They cleared the jungle, had to grow their food, and also study and debate. Oh, and build the structures. There was some local help, but much of the work was done by the monks themselves.
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There are more than a handful of shops on the Sera ‘campus’ — I say campus to differentiate the Monastery grounds from Tibetan settlements just outside, and from Kushalnagar (which I call the “town” at this point) a bit further away.
It’s hard to summarize what’s happened or to give any sort of coherent glimpse of life since I arrived here. Each time I try, it seems too complicated, too amazing, and so I give up. Then several days later I try again, only to find things are even more complicated and amazing. I guess that’s just how things are in life.
I received several notifications that my visa application and materials have been sent back to me from the Indian Consulate in San Francisco today. None of these communications indicate if my application was approved or denied.