The last week I have been working really hard with the website and teaching English to the teachers, I have essentially had no time to myself, so the last couple days I have taken a break and wandered the mountains after dinner.
Anand ji told me about this clearing on the northern slope, named, quite appropriately as I would find out, 'the buddha field,' so the mission was clear; I must embark on the path to the buddha field.
So I fastened up my camera and headed up the steep incline of the path behind the ashram looking quite arbitrarily for a path that headed north. I found a couple but they didn't look promising. Actually, the path that I did choose had more to do with awkwardness than inclination: I saw a couple school girls walking home, with a look of, 'my god who is this strange bearded white dude doing in the middle of the forest!' so I jetted off on the nearby northbound path. It looked well worn so I decided to follow it. I tried a few side paths, but found that they all were up to my chest. I soon figured out the reason why: during the day, villagers let their water buffalo wander the forest to graze. I learned this because there were two huge water buffalo in the middle of the path munching on some shrubbery, not wanting to let me pass. So I stood there for some time, telling them to go ahead, but they apparently didn't understand English. So I picked up a rock and quite literally herded them to a clearing probably a couple kms away. It was good practice for my हट-हट's and hisses that I hear herders shout constantly.
So, all of the paths around here remind me much of those in my home in NW Washington. For those NW Washingtonians, they are much like all parks, with dense evergreens, but I guess with more scratchy shrubbery that were attracted to my sandaled feet and hat . This path was no difference, but all after passing over a few creeks and abandoned stone fences, the whole forest opened up. But, It was strange, the effect that the change in scenery had on me. My whole mind cleared, and suddenly rushed with joy, and remained, in the same manner as the honey like sunset that was descending like sap over the spectacular views of the endless mountain ranges. There were these sparse expanses of deciduous trees much like those in South West Oregon and Spokane alternating with dense spots of eucalyptus trees. The mixture produced beautifully sweet lingering smell. At this point, I didn't know that I had stumpled upon it, but it was pretty apparent that I had found the buddha field.
So I walked around for a bit, took in the views of the mountains and Chandrabadni temple, threw out a couple namaskar's to some of the old pahari men walking past with their Nehru caps and thick lathi walking sticks, then headed on back, for I feared the sun would set soon.
Actually on the way back, started to realized that I passed a couple stone fences that I didn't remember. I got a little nervous, and started to jog down this trail that snaked alongside a little creek. The trail was pretty worn so I knew it would take me somewhere familiar, and luckily it did. It spit me out right next to this creepy abandoned home that I had explore the previous week. I had a little time, so I went in, got creeped out, then continued on past another creek back to the ashram, where I took in the last bit of the orange half light of the sunset, and talked with Anand ji about how he can cure any injury with nettle and urine treatment. Weird. He also told me that I had, indeed, found the Buddha field. Rad.
So I used the last of my rare free time to type out this last blog before I head out to Dehra Dun tomorrow, where, with stable internet, I will finally post all these blogs (I have been writing them on my laptop when electricity prevails). Horrah!