Just spent a week on Ngondro (preliminary practices) retreat at Deer Park Institute, Bir at 1700 metres, the foothills of the himalayas. A quiet and small town with a few monasteries around. They run the institute according to eco friendly principles of recycle, reuse, solar power heating etc. Is really refreshing to be there to see that something is actually happening in India as the problems with plastic waste, rubbish and air quality is a huge mess. Daily we had teachings from Drubgyud Tenzin Rinpoche, an impressive young tulku of Sonam Sangpo.

Huge Guru Rinpoche statue overlooking the whole valley

Together with friends we took a 3 hr taxi ride to Rewalshar where the famous lake of Tso Pema is -” One version of a legend has it that the king of Mandi had Padmasambhava burnt alive after rumours that the Guru had attempted to teach his daughter the Dharma, which was not accepted then. The pyre burned for a full week, with great clouds of black smoke arising from it, but after a week, a lake appeared at the spot where he was burnt and Padmasambhava manifested himself as a 16 year old boy from within a lotus in the middle of the lake. The king, repenting his actions, married his daughter with Padmasambhava. It was from Tso Pema that Padmasambhava went to Tibet to spread Vajrayana Buddhism” (extract from wiki).

There are also a few caves where Padmasambhava & Mandarava (his Indian consort) meditated… also each leaving behind their footprints & a headprint of Padmasambhava in nearby rocks. In the same area is also a cave where Ron retreated for some time, he drew me a map of how to find it, but I think things may have changed a bit over the years, and not enought time to find it… but is a beautiful and inspiring spot so may have to venture back there. Very fast drive on the high windey road back, the 21 yr old taxi driver was chuffed to make it back in 2  1/2 hrs.

Now in McLeod Ganj, above Dharamsala where the tibetan government in exile and the H.H Dalai Lama’s residence is located  – 2000 metres high, again fresh air and great views. Lucky for me K came a few days earlier with an assignment to find friends to party with tonight, sounds like she not only found friends but had a few propositions from Indian admirers also… good going Daisy girl….