India. It is dirty everywhere, it stinks. People constantly spit beetlenut everywhere. The rickshaws and cars and bikes drive by their horns. They see foreigners as walking Rupees. It is also exciting, primal, kids running around barefoot, stray skinny dogs and puppy's all over. Cows are like Gods, they are fed well and roam freely, everywhere. Locals excrete any old where and urine smells all around. Beggars with limbs missing, orphans begging. There is an art to be here and remain sane. We are learning after cracking last night. Some new approaches include seeing the way it works is a feedback system, so they treat westerners with contempt and so the Westerners act worthy of contempt. so we are trying to respond to contempt with eye contact instead of not, a friendly attitude and in saying no thank you (or whatever) instead of no, crossly. We are finding out the appropriate price for things (from locals, tibetans or more street wise westerners) and just giving it rather than haggling on the whole so we don't get ripped of so often. We intend to buy food to give to some beggars instead of money, some disfigure themselves or their children to get more money begging. In Delhi a child asked for a chapati and I waved my hand at her and said no, annoyed at being bothered by all the beggars. In Sarnath it hit me how unkind that was as she must have been hungry, it's easy to become hard and disconnected as a coping mechanism.
We are attending a week of teachings by the Dali Lama this week which is very inspiring. He talks for 5 hrs a day. 2 things have gone in at a deeper level than previously. 1. That Samsara is the world of being motivated by craving or aversion (avoiding pain and seeking pleasure), I have been using the word Samsara for years but suddenly 'get it'. So my life is about 2. Removing the obsurations (caused by craving and aversion). Simple in a difficult way. So the Bodhichitta is the only thing with worth and meaning. The Dali lama said a 'I am not a Buddhist I am a person who aspires to remove the obscurations'.