Dharma Glimpse by Khemashalini
I’ve written previously of the annual walking retreat or Yatra that I’ve not long returned from. A yatra means to walk or pilgrimage to a holy place/s. The walking is in silence and not usually a rush to get there so the journey is as important as the destination. I had lots of inspiration for Dharma Glimpses during this week and I’m kind of annoyed with myself as I didn’t write enough down and as the weeks pass the memories fade a little.
One very memorable day was the one when we walked up Cader Idris- all 893 metres. We had been warned that a storm may hit at midday so we left early in an attempt to at least be at the summit before it arrived. I think we were probably 50 metres from the summit when the mist dropped and the wind and rain started. Thankfully no snow as forecast. I look back at a photo I took at this point and Caroline is standing there, her poncho blowing around her with no beautiful view, just looking out into the mysterious mist. This was like an earlier jaunt up Helvelyn in the Lake district when I too was deprived of the supposedly stunning view due to cloud. I suppose I’ll have to climb again if I am to see the view. Several days later I was on a website where people post about their mountain climbing activities, top tips, photos etc. and I was gutted to see that literally 2 days later those that climbed the mountain were gifted that stunning view as a reward. Timing is everything!!
Having made it to the summit w ate our lunch all crowded together in the little stone hut. Not the nicest of shelters but we were all very grateful on this occasion. A small group poked their head in half way through lunch to be greeted by 30+ hungry and rather damp Buddhists all crammed in- standing room only.
On our decent the wind was over 60 MPH (I was told at a later time), it was still raining, so I was wearing my trustee poncho to try and save my coat a little. At one point the wind got underneath this and took me off my feet. I was holding on to everything tightly whilst trying to navigate the steep rocky and slippy pathway. Caroline lost her hat, I watched it fly off into the mist, then a back pack cover. I was glad I’d tied mine on tightly. I removed my poncho to try and gain some balance and stop the wind from buffering me from side to side, I’d have to get wet. Not 2 minutes later, on a rather exposed outcrop of rocks, I felt the wind pick me up again and then a flash of luminous yellow shot past as my new backpack cover disappeared over the edge into the mist. Oh no☹ I was so annoyed with myself, had I not tied in on properly. Now everything inside my rucksack was going to get wet. I started to worry about what I’d got in my bag and what might get damaged. I thought of nothing else for about 30 minutes as we descended. I really do hate losing things – even in extreme weather conditions. How much was it going to cost to replace? I wondered where all the items that had blown off today, and other days would be blown too. Where would their final resting place be? I’d be very happy if I found an osprey back pack cover and Caroline’s lovely hat. Had someone set up an ebay account selling all the lost items claimed by the mountain? We had a little laugh about it later on once we broke our silence. I realised that I had to let go of my attachment to this belonging, it was preventing me from being in the present. I’d been preoccupied in these thoughts rather than being fully immersed in this unique experience. I needed to let go of my annoyance of the wind. After all it was my fault it blew off, I can’t have tied it on tightly enough and wind is wind. The fundamental buddhist teaching of impermanence relays that we will not find sustained happiness through clinging – only suffering. Namo Amida Bu.
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