Snow flakes come down from a milky sky as light as summer dust. They make their way slowly to the frozen ground, out of my window in Brussels. As I am contemplating this scene while writing these words, the mild winter of the Kathmandu Valley seems as remote as day and night. Yet to me it feels as if I could open the door and be again right there, in the busy narrow streets of Thamel, on my way to a picturesque courtyard stupa in Patan, losing my(-)self watching at the sunrise from the dining room of Kopan Monastery.
Yes, I am back. Yet during the last 18 days I’ve made experiences, I’ve seen places and met people that will change my life completely. What I’ve lived in Nepal opened my heart wide, I got the glimpse of an awakening from which there is no return, like no other experience so far. I experience this feeling of transformation during a meditation on death in the main gompa at Kopan, in a slum of Kathmandu where a woman takes care of other mothers’ children while being herself and her family deprived of the basics. I felt the pieces of my old self getting undone while taking refuge in front of a Tibetan Lama or listening to the story of a brave Newari man who works hard to help his people cope with the aftermath of a devastating earthquake. How could my heart possibly stay the same?
Nepal gave me so much. Now it’s my turn. I’ve been blessed by life with wonderful gifts, now it’s my turn to say thank you. My parents would say those weren’t gifts but the outcome of 30 years of sacrifices and hard work I should be proud of (pride, one of the great mental poisons according to Buddhist psychology…interestingly enough, our parents are often the first manufacturers of our own ego!). But life, health, an open mind, living in times and places of peace, these are all precious gifts I got for free, without even asking for them! Nepal showed me the way to make this life meaningful.
In that holy land I embraced Buddhism and committed myself to becoming a better human being, to the benefit of all sentient beings, salting from myself. The life of the bodhisattva.
Nepal showed me how to realise my true nature, the buddhahood abiding in all of us. Enough to be grateful a lifetime long. There is so much to do.
In the next days I’ll go through my journey again, day by day, to share with you the most incredible stories. If you want to discover more and join me in helping Nepal, follow this blog.
This journey will never end.