The challenges and rewards are greatest where two systems meet.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Earth Day... The edge of responsibility.

Happy Earth Day to all. These "special"days have such a Hallmark greeting card feel to them. Once a year we acknowledge "we" are part of the environment and hopefully do something responsible to make the Earth a better place.

Last night I was finishing a book by the Dalai Lama, "Ethics for the New Millennium.  He states:  an individual's "lack of contentment is the source of damage to our natural environment and, thereby, of harm to others. Which others? In particular, the poor and the weak. Within their own community, though the rich may be able to move to avoid, for example, high levels of pollution, the poor have no choice"...... "If we choose not to modify our behavior out of respect for others' equal right to happiness and not to suffer, it will not be long before we notice the negative consequences."

Just back from Kathmandu, Nepal his words are so right. The poor are already feeling the ills of our greed. The amazing gift of this trip for me was the attitude of the Nepali people. These wonderful people were so giving and peaceful. Their wealth was inner, and they shared openly.

This is yet another Earth Day with major political powers arguing over the question of Climate Change. The truth is the only thing we can change is how "We" fit into this beautiful planet.  Do we continue to be the ONLY species on Earth ruining its own habitat?  Or, do we change and assume our personal responsibility.   Do we learn and act on living our own lives sustainably.

Namaste ... Barry

Monday, April 20, 2015

Namobuddha Organics on the Edge of the Himalayas.

On arrival at the Namobuddha Eco Resort, we met Ingrid. She and her husband built this super guest house using local builders and materials. Their goal has been to be a model of sustainable farming and responsible tourism. She reminded me of Helen Nearing.

Night life at the night light: 
the brown guy looks like an Asian Gypsy Moth

What a spectacular sunrise!  It is our first view of the Himalaya Mountains.

Sunrise ladies Helena, Allie, and Cassandra

Common Mynah bird, they are great mimickers .

On the way to the Namu Buddha Stupa.  This small town has the same name.  It's one of the great Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Nepal.  This smaller shrine is at the base of the steep path and many steps to the main temple and monastery.  No one ever said it would be easy...

Ladies digging up compost from a huge "communal" pile

Happy campers + monks

Had a great time with "The Matts" taking photos and spotting birds.
White Cheeked Bulbul

     Blue Fronted Red Start .....what a beauty!

Next up: Monks, Prayer flags, and on to Nagarkort.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Bhaktapur pottery and people, then the amazing drive to Namobuddha

At every turn there was a photo and a smile.

                                                      We did eat very well.

Bhaktapur is known for its Pottery.  There are great clay deposits and super talent with a stick for spinning the potting wheel. Then the pots are fired in a sort of wheat fueled kiln and sun dried.

These special bowls are made with seven metals for the seven Chakras. Gretchen sure looks like there were "Good Vibrations". 

Then it was time for Mike to add to his elephant herd.

We left the city and drove by many brick works, each with its own insignia stamped in the mold.
Any guess for the number of bricks in this one stack?

The sights on the road are even photo worthy with a max speed in the 40 mph range.

Nepalese believe in "beautifying" everything and their trucks are works of art.

In a short time the switchbacks increased and we were really climbing to the "Hills" (over 5,000')

Here's the 143' tall Shiva, Kailashnath, not sure if it beats the Buddha in Taiwan for height.

Almost at the Namobuddha Guest house -- the views are great.

Wait until you see the Himalayas in the morning...

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The outer Edge of Earth..... Nepal

We have done it again -- yet another "Life changing trip". This time we traveled to Nepal with an amazing group of students and faculty from the University of Rhode Island. The main purpose of the trip was a 3 Day Seminar on Peace and Nonviolence training based on Martin Luther King's philosophy and being.  The seminar combined students and teachers from Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu, members of the Nepali military, NGO representatives and us.

   We met up at JFK New York and boarded the largest passenger plane built (the one on the right).

After +/-15 hrs on the flying hotel we landed at the Dubai Airport. This is what it REALLY looked like through my eyes.

We then boarded the plane on the left and flew over the City
those buildings in the foreground are 50 stories tall.

We landed exhausted in Kathmandu and crashed at the Airport Hotel and woke to the SPECTACLE .

First photo with Buddha 

And did I mention 15 super students and 3 other staff.. ready to Rock&Roll to Bhaktapur

On the walk Gret really was taken with another Tractor.

So many GREAT faces

Want to buy an Elephant?

Stay tuned for Mike's second Elephant.