. If you find the reading at all enjoyable, please—it literally takes only seconds—click one or more or all of the highlighted backlinks following this paragraph. This simple process is completely without risk, cost, or difficulty. All it does is bring you to the site that is highlighted. Each click is a big help in pushing Fearless Puppy up in the Google rankings. Whether you browse the sites or close the windows immediately, your help has been delivered when you click. Thank you! FEARLESS PUPPY WEBSITE BLOG FEARLESS PUPPY ON AMERICAN ROAD/AMAZON PAGEREINCARNATION THROUGH COMMON SENSE/AMAZON PAGEFEARLESS WEBSITE

                                                                           NOT THERE YET            

A friend of mine in America told me he was interested in finding out more about Buddhism. I directed him to the closest meditation center, and told him which day and at what time to catch the best meditation for beginners.          

We spoke again a week later. He told me, “The meditation was cool. Some of the people were nice—but some weren’t so nice at all! I thought they all were supposed to be Buddhists, and be like mellow and friendly all the time!?!”           

I asked him, “Does everyone who goes to your church act like Jesus all the time? People go to these places because they want to become something that they haven’t already become. They want to get somewhere, but they aren’t there yet. If everyone was already there, there wouldn’t be much need for churches or temples or mosques or synagogues—and for that matter there wouldn’t be much need for police forces, armies, jails, mental institutions, or many other unfortunate things.”           

His eyes opened wide with sudden revelation. It never occurred to him that everyone going to a Buddhist center was not a Buddha! He is not alone in this innocent ignorance.            

Many folks take it for granted that people within their own faith have, to say the least, not attained the exalted spiritual stature of their icons. They figure that falling short of the spiritual high mark is a sign of normalcy, and that being forgiven for this comes with the package. But for some reason it is harder for many folks to accept it when adherents of other faiths aren’t successfully living up to their own creeds. In my experience, this judgment is heaped upon the Buddhists more than it is heaped upon the followers of any other faith. Perhaps it is Buddha’s serenity, reputation for unsurpassed wisdom, and the mystical, exotic nature of the East that makes people in this troubled world think that every sheep in the flock is actually wearing The Buddha’s wool.           

I think I can help here. I think I can do my little part to put an end to that misconception. Here is something that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am definitely a not-there-yet Buddhist. These are a couple of short bits from the very short section (only these two pieces!) of the new book-in-progress. I call the section, Better Pissed Off Than Pissed On. You may notice that both bits are in a general style and rhythm that I have to thank Jeff Foxworthy for.                                                                                 

for my “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” friends                        You Might Be A…

If you are a woman (or a man with a wife, girlfriend, mother, or sister that you love) and you like a guy who says he can “grab pussy” and get away with it because he is famous         

You might be a schizophrenic

If you love, pray to, worship, revere, or even just respect the Prince of Peace but support carpet bombing that murders thousands of innocent goat herders who don’t even know where America is on a map while it is trying to kill a few psychotic fanatics                    

You might be a schizophrenic

If you think that using the words Democrat or Republican puts you on the just and moral side of any argument         

You might be a schizophrenicIf you think that unnecessary oil pipelines or any other ventures proven to poison the water of your fellow citizens are fine and dandy as long as your personal drinking water is pure                     

You might be a schizophrenic (and are obviously a self-centered asshole)

If you think it is a good idea to spend all your country’s money destroying strangers overseas while your own country’s infrastructure collapses before your very eyes, then either you don’t know what “infrastructure” means or         

You might be a schizophrenic (and are probably a bit slow-witted too)

If you tell me I can’t speak whatever way I want to speak about a country that constantly brags about “giving” its citizens “the right” to free speech         

You are very obviously a schizophrenicIf you worship a God that hates the same people you do          You are the text-book definition of schizophrenic

If you are writing about how life in America has gotten schizophrenic instead of having fun and helping to make things better in whatever way you can         

You may be discovering just how contagious schizophrenia can be                                                                                                                 

Go Fuck Yourself
If you think some mythical cartoon character from someone else’s ancient imagination is going to ride in on a white horse or fly in on a cloud at the last minute to save us from the results of things we knew all along were wrong but kept on doing anyway,

go fuck yourself.

If you care when The Cowboys are torturing The Redskins on the football field but don’t care that it happened in real life,

go fuck yourself.

If these phrases are part of your life: “Ethics don’t apply to business,” “That’s just the way it is,” “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,”

go fuck yourself.

If you would step over a hundred hungry and homeless people to get to a charity benefit at the country club,

go fuck yourself.

If you like Black music, clothing, slang, style, and cool, but you distrust or despise Black people whom you pass on the street—even though you have never personally met those individuals,

go fuck yourself.

If you’ve never given a moment’s thought to the difference between being self-centered (in the negative sense) and being centered in self (in the positive sense)—well, that happens. A lot of us just don’t get exposed to those kinds of notions. But if you don’t think about it now,

go fuck yourself.

If you work all day at a job you don’t like to make money you don’t need to buy things you don’t want in order to impress people you don’t really care about,

well, you’ve already fucked yourself.

If you are the kind of person who would put a venomous chapter called “Go Fuck Yourself” in what is otherwise a perfectly good book,

go fuck yourself.

Many thanks to our wonderful friends at Pema Boutique Hotel for their help and support. ***The books Fearless Puppy On American Road and Reincarnation Through Common Sense by this same author are also available through Amazon or the Fearless Puppy website, where there are sample chapters from those books. Entertaining TV/radio interviews with and newspaper articles about the author are also available there. There is no charge for anything but the complete books! All author profits from book sales will be donated to help sponsor an increase in the number of wisdom professionals on Earth, beginning with but certainly not limited to Buddhist monks and nuns.        
***If you missed the Introduction to the new book that will be titled Temple Dog Soldier, or would like to see several chapters of it that are available for free online, go to the Puppy website Blog section. This is a book in progress. You will be reading it as it is being created! Just like you, I don’t know what the next chapter is going to be about until it is written. As the Intro will tell you, this is a totally true story—and probably the only book ever written by and about a corpse journeying completely around the world!

We Don’t Crack!

Stupaville Don’t Crack

There is a popular expression in Black America that goes, “Black don’t crack.” The concept, of course, is that after suffering centuries of every imaginable brutal abuse, in a country they physically built but were never allowed to feel at home in, Black folks as a unit have developed an unbreakable resiliency.
The great comedienne Wanda Sykes recently produced a line that gave us a laugh, but is actually too true to be called a joke. Speaking of the president who has fanned the flames of race-related tragedies and so many other American disasters during the past few years, she said, “I can’t believe this motherfucker cracked black! That’s not supposed to happen! He actually cracked black!”
The situation in Nepal is at least as bad, economically and medically, as it is everywhere else. But Stupaville still don’t crack! This roughly ten square block neighborhood that I live in contains at least five large monasteries housing well over a thousand monks and nuns, as well as one of the holiest structures in the Eastern hemisphere. There are a whole lot more Buddhist monks, nuns, and monasteries, as well as Hindu Temples and holy people, in the surrounding city and mountains.
I’m guessing there are about two thousand or so people that aren’t monks or nuns who live in this Boudha Stupa section of Kathmandu, Nepal. They go to work or school every morning like the rest of us. But they all have a bit of happiness and decorum about them that the monks, nuns, and overall cultural influences here are responsible for.
Some of these people have lost their jobs and homes as well as loved ones. Many businesses are closed permanently and for sale. The main income for most business in this relatively affluent neighborhood has previously come from the tourist traffic. That tourist traffic has been nonexistent for almost a year.
It is amazing how many local people still walk around with the kind of internally generated happiness that can only come from a deep faith in the inevitable. They also maintain a strong sense of cooperative community among themselves, and are more grateful for their remaining advantages than they are grieved about those advantages they have lost.
This ability to not crack in the face of severe adversity is even more amazing when you consider the circumstances. Nepal has been a fourth world country for a long time—way before the economic, social, and political manipulation of the coronavirus was even a twinkle in Pfizer’s eye. A vast majority of the folks here live without heat all winter in concrete buildings that could easily function as meat lockers. Lack of refrigeration and a less than consistent electrical service are wide spread, so the people are often chilled much more thoroughly than the meat they will be eating. Many folks were malnourished for a long time before this recent crisis, in spite of the fact that food prices are a fraction of what they are in the Western world. Tuberculosis and many other very unpleasant diseases are by no means a rarity, and the air pollution in Kathmandu is among the worst in the world.
But there is a strong sense of community in Stupaville and, I am told, throughout Nepal. This is an incredible accomplishment considering the history of the area and the diversity of the native population. There are many different sects stemming from the various kingdoms that used to occupy the Kathmandu Valley, as well as the surrounding hills, many centuries ago. These kingdoms often made brutal war as they conquered each other in the olden days. Now most of the descendants of these various small kingdoms keep up with their historical cultural heritages while coexisting peacefully with the descendants of the other tribes.
Although the country is Hindu by a very large majority, other groups are made to feel at home. There are also an exiled Tibetan Buddhist community (much of it here in Stupaville), a healthy representation of Christians, and some Muslim devotees. There seems to be another New Year’s Day celebration here every other month! Each culture has its own. But there is no apparent friction, and a good deal of very visible mutual respect between the tribes these days. People of all sects greet each other with a “Namaste” and the palms of both hands joined in front of their chests. The popular translation of the word Namaste is “I recognize the Divine within you.”
There is no need for any of these groups to have a __ Lives Matter campaign. Police brutality is relatively infrequent and equally distributed among all the people when it does happen. Beggars work several streets in Stupaville. Some are in real need of food. Others just want to get drunk again. Several are scamming to pay the mortgage on a condo in India. Some can be aggressive and follow a potential contributor for blocks, hoping to break him or her down. In previous seasons, when tourists jammed every street, a beggar could make a lot of money by employing this annoying persistence.
Not everyone contributes to them, but I haven’t heard anyone yelling “Leave me alone and get a job, you bum” even once during the near year that I’ve been here. The folks with homes and jobs are polite, if not helpful, to their beggars as well as to each other. Folks here seem to universally recognize that the divine lives in all creatures, no matter how well disguised it may be at times.
The world seems to be changing more rapidly and severely than ever before. It is certainly changing more rapidly and severely than it ever has during our little lifetimes. Whether the Boudha Stupa neighborhood will ever become a Wanda Sykes joke is an ongoing question. But life here in Stupaville, at least for the time being, is still a celebration that stays strong enough to carry around joy in the present and a sweet hope for the future.
I hope it is where you are.
***If you missed the Introduction to the book that will be titled Temple Dog Soldier and contain the above chapter, or would like to see several other chapters that are available for free online, go to the Fearless Puppy website Blog section. This is a book in progress. You are reading it as it is being created! Just like you, I don’t know what the next chapter is going to be about until it is written. As the Intro will tell you, this is a totally true story—and probably the only book ever written by and about a corpse making a complete journey around the world! **The books Fearless Puppy On American Road and Reincarnation Through Common Sense by this same author are also available through the website or Amazon. (See all the 5 reviews there!) There are also sample chapters from both books at the website. Very entertaining tv/radio interviews with, and newspaper articles about, the author are also available there. There is no charge for anything but the complete books! All author profits from book sales will be donated to help sponsor an increase in the number of wisdom professionals on Earth, beginning with but certainly not limited to Buddhist monks and nuns.

Short But Sweet

Mr. Mee and Ms. Kumnung
Mr. Mee and Ms. Kumnung are my best friends in the Temple. He is a Monk student. She is a Nun’s assistant and lay disciple. That means she does all the things a Nun student would do but is not planning to actually become one. Neither Mee nor Kumnung drink alcohol, have sex, eat after noon, or partake in many of the things that most of us would consider daily habits, pleasures, or even necessities. They are both happy.
They are like parents, a brother and sister, and friends to me. They help me with my language handicap and never call me “farang.” We eat together and breathe together. When one of us leaves the Temple grounds, we miss each other. I go out from the Temple grounds often. They rarely leave at all. In spite of my financial destitution, I always share tobacco with Mr. Mee and make special efforts to get sweets for Ms. Kumnung. She smiles when I come back from town, whether I’m carrying sweets for her or not. I would miss a hundred meals just to see that smile once.
Mr. Mee is the James Brown of our Temple home. Just like the late, great “hardest working man in show business,” he is constantly making an effort. With tools that would be considered more of a liability than an asset in the Western world, he gets everything done. Raking, hoeing, planting, painting, studying, and cleaning—he does it all and more. There is no lawn mower here. He mows the large lawn with a scythe and scissors.
Neither of these people ever complains about anything although more often than not there are no sweets, and some days we have no money for rolling papers. Mr. Mee and I often make our cigarettes from shreds of calendar paper and donated tobacco.
Mee and Kumnung always try to understand me. This takes all their patience, but they somehow never run out of it. There is very little I wouldn’t do for them and it seems they each feel the same way toward me.
Mr. Mee has enough scars on his arm from heroin addiction to have scared the shit out of Kurt Cobain and Lenny Bruce.
Ms. Kumnung has both heart and lung malfunctions. She takes more prescription medication than any nursing home resident I’ve ever met.
Mee and Kumnung are married. They shared the same bed for eight years before coming to the Temple to sleep apart.
I guess they think things are better this way.
FROM THE BOOK REINCARNATION THROUGH COMMON SENSE “Reincarnation Through Common Sense is a true-story travel adventure book about rural Asian Buddhist Monks and Nuns adopting a very troubled soul from Brooklyn, New York. Westerners have written many books about living in Asian temples. None are like this crazy true story! The main character’s life runs through death into reincarnation without ever leaving his body. He describes this process in a manner so intimate and natural that you’ll think you are having coffee on a bar stool in the temple with him. For simplified street explanations of complex Buddhist thought, and an experience unique in comedic drama, spirituality, adventure, and sheer creativity, buy and read Reincarnation Through Common Sense.” https://www.amazon.com/Reincarnation-Through-Common-Sense-Doug/dp/0692019529

Pandemics And Root Canals and Hornets, Oh My!

August 18, 2020

                           Pandemics And Root Canals and Hornets, Oh My!
If you are anything like me, then after eighty days in near-solitary confinement watching your species go insane with panic over this century’s bubonic plague while powerful sociopaths culturally engineer and blatantly gaslight democracy out of existence—you need some diversion. After seeing Murder Hornets invade Washington State while socially crippling racism and mindless riots vent lifetimes of both righteous indignation and misdirected anger as they swallow your homeland’s last remaining shred of integrity—you need some excitement! How about finding a working dentist that has First World dental knowledge, in a Fourth World country, during a lockdown where people are afraid to even shake hands much less put those hands into each other’s mouths? Doesn’t a bunch of root canals sounds like just the ticket while waiting for this whole thing to turn the corner and actually become the zombie apocalypse we’ve all been anxiously awaiting? Can you think of a more fun-filled activity, during a time in history when clinical depression is considered a normal reaction, than a procedure many sadists view as their go-to form of torture? Well, I certainly can’t!
It seems my teeth can’t either. The few natural teeth left in my mouth have gone rogue. They scream like mindless infants among the many silent, space-age implants housed in the rest of my jawbone. The pain has distracted me from both the hash pipe induced hibernation and the golden meditations. It is one of the very few things that could ever inspire me to attempt what seems to be the impossible—finding a high level professional with a strong knowledge of cutting edge procedures and sterile, modern equipment in a country where I don’t know a single word of the native language. This dentist needs to be willing to risk exposure to potential plague by diving into a foreigner’s mouth. The foreigner is from the nation with the world’s highest plague-related death toll. This has to happen in a world that has completely shut down, and in a part of that world where the phrase “strong knowledge of cutting edge procedures and sterile, modern equipment ” has never been part of the vocabulary.
Sometimes you get lucky. Doctor Samdup at Mon Lam dental clinic has an Internet presence that includes an email address. He answers emails quickly, and opens his office for emergencies even during a pandemic. During our first meeting, he shows more than enough dental knowledge and humanity to inspire my confidence. He seems to be a wonderful and very talented person. Dr. Samdup’s office has only one other employee. His younger brother, Chungdak, is his dental assistant since the dentist lost his actual assistant when she returned to her village as lockdown began. Chungdak seems to know his way around a dental office pretty well. Tibetan refugee families, and Nepali families in general, are very tightly knit. He has no doubt been watching his elder brother very closely since birth.
There is a high risk in this situation, but it doesn’t involve the dentist. It is with the administration that controls the opening and mandatory closing of businesses, such as the  laboratory that makes the crowns. There is a five day wait after the root canal procedures before lack of infection is verified. This verification allows the remains of the teeth to safely accept crowns. The lab makes the crowns during that five day gap. Teeth lose core strength when the central nerve (root) is extracted. Nothing is left in the middle but a vacant canal. Teeth in that condition, without strong permanent crowns offering a protective cover, could shatter. If there is a sudden forced shut down of the lab, the results could be disastrous. Decisions such as whether or not to shut businesses down are often made on-the-fly amidst the uncharted waters that have engulfed our lives in 2020.
Many administrative authorities around the world, within government and business alike, have shown confusion about what appropriate Corona procedure is and how to implement it. Actions that affect everyone everywhere are sometimes instituted by very small groups of folks doing guesswork in offices and boardrooms. They can’t be altogether blamed for this. Political and social as well as medical functions are all on new ground.
Some authorities also show more concern for the control and social engineering of their constituents than for the well-being of those people.
We all suffer a shortage of accurate information, not just government and business. There also, at times, seems to be a lack of knowledge as to what to do with accurate information, even if it appears in a very recognizable form.
Authority often has an unfortunate abundance of confidence without clarity. To be fair, so do many folks that aren’t in authority. Confidence, when tainted by pride and ignorance, will not allow its host to admit just how little he or she actually and accurately knows. This can result in some half-baked and counterproductive decision making.
All these factors are currently making life on Earth very unpredictable.
Again, sometimes you get lucky.
The lab stays open and everything goes smoothly. Two short weeks after first entering the Mon Lam dental clinic, I discover that it is possible to have fun getting four root canal procedures done, as well as a tooth pulled. Doctor Samdup seems to have the heart of Mother Teresa, the knowledge of a scholar, and the skill of a top level dental surgeon.
Those of you residing in the Western world will think this is a misprint. It is not. Four root canals, four crowns, and one extraction costs a total of  less than five hundred U.S. dollars here. The same procedures and prosthetics anywhere in America would cost somewhere between five and thirteen thousand dollars. It is very unlikely that the dentist performing these procedures in America would be any more talented than Dr. Samdup of the Boudha section of Kathmandu.
There are a lot of older foreigners with dental issues here. I recommend Dr. Samdup to all of them.
Holy Shit, I Really Am Dead!
Here is something even more bizarre than root canals during a zombie apocalypse! I have been severely, abnormally sensitive to cold for many years. Some friends say that I was spawned by a lizard, cobra, or other cold-blooded reptile. When most other people wear shorts and a T-shirt, I am in a sweatshirt and cap. In addition, I often claim to be already dead and that this book is being written by a corpse. As you know, doctors said the death part would happen by now.
These light-hearted comments have just tripped over their own feet. As it turns out, both of these chuckles seem to be a very different type of funny than anyone could have ever suspected.
Having seen and experienced more trauma than most people do in several lifetimes, I don’t freak out easily or often. But I am a little freaked now.
The monastery café that serves free lunch to trapped tourists is required by the government to keep people at least three feet apart while waiting in line at the steam tables, make sure each person keeps a mask on except while eating, and keep each person seated at a different table. Management is also required to welcome diners by putting a thermometer to the skin of each person before they are allowed to enter the first gate.
If you have a fever, there is another series of procedures.
Fever is not my problem. Usually, my friend Mr. Dawa or the lovely Ms. Diki just press the thermometer up to my head and say, “you’re fine.” Then I proceed to the mandatory hand washing and line waiting. Last week Dawa showed the thermometer to me. It said 90 degrees. I advised him to get a new thermometer as either his was broken or he was talking with one of the undead. He held that thermometer to his own and several other people’s heads. The readings were all between 96 degrees and 99 degrees. We have tried this little experiment five times during the past two weeks. Each time my temperature runs between 88 and 94°. This is cross-checked each day against several people, and always registers them between 96 and 99°!
There is no apparent explanation for this. It now appears that this book actually is being written by a corpse. For all my joking about “the zombie apocalypse,” I never thought of myself as one of the zombies!
A Nice Thought
“We suffer a serious disease as well as all the terrible human mismanagement, political and economic manipulation, fear mongering, gaslighting, social engineering, and other assorted criminal greed that is flying into our lives on the tailwinds of this virus. What if these are the abusive parents of the beautiful happening that we’ve been talking about and waiting for all of our lives? Could all this madness just be the last dying gasp of the old paradigm and its disappearing architects? Is their organized confusion and grasping at regressive straws just a sign that the old ways are fading to make room for a new, more compassionate, much more common-sensible sanity—a sanity that may come to us as soon as the dust from all the insanity settles? There may be some real ugliness in the tunnel, but the light at the end of it could be the birthplace of a near-utopian legend. As we keep our inner lights burning brightly right now, no matter how dark it temporarily seems to be outside, our better possibilities gather strength on their road to becoming tomorrow’s realities.”  Tenzin Kharma Trinley
MORE TO COME ON Nepal, photos of ancient spiritual and historical sites, people, culture, and more—if you want it. If not let me know and I will take you off the mailing list right away.
***If you missed the Introduction to the book that will be titled Temple Dog Soldier and contain the above chapters, or would like to see several other chapters that are available for free online, go to the Puppy website Blog section at http://www.fearlesspuppy.info (If you only have time for a bit, scroll down 6 or 7 pieces to the most important bit. It is titled What I Have Learned So Far.) This is a book in progress. You are reading it as it is being created! Just like you, I don’t know what the next chapter is going to be about until it is written. As the Intro will tell you, this is a totally true story—and probably the only book ever written about a dead man’s journey around the world!
***The books Fearless Puppy On American Road and Reincarnation Through Common Sense by this same author are also available through the

http://www.fearlesspuppy.info website, as are sample chapters from those books. Very entertaining tv/radio interviews with, and newspaper articles about, the author are also available there. There is no charge for anything but the complete books! All author profits from book sales will be donated to help sponsor an increase in the number of wisdom professionals on Earth, beginning with but certainly not exclusive to Buddhist monks and nuns.

MAGIC FOR BREAKFAST!

Moving On
In spite of the beauty and history, the friendliness of the people, and what may be the most inexpensive cost of living on Earth, it is time to leave Cambodia.
After a week or two in Nepal to break up the long trip, Spain is the next goal. The cost of living is bound to be more expensive in Spain, but I speak the language enough to carry on basic conversations with the locals there. The frustration of conversations ending with a first smile instead of beginning with one can cause devastating loneliness, even in a strong-minded traveler. A sixty-eight year old person is isolated enough when going around the world alone. Most individual world travelers are much younger. They are zip lining and night clubbing. The older ones usually travel in tightly knit tour groups. Not being able to speak with locals hammers a big, uncomfortable nail into communication’s coffin and can put a damper on an otherwise joyful trip.
On To Nepal
You may remember my friend Neil from the Netherlands, described in an earlier chapter. Before leaving for home, he advised me that help getting through customs and security at the Siem Reap airport was available through his connections. He sets it all up from Holland by phone. I get a ride to the airport in a Lexus from Neill’s Cambodian business partner, and am guided through check-in and customs by one of his friends that works at the airport. Neill continues to be a godsend, even from several thousand miles away.
It is great flight with wonderful crews on Silk/Singapore airlines. A Nepali couple fill the two seats next to me on the second plane. They are very sociable. We speak for hours as if we have known each other for years. Dayal and Orina live in Pokhara, about five and a half hours outside of Kathmandu. Oddly enough, their city has just been highly recommended to me. A good friend in America with Nepali traveling experience emailed just the previous day to say that, considering my health concerns, I should leave Kathmandu as quickly as possible and get to the lakeside Himalayan beauty of Pokhara. I tell Dayal and Orina to expect me within a couple of days. They are very happy about that and looking forward to my arrival.
A Terrible Beginning To A Wonderful Experience
Kathmandu, Nepal has the certified worst air quality on the planet Earth. Oxygen has color and texture here. The temperature is currently running between thirty and fifty degrees colder than Cambodia. I reserve a hotel room near the famous Boudhanath Stupa, and am guaranteed three times in three different emails from the manager that it has efficient heat.
When I step off the plane after the all day trip from Cambodia by way of Singapore, a hotel representative and driver are waiting with a sign that says, “Mr. Tenzin. Mandala Hotel.” So far, so good. Upon arrival at the hotel, I find that they have no heat in the rooms. The manager is gone for the night, so there is no way to confront him. It is too late to get anywhere else. Being out of options, I crawl into bed figuring death is imminent but at least my exit will be peaceful. Death ignores my invitation and sends suffering to take its place. All night shivering while fully dressed replaces sleep. Fiery anger with the dishonest manager is brewing in my cauldron. Anger is almost always poison, but in this case it may have raised my blood pressure enough to save me from illness.
When the manager that sent me the “we definitely have heat” emails comes in the next morning, I give him a massive tirade of shit and feel no guilt about it. It is loud and severe! Employees are staring around corners and folks look in from neighboring shops to catch the show. The word “fuck” is used more times in this five minutes than I have used it in any other five minutes since my early teenage years in Brooklyn. I tell the guy that if I die from this episode, Italians from New York are going to visit him. To his credit, he finds me a hotel with heat and has his people help carry my bags to it. The Pema Boutique Hotel is what I pictured the Mandala would be like. It is heated and clean. They are both about the same price, but the Mandala has cost me a lot more in terms of health problems and aggravation. It takes two days and gallons of hot tea to thaw out my lungs and get rid of the chill.
There are valid reasons why this situation is so serious. For the first time since twelve years old, I haven’t had any ganja for four days in a row. This has me more than a little tweaky. The forty-two hundred feet altitude and 30some degree low temperatures here would be a shocking change to anyone’s system compared with the sea level altitude and 70some degree lows that I just came from hours ago. These problems are piled on top of jet lag and the ever present fact that doctors had already labeled me a walking corpse a full year before starting this trip around the globe. The in-room heat most Americans take for granted is a real concern here in the third world.
The situation is well remedied in the next venue. If you are ever in Kathmandu, do yourself a favor and stay at The Pema Boutique Hotel on Phulbari Street. The place is as nice as any in the Stupa area and the staff is incredible. I’ve been in hundreds of hotels, motels, and hostels during my life, but never at one staffed with better people than those working here. Nikky is the manager. He does everything possible to insure the health and comfort of his guests. Power went out in the whole ten block Stupa area and Nikky spent a half hour rigging up the heater in my room with extension cords and batteries. Wangmo is Nikky’s sister and seems to be the hotel’s administrator. I immediately take her presence as a good omen for a few reasons. She is kind, honest, clever, and has a giant Beatles sticker on the front of her computer.
The food here is good and the service is great. This is due to a fine cook and wonderful staff that is fronted by two very special people. Bishnu is the young lady usually at the front desk. She is lovely, efficient, speaks English fluently, and has a patient smile that never fades. Passang is the 20some year old go-to guy. He is the main waiter in the restaurant, the room service person, and the main housekeeping person. He works fifteen hours a day, six days per week, without ever losing his happy, personable, pleasant attitude. I think of him more as a younger brother than a hotel staff member. The staff is rounded out by Tashi and several other young ladies. Each is as beautiful in character as they are in physical appearance.
Daytime In Magicville
With the preliminary disaster behind me, I step out into a spiritual paradise. The giant Boudhanath Stupa is in the middle of it all. A Stupa could be very loosely described as a dome-shaped Buddhist monument containing holy relics. The word Stupa is literally translated from the Sanskrit language into English as “heap.” Stupa structures actually pre-date Buddhism as burial mounds for relics as well as people. There are many levels of symbolism associated with the structure. All the earthly elements are represented. The building has a solid square base that represents earth. The hemispherical dome represents water. A cone shaped spire above the dome represents fire. There is a lotus parasol and crescent moon at the top representing air. Giant eyes painted on the dome represent the all-seeing wisdom ability of Buddha. The nose represents Nirvana, the liberation from suffering. It is in the shape of the Nepali character for the number 1, signifying universal unity. A whole book could be written about the various representations and interpretations of Stupa symbols! Perhaps the most important of these is that Stupas are considered to be a representation of the enlightened mind of all the Buddhas.
The Boudhanath Stupa is thought by many to be the mother of them all. Many folks feel there is a magic in the structure itself. Others feel that the building’s power stems from generations of human energy being fed into it. Reverence, devotion, prayers, and aspirations have been inspired by and fed into this structure for over a dozen centuries—and not just by visitors, pilgrims, and local passersby. Many spiritual professionals wearing robes live in the several monasteries surrounding it. They have been on the job for their entire lives. There is no denying the intensity of the structure itself, the intensity that radiates between the building and its devotees, or the energy that permeates the entire surrounding neighborhood.
On the grounds are a few hundred people, nearly a third of them monks and nuns, walking around the structure in a clockwise direction. Many of them are working rosary prayer beads and reciting mantras as they walk. A mantra is a short phrase containing the message associated with a particular deity. Continuous repetition of this phrase not only instills its qualities into the person speaking it, but is simultaneously directed toward the benefit of everything alive. For example, “Om Mani Padme Hum” is the mantra associated with Chenrezig, the deity of compassion. Continuous repetition of it fosters compassionate tendencies within the person pronouncing the phrase as well as sending those tendencies out into the world. There are varied opinions about which end of this equation is actually in play. Some think that a compassionate energy is actually projected into the atmosphere in the manner of a positive spell being cast. Others feel that the person pronouncing and absorbing these positive thoughts then passes the benefits on to the world through their actions, which are upgraded due to a strong association with the mantra’s message. The evidence I have seen supports the possibility that both opinions are true to at least some extent. To exactly what extent may depend upon the length and depth of experience, and the strength of motivation, in the practitioner.
I join the walk around the building.
The sound of monks chanting, blowing giant ceremonial trumpets, and beating drums seems to be coming from everywhere. It is. There are temples in all directions. The air is thick with an electrical vibration of elevated consciousness and compassion that I can physically feel as a swelling in my heart. It also feels like I am walking in slow motion as if through deep water, but with a lightness and lack of labor. This otherworldly experience seems out of my control. It is overpowering enough to draw tears from my eyes. A child brushes against me. According to his father’s watch, I have been walking around the Stupa in a trance for an hour. There is no way to tell how many times I have gone around it, but the crowd has grown since my trance began. A sea of people from around the world, many clothed in outfits that match the red-wine colored robes of the monks and nuns walking with them, flow around the Stupa structure. They are both engulfed in and creating the massive vibration, like the current within a river.
The flow of people that surrounds the Stupa is itself surrounded by a ring of shops. Most of them deal in Buddhist artifacts, masks, paintings, and Nepali souvenirs. Streets feed into that ring of shops from every direction. Like the spokes of a wheel, they branch out to create the neighborhood.
I float up to one of the rooftop Stupa-view cafés in the primary ring of shops. There is no way to be sure whether or not it is the same one filmed in the Keanu Reeves Little Buddha movie. Imagination tells me that it is. A strong cup of coffee there helps bring me back to Earth a bit—but certainly not altogether.
Love and Medicine For Breakfast
I will try to describe the rest of the Kathmandu experience in terms that are as grounded as possible. I don’t want to sound like a person whose LSD experiences never wore off. But the truth is that the baffling energy of the Stupa and the folks that frequent it spreads throughout this whole neighborhood and doesn’t seem to ever fade or weaken. The Pema Boutique Hotel is only a few blocks up one of the adjoining streets that act as spokes in the neighborhood wheel with the Stupa as its central hub. If you are anywhere within that wheel, you are engulfed in and become part of its motion, as it seems I have.
Next Morning
The next morning starts with the breakfast that is included in the price of the room. It might be the best breakfast available anywhere. Guests are offered a choice of American, Chinese, or Himalayan breakfast sets. I go with the flow and pick the Himalayan. It contains more food than one person could possibly eat and includes porridge (oatmeal) with honey, nuts and raisins, tsampa (a traditional Himalayan barley flour dough), a scrambled egg, a bit of well flavored spinach, Indian bread, mildly curried potato soup, fruit juice, and the option of cappuccino, coffee, or tea.
I eat seated at the front window counter of the hotel with a full view of the action on the street. The folks passing by are a very beautiful collection of humans. Besides the regular type of physical beauty, many seem to have a glow or radiance about them. Many are working their prayer beads and reciting mantras on the way to the Stupa. An old lady walks by with a limp. I project Medicine Buddha mantras in her direction.
There is no way to tell if the old lady feels it, but it feels so good to me that I continue to do it toward everyone walking by on the street. About halfway through breakfast, it clicks in that most of the people already look healthy. They don’t really need Medicine Buddha! I had been listening to the Beatles singing All You Need Is Love on the computer in my room while getting ready to come down for breakfast, and so switch the mantra to the “Love, love, love” phrase from the song.
Yes, folks, I realize that an ex-junkie from Brooklyn, New York sitting in a window in the middle of Asia casting love spells on everybody passing by in the street sounds a little fucking nuts—but that’s what this neighborhood can do to a person! And the more you think about it, the less strange it sounds. Being in a war zone will likely turn anyone defensively violent and keep them in a constant state of fear. The nicest of people can turn into a raging beast when life-threatening danger is in the air. Being in Stupaville fosters the attitude of projecting positive energy at any and everything that is alive. This sort of thing only sounds weird to most of us because we have spent much of our lives being on guard, stressed, and competitive instead of loving, comfortable, and cooperative.
The positivity in the atmosphere is largely, but certainly not solely, about the influence of all the monks and nuns in the area. Every one here, not just the spiritual professionals, is warm, friendly, and helpful—even when it doesn’t involve any obvious profit for them. It is also very apparent that the girls and women seem less nervous around white men than they are in Cambodia. Maybe this is true because they have seen more of our spiritually oriented gentlemen, and less of our bombings and sexual tourism.
But as much as I love Nepal and want to see more of this country, it is time to go. It is very chilly and wet at this time of year, the concrete buildings radiate the cold, the electricity cuts out often and takes the heating systems with it, it isn’t altogether safe to eat a salad, the air quality is as dangerous as the weather, and there is no access to the dietary needs, vitamins, medicinal supplements, and other resources necessary for an old ailing Westerner to stay alive. Spain has constant sunshine, warmer temperatures, more reliable electricity, healthy Mediterranean food options—and I speak enough Spanish to hold a conversation with locals. I will certainly miss what, in less than a week and in spite of all its material shortcomings, has become my favorite place on Earth. It would be wonderful to return in the warmer season, but for now it seems like this old man’s survival is dependent upon getting to some warm sunshine and greater resources. If I had discovered Nepal when eighteen years old, my last fifty years would have been spent right here. But old age brings with it a degree of physical fragility and restriction, as well as the wisdom to recognize and obey it. A person in my condition may go to sleep here and, if the electricity cuts out during the night, might wake up with a long painful illness—or not wake up at all.
PUT A DOUBLE LINE SPACE HERE IN THE ACTUAL BOOK
There is a distinct line between courage and stupidity. I am going to erase that line. Those two commonsensible paragraphs above about leaving immediately for Spain were written last night. They still make a lot of sense, but I can’t bring myself to leave Nepal. Every time I walk out on the street, my brain experiences a joyful explosion and I start laughing at nothing just from being around the people here.
Of course this Stupa neighborhood is a particularly consecrated area, and likely unique within Nepal as well as being unique on Earth. Even the rest of this city is probably quite a bit different. The Stupa is universally regarded as an international treasure, is a certified World Heritage landmark, and one of the holiest places in the world for Buddhists and Hindus alike. Besides that, it is now Losar (Tibetan New Year) week—so the vibe is likely stepped up even a notch further than usual. Every time the thought of leaving pops up, I cry like an abandoned baby. Part of that feeling, and the rest of my personal emotional circus, is no doubt the result of not smoking ganja for an entire week for the first time in fifty years, culture shock, and all the other variations in life that are being dealt with. But there is a lot more to it than that. Every day I go out and kiss the sky like Jimi Hendrix. Every night I punch up plane and hotel reservations for Spain, but can never bring myself to push that last button and finalize them. Whether it is a case of courage or a case of stupidity, I’m going to be here a bit longer. If I die before finishing this book, or even the next section of it, know that I love you and have loved being able to write for you. This will be true no matter where in the world my body gets left behind. But this feeling, like all feelings, is a little stronger here in heaven.
PUT A DOUBLE LINE SPACE HERE IN THE ACTUAL BOOK
Losar Day
Today is Losar, the Tibetan new year. It includes going to temple with family as well as public festivities. The Tibetan New Year’s celebration lasts for several days. When I hit the lobby for breakfast on this Losar Day One, Nikky, Wangmo, and much of the hotel crew, along with several of their family members, are present and dressed like royalty. They are even more smiley and sweet than usual, if that is possible. The streets are lined with people in their finest and most colorful regalia. If Walt Disney was still alive, even he would stand back in awe of the spectacle.
My positive-energy-projection-toward-the-street shtick is being done from the front window counter of the hotel without even thinking about it anymore. It happens on automatic pilot. After breakfast, I head toward the Stupa and watch as the entire massive structure is painted. This happens every New Year’s Day. It has been cold and raw since my arrival in Kathmandu, but even the sun has come out in force for this festive occasion. So have folks from all over Nepal and the world. A 20some year old named Milabuddha sits next to me on a bench by the Stupa. He is from another part of Nepal. Mila starts a conversation and then takes a selfie of us on his phone. The friendliness of the people here continues to astound me. It will be very interesting to travel elsewhere in Nepal and see if this friendliness is a national habit. Being in the Stupa neighborhood is somewhat like being in church. Visitors are on their most noble behavior.
But for the thousands of people that actually live here, their most noble behavior is way of life—and the animals on the Stupa grounds are just as amazing as the humans! A couple of dozen dogs, by far and away the most conscious, mellowest, and sweetest animals in the world, surround the Stupa. They seem to belong to no one and everyone. These canines seem more human than many actual biological humans. They also seem to have a sharp intelligence, a kind of radar and sense of premonition.
A white one sits himself in front of the bench that me and Milabuddha are on. A man walks in our direction and starts to approach a woman two benches away with his hand out. The man looks more hungover than hungry. He has an air of snarling surliness about him that I can feel from a distance. He isn’t doing anything loud, crazy, or even noticeably different than other folks—but to me the energy radiating from him seems to stand out like a sore thumb within this otherwise serene atmosphere. The white dog feels it too. He bolts up and darts himself between that man and the woman on the bench. White dog barks as if his master’s house is on fire! The man backs off and walks away quickly. The dog continues to bark at the ornery man’s heels for twenty yards or so until both are well out of range of the benches. White dog then simply lays down silently by the Stupa. This creature seems to be in a meditation, as do all the canines in the area. These animals lay around as if they are reincarnated saints that have earned the right to relax in heaven for a lifetime—unless there is a situation that calls them to action.
Several hundred of the most well fed pigeons in the world have their own corner of the Stupa grounds. Locals sell grain to visitors who spread it around for the birds to eat. Any form of caring for any form of life is considered a source of blessing here.
While I’m sitting on the second floor deck of a temple building facing the Stupa, a monk comes over to talk with me. He tells me that the crowds are a lot thinner than usual for Losar this year due to the Corona virus threat. We speak about how this is just one link in a long chain of well-publicized pandemic threats that included Swine Flu, West Nile virus, Henta, Bird Flu, SARS, and so many others. I guess out loud that these maladies may be largely manufactured, or at the least exaggerated, by the media and their associates that profit from public fear. These human vultures know that scared people will pay blindly for imaginary protection from manufactured enemies. Folks in Cambodia had also complained about the sparse tourist traffic this year. They also blamed it on the disease scare (as well as on the potentially volatile political situation there). For whatever reasons, tourist traffic in Asia seems to be way down this year. The merchants, manufacturers, people who count on visitor fees and contributions, cab drivers, and so on are all suffering the result.
On the way home, I stop at Thar Lam Monastery to visit the temple that sits halfway between the Stupa and my hotel. The monks are having New Year’s badminton and volleyball tournaments! The adult monks are playing as the elder and child monks cheer from the sidelines. I sit down near a few elders to watch and am immediately approached by a young black dog with markings that make it look as if it is wearing a white necktie. The dog licks me until I fall off my seat on the narrow curb, and keeps licking as I lay on my back on the ground. The monks are laughing at me almost as hard as I am laughing at myself. The dog seems to be laughing too.
Midway through the game, I go into the temple. It is, as most of them are, a beautiful structure with a gorgeous interior composed of giant iconic Buddhist statues. The walls are painted with scenes from the historical Buddha’s life. There are offerings of yak cheese, cookies, fruit, and many other goodies stacked everywhere in obvious preparation for a later ceremony. After a short solo meditation, I head back to the hotel with a big smile on my face and the love of fearless puppies in my heart.
Much of humanity thinks that a power beyond itself will drop from the sky to help save our species. Few people are coherently concerned, consciously aware, dedicated, motivated, and common sensible enough to realize that the only way our planet will become a better planet is if we each individually put in the mental work necessary to become better people. I may be in the ten square block area of Earth that contains the highest concentration of people that are aware of this fact. There is a palpable density of love and goodwill here that is fostered internally by individuals. This internal mental work, this fostering of goodwill, is not done as a self-serving mechanism. It is motivated by and done on behalf of the entire human community. It is extremely powerful—and it seems that even the animals are involved in the process.
My experience of being here is akin to that of a thirteen-year-old baseball fanatic who has suddenly found himself living in a bed-and-breakfast planted smack in the middle of the Cooperstown Hall of Fame. I have spent almost all of my life in America. In America, many people who see soldiers in uniform approach them and say, “thank you for your service.” The soldiers are considered heroes worthy of respect and admiration. My heroes are not professional killers. My heroes are professional altruists that dedicate their lives to producing saner, kinder, more compassionate opportunities for everything that lives on this planet. My heroes are walking on the streets of Nepal, and I have a campsite in the Hall of Fame.
***If you missed the Introduction to the book that will be titled Temple Dog Soldier and contains the above chapter, or would like to see several other chapters that are available for free online, go to the Puppy website blog section at http://www.fearlesspuppy.info, or check out fearlesspuppy at WordPress.com, or send email requests to jahbuddha13@hotmail.com. This is a book in progress. You are reading it as it is being created! Just like you, I don’t know what the next chapter is going to be about until it is written. As the Intro will tell you, this is a totally true story and the only book ever written about an around the world voyage being made by a corpse!***The books Fearless Puppy On American Road and Reincarnation Through Common Sense by this same author are also available through the http://www.fearlesspuppy.info website, as are free sample chapters from those books. Very entertaining tv/radio interviews with, and newspaper articles about, the author are also available there. There is no charge for anything but the complete books! Author profits from book sales will be donated to help sponsor an increase in the number of wisdom professionals on Earth, beginning with but certainly not exclusive to Buddhist monks and nuns.