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#3015 - Thursday, December 13, 2007 - Editor: Jerry Katz  

Nonduality Highlights - Submissions:    

Eric Chaffee is today's Guest Editor. Eric runs the Nondual Bible Verses list. The list is not active, but it's worth reading Eric's past messages.    

. . .unto all people, nations, and languages,
that dwell in all the earth;
Peace be multiplied unto you.
-Daniel 4:1

Many thanks to the editors and contributors at for all 
the inspiring issues.

Here's a small item from me in the form of a book review, and 
excerpt. While awaiting the arrival of some used books, I noticed a 
title in my wife's collection. (I rarely look there, as she reads 
mostly fiction, and I, nonfiction.) But she had a pearl of a travel 
book I'd never heard of.

by Henrich Harrer

Tarcher/Perigree Books [Putnam] NYC, 1982 link:    

This book is a gripping account of escape from p.o.w. camp in India 
early in WW2 by several men from the axis side. The author is an 
Austrian national who was a mountain climber. Their goal was to 
escape through Tibet to Japan. They spent 21 months trekking across 
Himalayan passes. The first half of the book is a very well-told 
report of struggle and survival.

The second half brings two of them to the forbidden city of Lhasa. 
While they weren't supposed to be allowed even to visit, they were 
graciously welcomed. The author becomes a mentor to the young Dalai 
Lama for about five years. (And the book includes two letters this 
famous spiritual leader, attesting to the author's contributions to 
his efforts on behalf of Tibetan people everywhere.)

I can't recommend this book enough. For its pure adventure, I put it 
up there with Kon-Tiki, making it a formative book for young adults 
with adequate reading skills. But there is a spiritual dimension to 
the book, although subtle. And there is also a precious historical 
dimension of a kingdom which has changed beyond recognition, mixing 
poignancy in with the reading enjoyment.

Here is an excerpt fitting for the holiday season. [words in 
brackets are mine; I've elaborated the text slightly to provide 
context, so as to keep the excerpt short.]  As a Christian myself, 
I've chosen this except in gratitude to my Buddhist friends and 
neighbors, who have contributed a breath of peace to our world. The 
report describes the central event of the Tibetan new year's 
celebration in that era (mid 1940's?). But in a way, at least for me, 
it hints at the longed-for arrival of Christ. What is shared is pure 
pageantry; but what is sought is common to us all. Here goes: [pp.

Night fell swiftly, but soon the scene was brightly illuminated with 
a swarm of lights. There were thousands of flickering butter lamps 
and among them a few petroleum pressure lamps with their fearful 
glaring light. The moon came up over the roofs to throw more light on 
the proceedings. The months are lunar in Tibet so it was full moon on 
the fifteenth. Everything was ready: the stage was set and the great 
festival could now being. The noises of the crowd were hushed in 
anticipation. The great moment had come.

The cathedral doors opened and the young God-King [age 14] stepped 
slowly out, supported to right and left by two abbots. The people 
bowed in awe. According to strict ceremonial they should prostrate 
themselves but today there was no room.  As he approached they bowed, 
as a field of corn bends before the wind. No one dared to look up. 
With measured steps the Dalai Lama began his solemn circuit of the 
Parkhor [a circular avenue]. From time to time he stopped before the 
[carved] figures of butter [sculptures, some as high as thirty feet 
tall], and gazed at them. He was followed by a brilliant retinue of 
all the high dignitaries and nobles. After them followed the 
officials in order of precedence. In the procession we recognized our 
friend Tsarong, who followed close behind the Dalai Lama. Like all 
the nobles, he carried in his hand a smoldering stick of incense.

The awed crowd kept silent. Only the music of the monks could be 
heard -- the oboes, tubas, kettledrums, and chinels. It was like a 
vision of another world, a strangely unreal happening. In the yellow 
light of the flickering lamps the great figures of molded butter 
seemed to come to life. We fancied we saw strange flowers tossing 
their heads in the breeze and heard the rustling of the robes of 
gods. The faces of these portentous figures were distorted in a 
demonic grimace. Then the God raised his hand in blessing.

Now the Living Buddha was approaching. He passed quite close to our 
window. The women stiffened in a deep obeisance and hardly dared to 
breathe. The crowd was frozen. Deeply moved, we hid ourselves behind 
the women as if to protect ourselves from being drawn into the magic 
circle of the Power.

We kept saying to ourselves, "it is only a child." A child, indeed, 
but the heart of the concentrated faith of thousands, the essence of 
their prayers, longings, hopes. Whether it is Lhasa or Rome [or 
Jerusalem! or within me!] -- all are united by one wish: to find God 
and to serve Him. I closed my eyes and hearkened to the murmured 
prayers and the solemn music and sweet incense rising to the evening 

Soon the Dalai Lama had completed his tour around the Parkhor and 
vanished into the Tsug Lag Khang [palace]. The soldiers marched away 
to the music of their bands.

As if awakened from a hypnotic sleep, the tens of thousands of 
spectators passed from order into chaos. The transition was 
overwhelmingly sudden. The crowds broke into shouts and wild 
gesticulation. A moment ago they were weeping and praying or sunk in 
ecstatic meditation, and now they are a throng of madmen.   [. . .]

Next morning the streets were empty. The butter figures had been 
carried away and no trace remained of the reverence or the ecstasy of 
the night before. Market stalls had taken the  place of the stands 
which had carried the statues. The brightly colored figures of the 
saints [in butter] had melted and would be used as fuel for lamps -- 
or would be made up into magic medicines.

by Henrich Harrer
Tarcher/Perigree Books [Putnam] NYC, 1982 link:

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