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Title image - BAI takes you to: Bhutan

Bhutan Trip Dispatch

May 31, 2008 – Farewell to the Land of the Thunder Dragon

A giant sand Mandala painting

A giant sand Mandala painting, created over 4 days in March,

iwill be destroyed and cast into the river in June.

Today is our last day in Bhutan.

It has been an amazing nine days here in the “the land of gross national happiness”. Caroline is already back in the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu and we are all thinking of the things we are eager to do when we return to those crowded, busy streets. Our flight back will be early on June 1st; we will land in Kathmandu before 9:00 AM. I think Dennis will head straight to the alleys of Thamel to visit familiar streets and wander past the pie shops, book stores and art galleries of one on Asia’s most famous tourist hang outs. Doc has at least one art gallery he wants to return to and we have many friends to see in what will be only 24 hours before our flights to Bangkok and on to Canada and the U.S. Temba’s kids are getting out of school for the summer break and it is time for him to return with them to Khumbu for the Sherpa Dumje festival season.

The sand Mandala painting in our Bhutan hotel lobby

But today we are still relaxed in the peace and harmony of this Buddhist Kingdom.

In the lobby of our hotel is a giant sand Mandala painting. Carefully colored bits of sand were arranged geometrically to represent the cycles of life by monks last March. They worked over a 4 day period beginning last March 17th. The color, symmetry and artistry of this work is astounding. It gives all the hotel guests pause as they walk past it in the lobby and as they look down on it from the upper floors of the main building. Soon after we leave, early in June, the same time that the Mani Rimdu dance festival back at the Thame Monastery in Khumbu begins, this beautiful work will be destroyed and the sand cast back into the river. The monks say that represents the impermanence and the transient nature of all beings and all forms of creation. Our emotion, perceptions of beauty, experiences today carry their own worth and merit, but the wheel of life continues and we all move along to future existence.

As our little group moves along from this land of smiles, simple life, forests, clear mountain streams and hot chilies we leave richer as we move forward for the peace we have known here.