Satish Shrestha (सतिश श्रेष्ठ )

In The Quest Of…

Serendipitous rendezvous with a Buddhist monk in Spokane

Posted by Satish Shrestha on September 13, 2009

13 Sept, 2009

With a plan to get some homework done, I woke up fairly early on this fine Sunday morning. I got a call from Tana few minutes after I woke up and she informed me about a Buddhist monk originally from Nepal. He was showcasing the art of Mandala at the Unity Church in south hill. With all the zeal I could amass, I told her I would love to go. So we went to the Church together and voila! he was surrounded by bunch of people in the middle of a hall. My sight was first mesmerized by the Thankas hanging on the walls. It was a part of a fund raiser organized by Tibetan Children Education Foundation. They were selling away Thankas and other Tibetan artifacts in order to collect money to help Tibetan children. I got to meet Karma, the executive director of the organization, his wife – both of whom also run an Asian restaurant in Butt, Montana. I had to wait until the mass would leave the monk alone. In the meantime, Tana introduced me to her friends who had been to Nepal in their youths. These ladies know about Nepal more than I do, I guess. They’ve travelled so much! And then I got to meet Carol Waldenberg, who had two Chinese adapted daughters. I had a pleasant conversation with her and she offered me to give a speech in her school. There was no reason for me to reject such a wonderful offer.

Eventually came a conducive situation for me to have a chat with the monk, Peljor Lama. I was rather enthralled to communicate with the monk in Nepali. He is originally from Nepal but is currently affiliated with a monastery in Gangtok, Sikkim. We had a great conversation. He taught me the philosophy behind a Mandala, all in Nepali of course. Then we went for a picnic organized by the church in a nearby park. It was a great picnic, with wonderful people on a wonderful day. While we were eating, a guy started asking questions about Om. It started yet another great topic to talk about. Starting from Om, we proceeded to Taoism and Zen. I enjoyed the fact that these people, though were from the church, were so open to other philosophies. Unlike in south, where most of my Christian friends were preoccupied with evangelical spirit, the Christian people I’ve met so far in the northwest are radically different. They have faith in Christianity as much as my friends in the south do (or may be more), but they are so open to other view points. I am not a follower of any organized religion, but I do love talking about our existence and different concepts of god. But when people try to push their viewpoints to me, I simply walk away. So far, I have not had to walk away in the northwest.

Though the park was beautiful, we could not stay there much longer since the temperature was increasing pretty rapidly. So we walked back to the church and Peljor Lama taught me more about Mandala. I would love to write the philosophy of Mandala, but I don’t think I could be accurate enough putting it into words right away. I surely will write someday soon after reading more about it.


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