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.

My flights were relatively easy and uneventful. The drive from Bengaluru to Sera Jey was….interesting. I had expected mostly rural scapes, but instead saw mostly small towns or cities – one after another after another. The traffic was very heavy and then the darkness and rain started. What should have been a 7 hour drive was nearly 10 hours. Oh, and think Mario Kart with lots of specialty horns, and perhaps no headlights at night. Yeah, that. I am thankful to my very good driver.

When I arrived at Sera Jey, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that an American I have known for several years is also in Hadon Khangtsen, which is my home or house here are the Monastery. It was nice to have an ‘in-person’ meeting finally! 

New monks, adults or children, are assigned to a mentor, who help the new monk navigate the monastery life and find teachers, do the formal enrollment processing things. My mentor has been great. He had emergency surgery the day I arrived, and in true community values, others stepped in to help me with tasks until my mentor was ready. The relationship I’m building with my mentor, my Gen la, is an important part of life and education for me.

Life goes on. I was guided through the ceremonies with the Abbot and Chief Disciplinarian. I registered with the local police station, I opened a bank account, I did the other online registrations as required by Indian law. I went to pray services in the unbelievably huge temples here, with the statues that couldn’t even fit in our building! 

Slowly, I started to identify a few of the prayers, but there’s no way I can keep up with them yet. Others, will take longer and help to learn what they are. 

And then, I get chicken pox. Again. I had it as a child, I even have a lab report saying I have immunity. But, I’m sick, and the doctor is quite sure it’s chicken pox, and the medicine has been helping me feel better. However, it means isolating for a bit longer.  It’s better than Dengue, better than Covid…. 

At this point I’m not feeling very ill anymore, and I’m not extremely fatigued either. So, I can study Tibetan, enjoy the birdsongs, and know that in a few days I will be back in the temples with my brothers, and not worrying about getting them sick. 

India is beautiful. It is amazing to be here at Sera Jey. 


Until next time….  Tenzin Lung Tog, Bylakuppe, India June 5, 2022