I first met Khenpo Pema Wangdak in 1986, after I was in search of a instructor to assist me be taught Tibetan for a journey I took the next 12 months.
Though I did be taught some primary phrases (together with “You’re fairly” and “I’m from the USA”), I found that Tibetan is a particularly troublesome language to be taught, a minimum of for me.
However I all the time loved visiting Khenpo Pema in New York, the place since 1989 he has been director of the Vikramasila Foundation, a nonprofit charitable group devoted to bringing meditation and the knowledge of the Buddha to the West.
Moreover instructing dharma (the tenets of Buddhism) world wide, Khenpo Pema has additionally established colleges for younger Tibetans in Nepal and India — on the Pema Ts’al Schools and the Pema Ts’al Sakya Monastic Institute. He’s the recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor for his worldwide humanitarian actions.
A Buddhist monk because the age of seven, Khenpo Pema and his household escaped from a small village in Tibet in 1959 and finally resettled in a refugee camp in South India. He enjoys journey, primarily as a result of he says that he’s all the time fascinated by new concepts and new potentialities.
What Is Conscious Journey?
As a lifelong traveler, I’m conscious that seeing the world could be a mind-and-soul-expanding expertise — besides when it typically appears that adversity canine each step. I knew that Khenpo Pema would have some nice recommendation about how one can overcome obstacles and to make journey a deeper alternative to develop and be taught. He’s continually fascinated by and curious in regards to the world and the folks in it, and his enthusiasm radiates. He additionally has the power to clarify Buddhist ideas in easy and comprehensible phrases, and with a delicate humorousness. Following is a few recommendation for making the street smoother on your journeys.
To Be Or Not To Be … A Vacationer
“I by no means remorse taking a look at impractical issues. I by no means see any data as nugatory.” Khenpo Pema says that he doesn’t really feel the should be a conventional vacationer when he travels. The one time he visited Barcelona, he stated, “They picked me up on the airport and we went straight to an house the place I taught for 3 days.” On the finish of the third day, he was returned to the airport. “I by no means noticed Barcelona,” he stated. However that was effective with him.
Pema defined that if one thing does catch his curiosity — structure, for one — he can develop into the last word vacationer. “After I go to a Buddhist temple in Taiwan,” he says, “I’m extra desirous about how they constructed their monastery. I’m all the time in search of new concepts, and I all the time discover them.”
He has traveled to Sweden, the place previously he has visited the Volvo manufacturing facility and particularly loved a visit to a ball bearing firm. Of his expertise, he says, “Studying how issues work retains me entertained.”
Being conscious of magnificence can be a part of journey. One in every of Khenpo Pema’s favourite journeys is to the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington State. “It’s so peaceable; it is extremely tempting to think about residing there,” he says.
Retrain Your Thoughts
“Oh, it’s a must to wait six hours within the airport once they inform you that your flight is canceled? No drawback.”
Thoughts coaching meditation, or lojong, as it’s known as in Tibetan, includes strategies for remodeling the thoughts by cultivating useful psychological habits. Khenpo Pema meditates every day in an effort to practice his thoughts.
With mindfulness, Khenpo Pema believes “you be taught to understand what is sweet in the meanwhile. You additionally be taught to let go when it’s not good.”
He informed me, “To vary inside shouldn’t be straightforward. And altering your mindset doesn’t imply that you’ll all the time escape destructive feelings. You’re feeling what you are feeling. That’s okay, so long as you don’t comply with these ideas or attempt to justify them. While you journey, all the time put together as a result of issues can go mistaken. Then once they go mistaken, you possibly can smile.”
Khenpo Pema compares altering one’s mindset to programming an iPhone: “If you happen to set your thoughts, it turns into a part of your optimistic mindset. I’ve no psychological or emotional issues in any respect wherever I’m. And I’m by no means bored. I’m like a child.”
“One ought to by no means anticipate solely nice experiences once you journey.”
Maybe you simply missed your flight or the airways misplaced your baggage — Khenpo Pema believes that this simply would possibly develop into one of the best a part of a visit as a result of misfortunes necessitate discovering artistic options.
Khenpo Pema additionally believes that being confronted with obstacles in life is finally useful to 1 as an individual. One of many many advantages of journey is that it gives alternatives to follow being affected person and nonjudgmental.
Even when he encounters a impolite journey agent, Khenpo Pema retains his steadiness: “If I’m conscious, I’ve no drawback if persons are impolite. With mindfulness you let it go. With meditation, that independence is there.”
He acknowledges that “attending to the purpose the place delays and challenges don’t disrupt one’s life shouldn’t be straightforward.” Pema says that “If the whole lot goes nicely, you might develop into gentle. Errors that you just be taught from make you higher capable of face issues sooner or later.” The truth is, he informed me, “If one thing doesn’t work, attempt one thing else — and check out tons of of instances.”
Studying how one can settle for the tough patches and fixed change is commonly a chance for progress. The aim, by way of meditation and examine, is to domesticate a happiness that’s not depending on exterior situations, whether or not you’re touring or at house.
How To Expertise Expertise As A Non secular Help
Fifteen years in the past, Khenpo jokingly informed me that when a good friend requested him how GPS labored, he informed him that “a bit airplane flies above the automotive and lets me know the place I’m and the place to go.”
Though many religious folks see know-how because the enemy of mindfulness, Pema believes that touring with know-how has each advantages and disadvantages.
Though he might have his iPhone or laptop computer alongside when he travels, Khenpo Pema thinks that overuse of know-how typically makes experiences lower than wondrous. “Now we’re so saturated with photographs,” he says, “that freshness and touching and seeing typically lower.” For him, fixed journey can take a toll. “I journey a lot,” he says, that “globalizing the thoughts typically dissipates emotional connections.”
Then again, know-how will help when journey is delayed. Being caught someplace is a superb alternative to learn, write, and make calls, Khenpo Pema informed me. He went on to share that being sidelined in an airport surrounded by new folks helps make his thoughts “recent.”
How To Discuss To A Tibetan Monk (Or Anybody Else) Whereas Touring
“If folks need to discuss, I’m very . If they don’t, that’s good, too.”
Khenpo Pema notes that individuals from totally different cultures might have other ways of speaking or appearing, and he warns in opposition to judging others solely from one’s personal expertise and data. He’s open to listening to what it’s a must to say if he finally ends up sitting subsequent to you on a airplane — and he believes that the older technology has a lot to share with the youthful.
Nonetheless, how folks deal with Khenpo Pema shouldn’t be of main curiosity to him. As he explains, “After I journey, typically persons are so good. Subsequent time I’ll be someplace the place folks is probably not so beneficiant, however I don’t really feel unhealthy. Folks do what they will. One ought to by no means anticipate solely nice experiences once you journey.” He continued, “If I’m conscious, I’ve no drawback if somebody is impolite. With mindfulness you let it go. If you happen to meditate, the independence might be there.”
“That is It! That is valuable!” From Khenpo Pema’s perspective, journey gives a continuing collection of latest alternatives to expertise the world and to open one’s coronary heart to let love and compassion unfold.
“The Buddha,” stated Khenpo Pema, “teaches on each topic, particularly about thoughts. And one of many main teachings is on impermanence. The whole lot is so valuable since we’re not going to have this perpetually. That’s the reason appreciation grows. The whole lot that’s constructed dissolves. We be taught to understand issues: That is it!”
Editor’s Notice: Need extra conscious journey inspiration? Take into account What Is Slow Travel And 7 Reasons Why You Need To Try It, 9 Tips For Keeping A Memorable Travel Journal, and The Children’s Book That Inspired This Writer’s Love Of Travel.