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  • hardie karges 1:39 pm on October 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Nepal, , ,   

    Buddhist Boot Camps, Kopan vs. Suan Mokh, Part 2: the Cost of Karmic Retribution)… 

    img_0545Continued from previous…

    Setting: Kopan is classic Tibetan temple and monastery style, with dragons and other adornments, set on top of a hill at the edge of the sprawling metropolis of Kathmandu, and gated, so semi-urban while it lasts. Suan Mokh, on the other hand, is green and pastoral, with an ambiance that reminds me of Boy Scout camp. Noises are few and far between, and far away, as are the gilded and glitzy temples of the city.

    Eco-Friendliness is a specialty of Suan Mokh, where absolutely NOTHING is wasted, and flashlights are used at night rather than bathing the premises in artificial light. Recyclables are treated accordingly, and no drop of water is wasted if it can be saved for later use or recycled. This is part of the ethos and also just a reality of living in the countryside. Kopan is quasi-urban and subject to different conditions, so not as strictly obedient to environmental issues, apparently. (More …)

  • hardie karges 11:14 pm on October 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Nepal, , , ,   

    Buddhist Boot Camps: Kopan vs. Suan Mokh, part 1–Price of Rice… 

    IMG_0526“…(in) sitting meditation…we free our mind from past experiences and…any anticipation of the future. Instead we abide in the nowness of the present…”–HH the Dalai Lama

    Sounds a whole lot like Eckhart Tolle, doesn’t it? But no, this is from His Holiness the DL’s book ‘The Four Noble Truths’, compiled from talks he gave in 1996, some years before the publishing of ET’s break-thru book-thru drive-thru one-stop soul shop, in which a lump of basic Buddhism is twirled up into fluffy cotton-candy comfort-food for the disenchanted…

    …just lose all that pesky suffering, add some New Age flavorings, and let’s call it ‘The Power of Now’ instead of ‘Enlightenment for Dummies’. There you go, perfect, ready to market, and the rest is history—good work. But I’m not here to talk about ET, just HHDL, who largely inspired me, along with certain Beat Poets at Naropa last century hooting and howling next door, to further investigate Tibetan Buddhism, to supplement my current efforts in the forest temples of Thailand. Here’s the deal: (More …)

  • hardie karges 8:58 pm on September 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Bhaktapur, Nepal   

    Bhaktapur: Nepal’s Other Half, and That’s a Rap… 

    IMG_0705Bhaktapur is like remembering that first time twenty years ago when you landed in the middle of chaotic Kathmandu and the Bible, taking days to find your way around, exploring streets and alleys with no names only landmarks, and populated by peoples in little street-side cubby-holes doing things unmentionable, unsure of whether it’s a sacrificial altar or low-budget boucherie, blood splashed helter-skelter just like in the Bible or the Beatles…

    And finally learning ropes and making mental maps and expanding radii to include other ‘hoods and larger circles, people congregating wherever two roads cross, chowks and bazaars and people riding in little pedaled cars, but mostly on foot forging a way through life and the city, somehow making it all work, where logic would dictate otherwise, where geometry should have long surrendered to gravity… (More …)

  • hardie karges 10:17 pm on August 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Nepal, Pokhara,   

    Pokhara: Nepal's Better Half… 

    IMG_0569Pokhara is Nepal’s second city, and such a change from the first, that it’s almost hard to believe they’re in the same country. Where Kathmandu is noisy and chaotic, Pokhara (pronounced like a distinctly southern-drawled and gooey ‘okra’, y’all) is chilled and peaceful—almost TOO tranquil. I start to miss all the chaos and manic maniac drivers with foot on the gas and hand on the horn (I even had one flashing lights at me, so I stopped in the middle of the road to force him to do the same, just because I could)…

    Of course, I’m talking about Lakeside, where all the tourists and local groovers hang, and full of spa-like accoutrements, boutiques and yoga, trekking centers and restos, caffeine and alcohol. But there’s another Pokhara, too, the original one, just up the road a piece, as high up as you can get in that particular valley, and filled with goldsmiths and silver, as opposed to the lakeside scene that tourism built. So I had to go check it out, just to get some traffic to avoid, if nothing else… (More …)

    • Esther Fabbricante 11:27 pm on August 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Your adaptation and use of words are so remarkable! Where did you learn to be such a writer?

      • hardie karges 3:42 am on August 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        After the first million words, I think, I decided to call myself a writer… 🙂

  • hardie karges 12:35 am on August 27, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Nepal   

    Linguistics 101 

    In Nepali language the word for ‘forest’ is ‘jungle’, got it—who knew? The word for ‘cannibis’ is ‘ganja’, got it—no surprise. And the word for ‘reservation’ is ‘reservation’, got it. What gives here? So why do I have reservations about learning it? Now that’s another issue…

  • hardie karges 4:21 pm on August 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Nepal   

    Life in a Buddhist Monastery, part 2: Karma Krushes Dogma… 


    Continued from previous…

    You can’t beat the price: less than one hundred clams USD for a week of classes, room and board, $125 if you want a private room with shared bath—yeow! Don’t spend all that extra thirty bucks in one place! Boutique Buddhism in Phuket, Thailand, this same week will set you back almost $2K, with a 5-star hotel and waves crashing in on the beach, sex optional. For that price in India you can get a day or two with the Dalai Lama himself (no sex, sorry)!

    The only problem is that they’re a little disorganized here, and a little unclear on certain points of dogma: like whether Internet use is or is not consistent with the Dharma. And at some point they decided that the course I’m taking would be a silent retreat, cue thunder for unsympathetic magic, which is not so bad on the surface, as long as it’s merely suggested and not strictly policed… (More …)

    • Esther Fabbricante 4:33 pm on August 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply


    • Simon 3:55 pm on September 13, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      “Without free will there can be no morality”

      this is so Philosophy teacher 😀

      • hardie karges 12:01 am on September 14, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        and so true, otherwise we blame all our transgressions on our birth signs, or our past lives… 🙂

  • hardie karges 1:50 pm on August 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Nepal,   

    Life in a Buddhist Monastery in Nepal, Part 1… 

    IMG_0530The malls on the Miracle Mile in Kathmandu are lined up like forgotten cemeteries outside a former battle field, most of them empty, dead or dying, lucky to have a coffee bar to anchor the whole place, while pedestrians walk past with eyes on their digital devices oblivious. I wonder if there’s any connection? I hope so. Auto traffic backs up on the back streets like blocked intestines wherever two cars pass and veggie vendors congregate if there is any more room than that. Nepal time is fifteen minutes behind India, no further explanation necessary…

    So I left. Think of Kathmandu and you don’t usually think of hot sweaty sticky atmospherics, just the opposite, but that’s what you get in the rainy season, an inch a day, and plenty of reasons to leave, with visions of equanimity, though still much better than the rainy season in Thailand, BTW, and climbing up a few hundred meters helps, plus it puts some perspective on it all, with all the little people down there f*cking and fighting, no slight of hands, and growth the only mantra… (More …)

  • hardie karges 12:50 am on August 12, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Durbar Square, Freak Street, , , Nepal,   

    Kathmandu, Nepal: Namaste’s and other cliches 

    IMG_0496(Sigh) Finally! I can use the word ‘Namaste’ without feeling like a total New Age newbie, intoning with every simple ‘hello’ the implied meaning that ‘I bow to the divine in you while you return a bow to the tourist in me’ when all I really want to do is say ‘hi’ or maybe ‘good morning’ and you can do that here, since it’s embedded in the language, like Hindi, no accident, brought here by the Gurkhas and now the lingua franca for lack of better options. It is close to Hindi and uses the same Devanagari alphabet…

    Considering that two months ago to the day I had a catheter up my little thingie AND THAT FELT GOOD considering the options, I’m glad to able to take 3mi/5km walks these mornings in Kathmandu, just like old times just like old spaces old places, last here some twenty-odd years ago, and then only briefly, figured no big deal “I’ll be back soon” and it never happened until now on the spur of the moment through inspiration in the most unlikely of places: my in-laws… (More …)

    • Isolated_girl 1:17 am on August 12, 2016 Permalink | Reply


      : )

    • Esther Fabbricante 2:26 am on August 12, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Your life and descriptions are unbelievable. I would not be able to eat the food, find my way around, much less survive.

    • thisisyouth 10:13 pm on August 14, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Good post, I like your writing style. You captured Kathmandu very well.

    • Angela A 4:39 pm on August 18, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Interesting read! I will be going to India and Nepal this December. A little nervous!

      • hardie karges 6:38 am on August 19, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Thanx! Nothing to worry about, unless you’re squeamish at the sight of poverty; certainly safe enough… stay tuned!

    • kabiraj 12:23 am on October 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      after reading i just thought why didn’t I find this blog before, really articulated by your idea and especially the saying I bow to the divine in you while you return a bow to the tourist in me and wifi vs electricity things

      • hardie karges 12:47 am on October 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Welcome, I only recently rechristened the blog with a new name, so probably more dharma and karma than travel for a while, at least. For more metaphysics, see my other blog, the two pretty much in parallel, if not sync, these days: https://hkarges.wordpress.com/

  • hardie karges 8:58 am on August 11, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: cookies, , , , Nepal   

    Curry Cookies, and All That Spice… 

    What is the deal with Indians and their curry powder? I mean: there are a few things that taste good without it, right? Right? This has to be the culinary cliche’ of all time, beyond Americans and their hamburgers, Italians and their pasta, Mexicans and their chilies, or Thais with THEIR chilies. This was made clear to me when, in a hurry, I picked up a pack of cookies for later consumption, without first checking the ingredients, secure in my conviction that I had a safe bundle of something sweet and filling for later–wrong. When I finally got around to them, they tasted like–you guessed it–curry! AARRGGHH! What to do? Peanut butter doesn’t help, only drags the PB down to that level, too. I mean: Americans don’t have hamburger flavored cookies, nor Italians their pasta-flavored cookies, nor Mexican their chili-flavored ones. Thais probably do, but that’s to be expected. I guess I’ll just wait for a rainy day and i’m truly desperate. There are plenty of these here in Nepal…

    • Esther Fabbricante 10:25 am on August 11, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Strange for sure.

  • hardie karges 1:22 am on August 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: alcohol, beer, , Nepal, , ,   

    Kicking Caffeine's Butt: Living on Red Bull, Vitamin C and… 

    Caffeine could all be a thing of the past soon, and it’s kinda’ sad, I guess, even if my poor beleaguered prostate gland will love me for it. And this my last vice, too, 200 ml (or is it 200 mg?) of coursing through the veins every day, turning on switches at every turn, leaving the lights on in case of late arrival. Not that the Third World helps with the withdrawal any more, whether it be Nepal, where I am currently, or Thailand, where I was last week, or any place else, where you could barely find a cup of Nescafe twenty years ago, and now is brimming to overloaded with fresh roasted Arabian and a cute barista to boot. This is the new social medium: roasted and ground for a night on the town. Alcohol is for losers, I guess, though at $2 a pop for a can of 7% ‘extra strong’ brew, that might be worth re-considering. You gotta’ be flexible… Author’s note: If you gotta do the Red Bull thing, then go for the gold ‘Krathing Daeng’ cans for local Asian consumption, not the blue ‘Red Bull’ for tourists: same stuff, half the price (you heard it here first)…

    • Esther Fabbricante 6:10 pm on August 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I think all bad habits are for losers – I guess.

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