Dies ist der FriedensPilger-Blog
This is the peace pilgrimage blog

Back in Leh area

Back in Leh area

Konchok greets me and I am heartly welcome. Finally a mirrow and a body wash action the next day – in the monastery no facility, no warm water….

And looking at the mirrow – oje – how do I look like, as a Yeti. The skin hangs down from the sun burn everywhere in the face, the beard so long, the lower lip opened at some places….

Sadly I have to move out from Konchoks place after a week, because it’s a government place and we don’t have more permission.

Skarma has a house just close by. Here I stayed with another guy, Soham for 4, 5 days or so… what a nice time also.  Thanks Skarma by the way. And I am still there.

The kneecap bursa is getting better too.

And the skin under my feet starts to peel, wonder of body presents a new skin.
The lip is also nearly healed.

Eyes are also nearly fine again.

Another peace walk I can not start here. Zanskar had to be cancelled because of the snow. Nubra Valley I can’t walk too.

I will visit again a Vipassana retreat from Wednesday on. And I meditate a lot anyway. 2 to 4h a day. A lot of defilements I work through. So good.

The vision of the triangle route remains the same then from June. But no clue how to bring it down to earth. Maybe in 2 years, maybe after the walk…. will see and diguest…
Anyway, I made a map ….. about diverse details….
Before I upload the map here it maid be a little overworked and beautied. … and it needs explanation….

This walk really shaked me. Especially because of the case of ‚doing a visit to Germany, seeing my mother/father/family or not, now or later – or continuing the walk until Myanmar without interruption. … this is a huge process for me…. also because I feel a commitment and a vow towards a ’non-interruption‘ of the walk…..
I am going with it
It seems so easy, when observed from outside, but somehow it’s not…..
I could write pages about it….
Solution will be found… ……………
If I find words to explain I will do it later….

I love to be in Leh with it special energy

And I love to see the Shanti stupa as often as I can…. such a beauty

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The night comes

The night comes

And with it a great suffering, which I never had before.
I have a sun burn in my eyes!!!

I felt nothing earlier. Everything was fine. But the moment I want to go ready to bed, to finally relax, it starts. Rangdol gives me some eye drops…. But closing the eys is really wanted for resting, then the pain starts. Slowly but steadily the pain increases…. it’s like send in your eyes and I can’t stop the movement of my eyes…..
What a pain.
In the morning, when I had the backpack ready to shoulder it, there was a pain coming from my lower back. This pain is also now increasing and coming in waves from the spine. I can’t hold myself back from crying. And it goes on for at least two hours. I hear someone coming in at the door, I dont care…. I can’t stop….. I can’t bear any light anymore and Rangdol switch it of in my area…..
and after a while I realize, I see less and less, maybe I see only 2 or 3 meters, the rest is in heavy fog….. I remember, there was a stick outside, so I can use it for going to the outside dry toilet. And if it gets worse, from now on, I will need to get help for everything…. even going to the loo…. do I get to be blind?
And I have to get to the loo…. But I can’t handle any light, even my weak light of my forhead torch is to bright. Somehow I reach with the stick the toilet, knowing that the hole there is so big, you always nealy have to do a splits not to fall in there…. I manage. I knock at Rangdols door to explain, that I can manage and I am a bit out of controll with the crying, but there is so much going on with this sun eyeburn, with my back and other defilments, clearing up, it somehow all comes together. After that talk I am somehow able to concentate on the area behind my eyes, to stop the movement of my eyes… that helps a bit…. still crying….

Next morning the fog effect is still there, also some pain, but I can see little further, totally sensetive to any light. But I manage to find some good in the storage room and to cook. I sleep a lot this day.

The day after I am able to start sorting a bit the food room, especially the onion on the ground. Earlier I through some of the potatoes away, which had already spouds 40cm long. The onion area, at least 2 square meters are old. They already peeled themselve and also had big sprouds. … I find two big boxes where I sorted the old once out and another box for the still good once. When Rangdol come back he sayed something like, oh nice, you sorted the onions…. but searching in the two big boxes he found immediately a onion, which he wanted to keep. Next morning, before I woke up, he continued that task and found around 15 onions out of that two big boxes, which were in his eyes still to use…. and he was a bit angry of me…. I should not continue the clean up… please….

Already a evening before I did the clean up, he started to treat me a bit different.  I don’t know, what has happened. …
But asking him during the fourth day, what I can bring to the Guru Rinpoche room, to start meditating there, he just sayed ’no‘ with any explanation. Ok. Then I meditate on my sleeping area.

At the 29th a car came over the pass. Yak shepherds, with the task to bring there Yaks back to the winter area. And Rangdol wants me to leave, with this car. I still feel a bit weak…  the horse owners left today north, but i could not go with them. I am to worried about my eyes and I still see double. Also my feet are not fine to start a hike.
But he insists, ‚you go with this car or you walk away today, but you have to leave today….‘ I said ‚ Why are you treating me like a dog since 3 days, what happend?‘ His reply ’shut up‘. I could not believe my ears….

I realized that this shepards had brought some barley wine, and they did not only being it for the rituals, that gathered in Rangdols room, where I suddenly was not allowed to enter anymore, to drink some of it…. so I mentioned ‚I usually don’t go with anybody in a car, who drank alcohol before….‘ but I have no chance…. I can’t walk at all, there is no-one in the village exept the monk, and he just pushed me out of the house….

The shepards then helped Rangdol to free one roof of the monastery from snow, I guess it already leaked somewhere through before we start our journey.

To get up the pass is still very difficult. Often the Mahendra pick up slides to the side. The both men freed then the street from the snow, put some sand or gravel or we heavied the car with some stone. Rarely I feel weak and unsafe, but today I do, because I am still so wunerable. But this guys are really nice, it’s just me….
After 2h we manage the pass, down even taking the ’short cut‘ in the snow, as the truck driver did 3 month before…. a picknick with the other shepards,  who brought all the yaks over the pass, and further on….
‚Backshish?‘ the question of my helpers, when we said good bye…. we should have agreed earlier on this ’no‘ but thanks a lot….

…. and I managed to get back to Leh on this day. …

Sadly I lost or somehow forget in the monastery my list/statistic of the last 3 month…. where have I been, whom did I meet, how many km are walked….. or somewhere else ( anyway, I could not reach the monk anymore…)

Sun is out

Sun is out

In the early morning I prepare. First of all I have to take care of my feet. And I have a plan. And I tried it the day before….
One sock on each foot. Then I compress loose a shawl around. For my left foot I have a Pashmina shawl (goat beart) very warm. For my right foot a yak shawl. Last layer is the bag from the sleeping bags – luckily I have two – for wet protection!!! Every foot fits perfect in the sandal!!!!
The left foot is more painful. I can’t move the big toe because of the big bruise inwards, but for walking the toe has only to move in the other direction. And it’s anyway only for 5 to 6h!! The shawls make it so soft for each foot.

The weather is bright. The sun shines soooo beautiful, but I am scared for my skin. In these high mountains, always over 3000 m I walk with a cappy and I always have a huddie in my head. So the sun can never do something to my skin. Also I have a shawl around my mouth and nose, protection from the dry air …..
…. But here the sun danger comes from down….

After 5 km walking I see some people coming from the other direction…. or are that yaks? … I can’t see any head. But the both coming from the front are loaded with heavy lugguage, so the head is far down. They are in front of two groups, who couldn’t start a hike from Dat north and they stayed for some nights in the monasteries. Soon I see the people coming with all the horses and lugguage on them. But the two guides don’t have enough space on the horses, so they have to carry this huge bags…. After the pass, the ordered some busses to pick up all the people…. no-one here expected that much snow…. so unusual….

The hikers have mostly sunglasses, but I try to warn them,  take care of your skin…. and they ask: you don’t have sunglasses…. take care of your eyes…..

That gave me power, and now I also know, that Rangdol, the monk, is at the monastery. …. But after a while the push of energy is gone and I have to take all my power to reach the goal… little surprised,  that I have to take that much effort,  I rested so much….?

Rangdol and some horse guides are still in Dat and greet me. We exchange news and there are surprised about my rapped feet.
I can sleep in one corner on a kind of terrasse behind a glass front. Rangdol hands over some blankets…..
I tell him, that I plan to stay a bit longer, maybe a week or two, and I want to meditate in the Guru Rinpoche hall. …is that possible? Yes… But we agree on first one week, then we will see…..
I brought Rangdol a gift, dried apricots and I am so happy, that the whole package is still untouched. Also I have a donation for him. After a little while he accept it.

In the snow

I use the 22nd of September to meditate. Two more days to Dat. And I want to meditate there more, in the Guru Rinpoche room. In. I am looking forward to it.
As I wrote before, 2 times walking to Dat and two times this silent voice, that said: is your peace walk finished here? Anyway I like this remote place Dat a very lot….

Also I am working with my heart all the triangle walk, and working with the heart it’s combined with the topics of love and compassion.

The last year, walking to Leh and Manali, I thought a lot about my mother. This year in February she turned into 80 and I was contemplating what to do … should I get there on her birthday…. it was all the time present in the mountains. But finally I decided not to go, the peace walk should be somehow not interrupted. Instead I had in December last year the idea to invite her to India. I found a good spot in Rishikesh and March could have been a good month temperature wise.  But a cousin and a good friend of mine, Ilona, who is a lot in contact with my mum, advised me not to do, because it could harm her health….. So I did not.
Walking from Shimla and Spitti to Leh this year, my mother was not so much the topic, sometimes a little bit, but mostly not so present.
But today she is present, with the topic of heart, love and compassion and with my wish to reduse her suffering by sharing my knowledge about meditation and so on…. So my fantasie of helping her through some trouble and my deep wish to help her somehow through is present today. So I meditate, rest a bit, have a look outside, kind of snow rain. …, cost in my tent…..

Somehow a energy comes through with finishing the peace walk and flying to Germany, to be with her and also with my father, who is dement and in a nursery home. And somehow say ‚yes‘ to the idea…..

Tatah. … this is blowing me a bit…. So then I am not a peace walker any more….. what I am then?…. intersting what comes up…. And how can I survive financially. … because I want to continue living from donations…. am I already ready for that now?…. what will be my identity?…. is/was there any ego involved in the peace walk…. because lots of people love others who work for peace….. and so on…..
Peaceful somehow with the ‚decision‘ but a lot of other things, inner and outer ones came up…. somewhen the day went, longr resting period…. and it seems to really snow at night…. temperature will drop….

Next morning everything white. To get to Dat I have to get over the 4.950m YarLa Pass. I am on 4.500 m and that’s manageable.  But I have to leave, if the snowfall continues…. and it does. I don’t go the hiking trail, maybe not easy to find but along a little road in construction….
After half a kilometer I turn around and check if it should be better to go in a other direction…. towards the highway…. But after a while feeling what is best I decide to walk towards the monastery. Maybe I can reach it today. I still walk in sandals, but my feet can have a snow walk. The often proofed for that. My socks have so many holes, that they join on the left foot into a big one and my left toes are looking out…. great … I love snow. After Lungmoche (devastated) I turn towards the short cut. Not knowing that this wall is thought to walk on it in winter time I anyway don’t have a clue to do so. Because maybe 20cm snow on top, don’t feel safe to walk there. But beside I slip here and there. I experience one way of snow blindness. I can’t see at all if it goes up or down, if the snow covered a bush or stone, structures are gone. I fall a few times in some bushes with thorns, some thorns stack in my hands but I am always falling more or less soft. Between the bushes or stones coming up the pass the snow is maybe partly 40cm high. Breathing in, breathing out, both heavily because of elevation I slowly ask myself, where is the pass?…. the wall is so long….. again and again longer…..

Ah there a stupa is visible, that’s the top and I fall again, but this time… I scream…. I felt with my kneecap directly on a peaked stone. Oh…. what a pain….. I touch my knee…. oh nothing broken…. But where does this pain come from….? (Later I learn,  that proparbly the bursa on my knee patella had burst. )….. puh
I am really shocked and can’t go the short cut down from the pass…. I have to be sure, that I am safe….. still heavy snowfall, but nearly no wind, only on top of the pass. I go down the loops of the little road…. uhhh… But my toes are cold now…… I speak with them to support the walk….. the loops are very long in every direction mybe a km and I have to take 5 loops…. my left ankle feels kind of nam and I can’t accept that. I speak loudly to the ankle, ‚you have to became warm again‘ and little later it does not feel nam anymore….. Still having the idea of going all the way to the monastery but slowly slowly I work on another solution, just to go down all the loops, then rest and diguesting the knee shock and overlooking the situation. … I can continue the other day…..
At the bottom of the mountain there is a nice river flowing. Here I build up my tent…. good to have glowing water in a desert…..
Never did build up a tent in the snow with 20cm already there, no sight of seeing an end of the snowfall. But I am just busy to solve all my problems, building up the tent in freezing atmosphere, acknowledging my shock…. knowing me feet need to warm up, too…. everything worked fine….. filling up some of my water bottles and into the tent. After a while I have to interrupt my meditation. Luckily my injuries have any effect of the sitting position, no pain….. but my toes are not getting warm….? After some exercise and rubbing they slowly wake up one by one, but with a lot of pain…… uhhh. … I am so surprised. … normally my feet are able to walk in snow, but maybe there was just to much snow…. and what I don’t realized before…. The sandal strings in the front I always leave a bit loose, so when I walk, the feet at the front BALLEN can extent with every step…. But in this case…. bad, because the snow came all the way under my feet, builded up a ice block under me feet, and that I didn’t realize, because they where already to cold, that made some injury under the feet with a big bruice on the left foot. But I still could feel them all the time…. the outer skin, more or less the horn skin got a bit frozen (but this I understand much later). Anyway, they luckily woke up.
Before sleeping I realize I got also a sunburn in my face – from the reflection….. But the sun was not seen at all
Good sleep…. next morning it’s still snowing and I decide to stay another day, resting , diguesting my shocks and injuries, to give my body and mind time. Willing stop snowing or do I think in here, deeper and deeper in the snow…. at night I have to push the snow away, from inside, so that my head and feet have enough space, it feels icy… and I push the snow away from the top of the tent.  Opening the tent, every time a surprise how much it is already.
At afternoon the snowfall reduces a bit and somehow the sun, still behind the clouds, warms up the tent, and let even the snow under my tent melt. Also I have the feeling, the sun melts some of the snow at the area around my tent.
My food is gone since some days….. but luckily I still have 2kg of the raisins left. That let me be very calm. I can live from this quite a while…..

In the following night I wake up a little after 1am and I am totally awake… not a single bit of tiredness and I just wonder…. what’s up?….
I open the tent…. and the most beautiful scenery is there….. a bright f In the following night I wake up a little after 1am and I am totally awake… not a single bit of tiredness and I just wonder…. what’s up?….
I open the tent…. and the most beautiful scenery is there….. a bright full moon in a crystal clear natur. Everything, the ground and all the mountains are covered with snow and some of the snow crystals are shining in the light of the so bright beautiful full moon…. sooooo beautiful….. I enjoy and I am soooo happy. It’s bitter cold, but the scenery is so warning, that I have the tent totally open for at least half an hour.
During this time a message is there for me. It says: You don’t need to go immediately to Germany, you can go next summer during monsun…. Then you can go for some month to see your family, but you can also travel and see friends and places ….. After you can continue the peace walk in one row to Myanmar.
Oh, I am extatic and euphoric about this information coming through….. But I also know…. being euphoric is sometimes not to good. … I have to feel it through…..

ull moon in a crystal clear natur. Everything, the ground and all the mountains are covered with snow and some of the snow crystals are shining in the light of the so bright beautiful full moon…. sooooo beautiful….. I enjoy and I am soooo happy. It’s bitter cold, but the scenery is so warning, that I have the tent totally open for at least half an hour.
During this time a message is there for me. It says: You don’t need to go immediately to Germany, you can go next summer during monsun…. Then you can go for some month to see your family, but you can also travel and see friends and places ….. After you can continue the peace walk in one row to Myanmar.
Oh, I am extatic and euphoric about this information coming through….. But I also know…. being euphoric is sometimes not to good. … I have to feel it through…..

Walking the triangle

Walking the triangle

So I am sure to walk the triangle. The in June ‚in a vision I discovered a new pilgrims way‘ from Dat to Dehbrink to Pang and back to Dat. About 140 to 160 km (later I discovered, it’s 181km).  I still do not know what to do with the vision I had, such a big one, how to put it down to reality. So my conclusion.  I just walk that ’new pilgrims way‘ to maybe find out more.

All the rest of the fruits and vegetables are in my backpack. Also some cooked potatoes from Rangdol, and 3kg of raisins. I don’t eat sugar, so this is beside of some honey my source of ’sugar‘, fruit sugar. Because of not being 100 % sure, that I come back here, I had to carry all. The plan is, to continue walk after the ‚triangle‘ to other parts Morey Plains and to Zanskar.
One day Skarma wanted to repair my backpack. He went to his special tailor, which had stiched a image of Moray Plains and the name itself on it. Wow.

I don’t go the direct way, because I want to see a side valley of the area. Puh, but the backpack is so heavy. I managed only to make one extra pass of nearly 5000m. The second I just could not manage the same day, and there is a third pass, the YarLa Pass with again 4.950m. To take the YarLa pass its good to take as a hiker the short cut. The way is kind of marked by a wall of stones half to one meter high. I thought this is a not ready ‚mani-wall‘, but later Rangdol explains to me,  that the locals use this constuction to cross the pass on it in winter. Who could think of that. Anyway my fantasy goes for having workshops around this constuction to make new ‚om mani padni hum‘-stones.

Again my vision from June repeats and on the hiking trail and shortcut from Lungmoche to Yagang it felt again somehow holy and so special. The ‚highpoint‘ is a little mani wall where the way turns to the east around a hill. It looks not special at all, but it is with a special power. ….

Now, when I walk I also miss meditating more… what can I do…. I try to meditate in the morning, but it’s so supercold to get up…. mostly it freezes at night…. and with my thin sleeping bag…. Anyway in the evening meditation works now in the tent better. After a lots of days trying, what clothes and material I have, to cover me from cold I found a funny solution to use the sleeping bag. At the lower end the sleeping bag becomes smaller, just for the feet to fit in. The sipper is not going down all the way, so I can’t open the sleeping bag and use it as a blanket. But I can use the end of the sleeping bag as a hat and even later on I found that I can push it totally over my head, opening the sipper a little bit for my nose…. hihihi…. and the rest is covering my back…. with all kind of other clothes I cover my legs and hands…. so it’s best for meditation. It must have looked to funny…. But who cares….

After 3 days, at early afternoon I reach Dehbrink at the highway. My little encounters with humans on this hike. Here I am appointed with Skarma again. He will bring me a warmer sleeping bag….. they arrive from 140km Leh at around 5pm. Skarma brings Sumit, Tanvi and Soham with him, what a surprise. Sumit suggest that I should keep both sleeping bags and both mats. And they really tried to convince me to come back to Leh… it’s just to cold this year…. But, no… I really want to stay in the mountains. They also brought some watermelon and carrots…. vitamins, nice!!!
After, it was just a short while, I felt, I had so much more to report…. they left…. later I heard they met after TanglangLa Pass three snow leopards…. wow, that’s such a rare occasion. … they stopped the car and the snow leopards did not leave, so they watched each other for at least 5 minutes, then they decided to leave the scenery. ….

The next two days I walked somehow close to the Leh/Manali highway towards Pang. So beautiful. …. In Pang I meet Dolma, a nice Lady who owns a Nomad-tent-Dhaba. I know her from earlier and the cooks everything what I want and gives me all the proviant for the next 4-5 days, mainly cooked potatoes and boiled eggs….. ready to make it back to Dat.

I walk along a special mountain. The sharp stones rubb on of my sandal doles nearly away. The mountain has peaks looking out, which shine golden in the afternoon light. It seems as if the peaks peaked of there black layers to show there golden insides. The weather is so good and I am so happy to be here. Later I put my tent at one side of the special mountain on 5000m, close to a frozen waterfall, overlooking a huge area, where I can see down in one valley eleven shepards with there goat and sheep herds.

Next day I crossed again in best weather the pass to still devastating Sangtha with there beautiful stupas. Surprisingly the river is dry….. uppps…. let’s use the pump…. But pump is broken…. and water bottles empty….. uppps…. what to do. Thinking of alternatives I find another pump…. oh, it’s working.

In the triangle I want to walk a inner triangle to join the ‚holy path‘ again but also walk a way I haven’t done before – between Yagang and Sangtha (but this will not happen). After walking the ‚holy path‘ I build up my tent at some other protecter of villages. It must have been already the 13th of tibetian calendar, because very fresh flags are hung up. This protecter looks a bit dark to me. The entrance of the tent looks towards sunrise, so the sun can warm me up in the morning. I have the feeling, it’s maybe getting a bit warmer again. Maybe the first night without frost since 2 weeks. Today is equinox, the 21st of September.

The next morning I wait for the sun coming over the mountain to warm the tent up…. but. …. after a while I open the tent and I see clouds, not single clouds, not dark clouds, just a closed cloud formation but in a weared way…. I don’t understand the message of this cloud/s but I somehow hear a kind a Tush, as if a orchestra is making a loud ‚tatah‘ sound to announce something….. what does it mean?
I relax a bit again – with the two sleeping bags it’s so cosy in the tent and for meditation I have the warmer sleeping bag as a hat and blanket, the other one to cover all the rest…. So good!!!
After a while it starts to snow rain…. aha…. ok…. I wait…. later I decide to have a rest day …. a shepard comes along, looks if everything is ok…. aha, you are walking to Dat, great, that way…. 40km. …. yes ok, tomorrow. … yes ok!! He leaves again…..

Being in Dat at the monestary

Being in Dat at the monestary

Skarma has brought 3 days ago the promised mat and a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables. Oh sooo good. All the food lays on the ground at the storage room, 3/4 of the room is full of food for the monk Rangdol, some of it is obviously old, gone….. ?? Monks and monasteries live from donations. One part is food donation by villagers or any visitor…..

Next day is the 12th of September, the 3rd of the tibetian calender.  At the 3rd and 13th of every month the responsible monks of every area honour and feed the protectors of the area or village. Coming to Dat I saw already the place, where he has to go today.  It’s about 5km north of the village Dat. Rangdol is only 20, became a monk when he was 9, and now has the responsibility of the whole ‚outback‘ monastery here in Dat. That includes taking care of all the buildings, the property,  having a puja every morning and evening, making the ritual at the village protectors place twice a month, being spiritual guide of the villagers, which are in this case nomads and only 4 month a year permanently around. But there is no other monastery around for at least 50-70 km or so…..
Rangdol ask me, if I like to come….. yes!!
He wants to go by motorcycle, what he owns together with his brother. It had cost 80.000 Rupies,  20.000 Rupies he added for bying (10.000 Rupies are around 135  €) I report about the swamp like situation where we have to go, but he wants to try it. Over bumpy stones I don’t feel so very on the back of his motorcycle and after 1 1/2 in we have to leave it… there is no real way in this direction and it looks, as if the cycle stands in the middle of nature as an art work (how did it get there? would the art lover think)…
Rangdol had prepared a lot of things, incl. some alcohol, what is used as offering to the protector (But also in a usual ritual at every puja is used alcohol – as I understand as a relict from times before Buddha  (But I am not 100% sure about that)).
The area where we go is so beautiful and I came along there already yesterday, as I mentioned earlier. It’s a big place with walls of ‚om mani padmi hum‘-stones (manta of love and compassion). It is decorated with lots of tibetian coloured flags and has a special area, where food is offered to the protector of the village. Also at that place are lots of white silk shawls are rapped around the monument. ‚There is a statue inside, but not visible because of all the shawls around‘, he explained.
So we are busy for around 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Preparing butter lamps or candles for example he has to boil the butter first to have ghee, what is used as food for the candle. For the candle there are bowls already present in an extra box, where the get enflamed. But before we have also to roll the wick from some sheep wool.
There are done some offerings like rice, sweets, juice, barley in different forms, herbs, nuts, alcohol…..
Alcohol is presented in some yak or ibex (wild goats) horns with some butter on the top.
Barley flour is formed to some kind of statue also decorated with some butter decoration…. this is also to find in nearly every temple here….
Also barley is used for a mix from barley, butter and herbs, which is burned on a fire as a spiritual food  offering for the protector.
When everything is prepared, the monk, Rangdol recides a puja,  which took also half an hour. After we decorate the location with some new tibetian flags, which he had brought with him.
We sit a bit after the ritual and he offers me some alcohol, which I should drink – barley wine…. after the ritual it’s holy now and not harmful (But I just don’t drink alcohol, I know only some drops are already harmful for me, that’s my experience….) so he has some alcohol for himself. Sugar (makes me addictive and restless) and flour (allergy) I also can’t have. But we brought a 100% orange juice, and so good, it’s also blessed and I can have it!!!!

I enjoy it very much and mention, what a wonderful job he has….  where he replied, ’sometimes in winter it’s very hard, when it’s cold and windy‘.
We walk back, he to his motorcycle, me directly to the monastery.
Shortly before I arrive to the monastery he picks me up to see the 30 springs, which arise just before the village, the water somehow flows underground through the valley and comes up here on around 30 places, to form this calm and soft river which I came along. Thanks. What a nice day Rangdol.

We talked also about the rain from the last week and he said ‚The villagers don’t like to have rain in the month of September and October‘ Why he don’t know.

At one evening some hikers camped at the village area, and he was getting prepared to collect some money for the monastery. Strange to me for what service he is charging them, he said its a donation for the monastery. But a donation is a free giving and not a ticket, a fee you have to give…. and the service I can’t see, too. There is no service given, not a toilet, not a prepared camp ground…. not a presence of anyone who caretakes…. and it’s only charged from foreign hikers…..

We spoke also about the tickets for Hemis monastery in Hemis. This temple is a kind of branch from Hemis. I refuse to pay for any ticket seeing a place of worship, if it is a church, a temple or a mosk or any other place for public praying. But at Hemis monestary last year, they did not let me into the temple without paying. I am willing to give a donation, but not as a regular ‚entrance ticket‘. If i like. Its maybe more or less than the entrance fee.
In Ladakh in lots of monasteries they want a entrance fee from foreigners….. it’s not right!
At the Shanti Stupa in Leh the both monks refuse to take a entrance fee. I am so grateful for that. They have trouble with that renovation costs and the city is not helping enough even though the Shanti Stupa is in my eyes a or even the main attraction in the city. But taking money for a public praying or meditation place is just not right….

I joint and enjoyed Rangdols pujas in the temple very much. The sound done by reciting from the holy books, bells and drum are really nice. He is really good with his only 20 years.

At the end of our visit he mentioned, that he was a rebell, before he came to the monastery with 9 years, he bullied and fighteed with everyone. After one year meditation and postration he had changed into the one he is now…. ‚would you imagine‘,  he said.

I had cleaned the kitchen in his living room and the evening before I left, I said ‚if I would have more time, my next project would be to clean up the food storage room‘. To that time it was not 100% clear, that I come back, but the moment I left I was nearly sure to see him after 10 or so days…. ‚Yes I am there all September’… he replied….

And Rangdol showed me a room on top of the temple in honour of ‚Guru Rinpoche‘. What a nice room. So good for meditation.

Wonderful Valley

Wonderful valley

The morning is not rainy anymore. After a long vertical some hundred meter high and half a km long wall I turn left crossing the river by bridge into the valley which will bring me in proparbly two days to Dat. (Its already the 8th of September). The valley is outstanding beautiful. Most areas in the Ladakhi Himalayas are so dry. But this is a valley so green. A stream of calm flowing water is coming from my direction to go. Small Fraser and burger are growing in the valley and quite a number of monkeys are enjoying the food and the silence. Beside the valley further up the mountains again everything without vegetation. I actually love both, because I love to see the emptiness and structures on he mountains and the growing green in the valley.

I sit down half a km further and imagine having a house or tent here for the summer season or even in winter. I sink into a beautiful long meditation, first with open, then with closed eyes.

Then I continue my walk, steadily uphill along the river. The clouds moving on such a way, that I think, it maid not rain there, where I walk. Later situation change and it starts gently raining, and I enjoy the rain in this valley so much…. The green vegetation becomes so beautiful. Further on some horses are graze. At the late afternoon I come to a place where 3 rivers meet. What is the right way. Not sure. To the left it goes steeper uphill. It seems that a glacier formed here earlier a bank, so that is proparbly not the way. It comes proparbly from the KangYatse range area. Strait it feels strange to, because the river, which is now smaller, comes somehow through the bank, finding a little way through. To the right I guess it’s not the way at all. Ok. It’s very proparbly strait. Unexpected some 100m further I find a camp. Some hikers with guide and horses (which I saw earlier) confirm my choise. Also on the way to Dat.

I find the last little green grass area before the next pass, to build up my tent. The feet are wet from rain, but also cold from crossing all the day the river.
Now I want to do it better. Earlier I saw some nipple there, at the corner of the inner tent, where I always try to fix the flexible bars, I need to have a look, if I can fix the bars ar these nipples. And I don’t believe my eyes, the bars have a hole inside to fix the nipples. So much easier I can build up the tent now, shaking my head back and forth, that I was such an ‚Idiot‘. And also laughing to myself, can I write about this stupidity in my blog?….Yes. I can.

In the early morning I again wake up, shaking, because it’s so cold. In a millisecond I have a image of some half naked people shivering in a concentration camp in Germany, this shocks me. Do I have to do something with it? Is that just an image? Is it a image to have compassion?

I feel since some days, that the shivering in the early morning has not only to do with cold temperature outside. I am very warm covered, better dressed on my upper body….. my lower body has only one layer of trouses. …. The upper body has 5 layers, but still freezing. … sure, it’s true, the sleeping bag is not made for cold temperatures, 11 degrees minimum….. And it’s maybe five degrees….. The shivering comes from a triangle between my shoulder blades and my heard chakra on the back side. So maybe my concioussness will show me, there is a cold part of your heart and this cold part of your heart needs to be healed….. ok…. I will keep that in observation…..

Because it’s raining I decide and I am anyway so late, I decide to rest for one day. So. Sleeping, meditating, testing, sleeping…. here and then I open the tent, exept of toilet there is no need to leave the tent all day long…. Around evening time realize, that during the night it maid be snows. .. temperature will drop further…. So it makes sence. … I am at around 4.800m elevation.

Also I feel sympatic with the idea of doing this somewhen in winter, with the right equipment. … it must be so nice to walk through the mountains, knowing no-one to meet, in the silence of winter……

To this time of the year, there is usually only a little period of ‚bad weather‘. Rain or snow is even rare to this time of the year….. And when it comes it disappears in a few days again.

Yes and right. The next morning some snow, but not fully covering the ground. It’s time to continue the way.

That resting day was good… uuuhhh!!!
Coming up further to the Zalung KarpoLa Pass (5.190m) the snowfall started again. I can see where the trail is, but now the ground is fully covered with snow. I can’t see very far so I sent a wish to the elements to open up, when I reach the pass, just to see, where the trail goes down and not to take the wrong valley (because there is another trail leaving from this pass into another valley. While reaching the pass it was still snowing, so I had no choose to wait… one minute later the sky opened up and I have the best view into ‚my‘ valley, all the valley way along. Still it was not so easy to find the path. First I thought it’s on the left side, going there I felt more attract to go down at a area I was before, what I finally do… also some other people and a horse want down here earlier, but to see later, that the real way, but very steep, was on the more right side….. Anyway, I make it down, little bit uncomfortable. … but on this side of the pass, the south side, nearly now snow, further down anyway not…..

I still love this way so much, still in the lower parts green. So beautiful.
I still think about that concentration camp image and I more and more don’t care, if that is more or less my image, or just an image, or someone else’s image, or from whom ever image, a German or world image, it has to be healed, and when this is with me now, I am very happy to heal it for me, or whom ever else…. I am very happy to do so……

A camp again and to reach Dat the next day. At the end of the long valley there was a right turn before going left towards Dat. It was seen even from the pass the way before, but reaching the area I am confused. There where it goes left it’s much to steep. This area and Dat has only a elevation difference of 100m. I study the map and I am still confused. Further around the corner, lots of trees and a wall of rocks. Ok. A green area is also marked in the map. I dont know where to go.
What I do in such situations. I just wait. Sure, if I can’t find it at all, I have to go back all the way, which I would find. But after so many days and km I don’t want to turn around just 10 or 15km before the goal. In June I came from the other side to Dat (See earlier article) and I did not continue the way because in all the villages including Dat was no-one, and my food was nearly gone. Is it so difficult to reach this Dat?
So I look again in the map and to the surrounding environment to find a solution, a answer. Ok. If the way to the right and then to the left is to steep, there must be another one. To the right so many trees and then this rockformations strait to the sky. I don’t know if I even can pass through that narrow valley. But I try. Crossing the river several times in the kind of jungle I am so curious if there is another valley to the left later on. Some times before I was so surprised how long the actual way was, misinterpreting the distance on the map….
And finally, just before I reached the valley to the left passing this narrow part I meet a hiking guide, telling me, just 100m further,  follow the trail, yes and around the corner, the rest of the small group with the other guides and horses…
And again…. what a beautiful valley, what a calm and soft flowing river, so rich of vegetation, so many willow trees and sea buckhorn bushes, and here on even 4200m the bushes have ripe orange berries, so delisious. ……
And spectacular rocks for another 5 or 8 km until the valley opens more.

Coming closer to Dat the nature is after the rain nearly like a swamp. But no problem…. I am used to have wet socks in my sandals…..

In June, and now again, there is this kind of feeling…. is the peace walk finished here in the outback of Ladakh, in Dat? Is that the reason I had to walk to Leh again this year. Is this area, where I had the vision about in June the reason, I had to walk again to Ladakh?….. I just register in my mind this realisation. ….

So finally, I reach Dat. Again I see no people in the village and I am irritated. But I know from the guides, my mat and my food arrived and someone from the village asked already to look for me. I am 3 days late…..
So I go to the monastery.  But no-one to see. Temple close! Building on the left of the temple close! Building on the right of the temple close!  ….hmmm…..
Everything seems to be close…. There is a dog barking, but not so penetrating then in June….
There is another building beside thecright building of the temple…… I come closer….. the dog, too….. I hear a radio or TV making sound. …. I knock at the door….. nothing…..
How can it be…. a radio or TV running but no-one there….. I knock more intense, also at the window of the room, where the sound comes from…..
Suddenly a monk, Rangdol, opens the door…. ‚Ah, are you Thomas, yes come in….‘

I can’t make it

Slowly I understand, I can’t make it to Dat until the 8th of September.

There I wanted to meet Skarma and Sumit at the little Monastery. We wanted to speak about my earlier vision about Morey Plains, they want to bring food and another mat…. But because of my earlier exhausement and what I see on my map, how far I reached, I doubt to make it. But i dont give up the hope, maybe a superman energy burst… or what ever… I do what I can…

The way up to GongmaruLa Pass (5.260m) seems endless. I count 1 to 100, but only on one feet side, then I change to counting side. So I trick me a little, counting 100 but making 200 steppps. … Some hiking groups come from the other side, everyone with horses and lots of lugguage. Finally I reach the top with a fantastic little bit cloudy view towards KangYatse (6.401m). What a beautiful mountain and his glacier.  I wait at the pass in the hope of a totally clear view, but….
After the pass I met some exhausted parents, the youngsters already reached the pass 15min before, but they breathe heavily and I mention maybe to count until 100  (without mentioning the idea to do that on one side) But I harvest a helpless look ‚I am counting until 15!!!‘ the women said….. hmmmm…. and it’s really not nice from this side. You can’t see the pass just being 300m before…..

After Nimaling the people sent me towards a valley, while I wanted to take a short cut along the KangYatse Base camp through the KonkaNagpoLa Pass and I realize that a bit to late. But everything has mostly a reason. After crossing close to Thachugtse a pretty deep river I ask some people after the way. They called after me ‚the weather will change… 2 days of rain…  but after food again…. hurry up‘. Why hurry up, I think to myself, I am at least 2 days away from any road… how could that help…..

Before the turn into the valley to Dat it already starts to rain a bit….
And I react like a ‚little idiot’…  So I think of building up the tent here and now, find a good spot…. the ‚idiot‘ thing is, about the way I build up the tent (and how I did it all the time before). It is a sandy ground and I have a kind of iglo tent with a dome. It’s just that high that I can sit in meditation seat in it. So I have to fix the flexible rods first. But because it rains I want to build it quick, and it’s a sandy ground it just does not hold in the ground and it always collape. Here would have been a camera the best thing for a viewer to laugh out loud. But finally I fixed the rods with some stones. Then I had to put the second layer in top – again collapsing and fixing stability again. So inside everything was wet. I managed to get it dry with one of the non plastic bags and ‚moved‘ in. I thought, ‚oh again a cold night‘, but I got surprised by a warm energy from my crown chakra flowing all through my body making me so cosy and I slept wonderfully the first time in five nights without waking up.

Starting the walk

At the morning of 3rd of September I wake up and feel like in a state of koma. The intence retreat. …. in my bones…..
How can I walk like this…..
Konchok, my host, motivates me and I decide to start after midday. He wants to accompany me a bit. It is Monday and it’s school free. Krishnas birthday is celebrated country wide.
Still exhausted, but we start at 1pm.
Konchok, a monk and wardan at the disabled school,  where we start, is such a wonderful host. As long as I do the peace walk  this time in this area, …. in the breaks, I always can come to him….. So great….
The plan. Just to walk to Matho, maybe little bit further into the valley what will lead me later into the higher Himalayas. I have a tent and sleeping bag from Skarma and Sunil. A mat from Konchok. And a lot of food with me. The bagpack is heavy, but all is nessassary to have. After 14 km, a bit behind the beautiful monastary the night rest at the Matho Tokpo river.

I made the same mistake as after the last retreat, having not a rest after the retreat for diguesting.

Having no diguesting time it has to be done on the way. So next day I walk only 10 km,  but still hard…. I have to walk over round  rocks in the river bed and I have to cross the river several times…. but it’s super beautiful, old WEIDEN trees….. so beautiful…..
Already at 3pm I build up my tent close to a recluse. Tibetian flags decorate the trees….
And wonderful…. I can meditate a bit more…. good, there is no-one,  and I do not want to meet anyone….. one lonely Yak is passing by, that’s all….

At the morning of the third day I am still a bit exhausted, but it does get better. Looking at the map and guessing where I am and looking at the sun I am really confused where I am. But I could not have walked somewhere else. …. So….???? I just continue the valley further up. Getting some overview the situation gets very clear…. back at orientation….. some horses with some guide pass by, they come from Matho pass further west. Maybe they delivered some food to a remote area or guided some tourists earlier somewhere – maybe to Stok…. and in the way home. The horses have bells around the neck as I only know that from cows in the alps or elsewhere….

Crossing the ShangLa Pass (4940m) I reache in the evening at Shang Puh,  a valley, where 4 rivers meets. Some nomads are here. I camp a km away from the little camp ground, where I met some Spanish tourists. They made a big circle around the Stok range to train themself to get on Stok Kangri (6.137m) on the 8th or 9th of September. Next morning I see the Spanish tourists again, invitation for breakfast. They have a crew of 4 with them, horse guides and cooks, two tents and 5 horses 😊. Surprisingly I find out that I should pay 200 Rupies…. I don’t know for what…. anyone who camps in the valley has to pay this fee… but for what…. I did not recieve any service…. I don’t hear it’s for a nature protection project or something else…. I only see this nomads, who did not even opened there shop…. happy to recieve money…? I talked to them…. I am a peace walker walking with little money…. ok they agree with no fee….
From the Spanish couple I recieve a glass of peanut butter, some cooked potatoes and too Rupies donation…..

This continues the whole day. Everywhere where I tell my story, a donation after the other, so unexpected in the middle of ’nowhere‘. And food for free and so on.
After recieving all the donations I feel: ok with the donation money and my money I have with me I can make it until Zanskar,  before I was not to sure. ….

The way leeds my over the next pass into the spectacular Chuskyurmo valley. Lots of river crossing, but nearly without wet feet. Steep up in the river bed. I can’t make it up to the next pass so I sleep at some little area beside the river bed. With some stones I fix my tent. Good night sleep on 4.800m.  But this sleeping bag is just to thin, I feel. Every night, full clothes wearing, I waek up and freece and shake for a while. Anyway good weather during the day….

August Vipassana retreat

The reatreat happened from the 22nd of August to the 2nd of September.

Coming there I am asked to serve the course. I really want to participate, to sit in silence the 10 days, because the technic opened up so many processes on different areas in my body, that I want to take the chance of continuation. .. and I also want to work on inproving the sitting times, I want to go through some more inner borders…..
So I have A little to drop that personal plan…. getting ready to serve
A retreat, in this case only for men, needs beside the teacher and manager 3 servers. Somehow, for this retreat there is no server yet. So the manager has to surge and ask the experienced arriving students to volunteer. Anyway, I am so greatful for the existence of these Vipassana Centers, to teach and taught me this wonderful technic, and anytime for free – also meals and accommodation are free – that I am also happy, in this case or later on, to offer my service here and now, if needed…..

A server has to serve the whole time of the retreat. The students, in this case around 30, need to be served in such a way, that they can follow all the teachings and stay in total silence for the whole time. The teachings are done by S.N.Goenka by video. He himself died around 10 years ago in the age of 96. For any questions there is a teacher present, twice a day. Also the teacher is there to guide the whole course and to solve (together with the manager and the servers) any kind of problem arising. As far as I know, the teacher and manager are also serving for free…. but I am not sure, if that is the case in any center, especially reguarding the manager ….
The cooking is aranged by 3 cooks in the kitchen. Not sure if they are partly also volunteers.

For me as a server I have to be present to serve the food and communicate with the kitchen about any issue…., to take care of the accommodation area to keep it clean and need, to ring the bell and make sure, that any students are coming to the sittings, to recieve questions of the students and inform or guide them to the manager or teacher, to take care of discipline in the meditation hall and keep the hall need and clean…. and little other things….
In the evening there is always a extra Metta  (love, compassion and forgiving) meditation for the serving team incl. teacher, manager and the kitchen stuff followed by another organizing meeting afterwards….
The day is busy from 4am to well, so it’s very nessassary to take of some rest time in between, too.

The first the fourth day I am pretty busy with all kind of things, especially because the new students need to get used to the rules and also because the first three days are very hard, if you never had a silence period. On some days I meditate somehow often only 10 min until I have something to do, but after the fouth day things calm down and I benefit a lot also from meditation and teachings.

This reatreat I became busy with a part of my heart again, this time the more of less left part of my physical heart. I had worked so much on my heart the last years, there are clearly some areas worked through – as far as I can see now – but the left part of my heart…. a area, where I did not focus earlier on….. surprise, what all is to find there. ….

(Until today I am still busy with it, every day in my daily meditations)

After the retreat, at the last morning, after the official end of course) I have to escape suddenly (my plan was to stay until lunch), because I feel, if I do a little more, than my energy capacities are overstreched and I can’t start walking the next day as planed.

All in all a beautiful experience. We had a very young group, a lot of men just between 18 and 25. And for me it is and has always been a joy to see, when someone comes in process, maybe suffering for a while, but knowing where it’s leads to…. to free something and to more happiness and light…..