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                        e n e r g i z i n g    t r a n s f o r m a t i o n    t  h r o u g h    i n q u i r y ,   i n s i g h t ,   a n d   i n t e g r a t i o n

   

                   March 2005 Book Review and Quotes Archive

 

                                                                   A Journey in Ladakh
                                                              Encounters with Buddhism
                                                                    By Andrew Harvey
                                           Published by Houghton Mifflin Company 1984

 

While I was living in Italy, in Umbria, the region that is known as the green heart of Italy, I would climb into my little, red, Fiat

Punto and drive. I enjoyed being alone and experiencing those times of freedom. It was during those drives that I was able to

reflect on my life from, excuse the pun, a foreign perspective. Two months before my journey to Italy began, a line from a movie

kept making itself heard in my head. "Sometimes you have to go a long way from home to find home."

In his book, A JOURNEY IN LADAKH, Andrew Harvey states, " To have no home anywhere can be to be at home with all things."

pg 231 This book is about an incredible journey of body, mind and spirit to a remote village in India. It is a place where Tibetan

Buddhism is still practiced much in the same ways as it was practiced three centuries before Christ lived. Harvey immersed

himself in the land, the culture and the people. His reflections and exquisite descriptions implode one's senses. As he climbed

higher and higher into the mountains, he began to realize that his travels were not only about the physical world, but, also, deeply

connected to his mind and spirit. It became clear to him that he would need a teacher and he knew that the Thuksey Rinpoche

would be that teacher. "We call a man a Rinpoche, which means diamond, when he has achieved perfection." pg 161 "Thuksey

Rinpoche means, "The Rinpoche whose heart is a sun." pg124 Harvey spent many hours listening to his teacher and conversing

with him about the unexamined aspects of Harvey's life. There were moments when Harvey was consciously aware of what it means

to live in a state of meditation and still be living in the world. The following quote summarizes what was happening to Andrew Harvey

as he was transforming his 
life. 

" How can I write this without sounding mad? But I shall write it nevertheless. For many hours in those days I felt that everything

that was happening was happening inside the Rinpoche's mind. He was not directing what was happening and not controlling it,

but I felt that his mind was vast and contained all that was there-the Buddhas, the dogs, the old women, the chanting, the singing,

my thoughts and meditations, everything. And that vastness did not seem alien to me, nor frightening, but natural, the most natural

thing, in fact, I had ever experienced. His was, I felt, not a personal mind at all and not a mind with any design, any desire to possess

or order or dominate--but a mind-at-dance, a mind as vast as the sky..." pg150

I found in reading this book that I became one of Andrew Harvey's journey companions and for a few hours shared a space of home

with him. A JOURNEY IN LADAKH will remain in my mind and spirit as I continue my spiritual journey. (Reviewed 03/05)

 

 

 

                                             March 2005 Weekly Quotes    

 

"I sat on a pile of stones, and slowly my breath grew quiet and my mind emptied. Below me, the river. Above, the great ochre face

of the rock overhanging the river. I can hear the songs of harvesters carried down to the river on the wind, and sometimes the high

call of a bird.  In the new transparence of my mind, I find that everything — the roar of the river, the bird-call, the harvesters singing

— is the same sound, the same ringing sound, only in different registers, different intensities. Even the rocks are ringing to this

sound, even the small stones I can see dully shining at the edge of the water; even the tuft of moss and sheep droppings to my

right. My breath is that sound also, and my heartbeat, and the brush and creak of my body as I stir.  I am frightened that I

shall not be able to survive so much feeling. Each bird-call is a knife through me; each twist in the rock brings me almost to tears.

I am afraid of dying and yet I know that dying is not possible if I am part of all this ringing energy. But how to calm my mind with that

knowledge? For a long moment, it happens. The fear passes. The river runs and roars through me; in the late evening light, the

rocks slow their dance, golden, and darken.

"A Journey in Ladakh" by Andres Harvey

 

"On the desk as I write this, a pair of antique Ladakhi chopsticks. I bought them for the son of a friend, but when it came to it I could

not part with them, and gave him an old bell instead. The chopsticks are small, made of old, scarred, yellowing, thukpa and

mok-mok stained ivory, fitted into the back of the sheath of a silver dagger. Food and death, pleasure and wariness, happiness

and a proper caution. . . a happy dance of opposites and paradoxes. If they were to be used in a Tantric ceremony, the most

elaborate symbolism could be woven around them — the knife for cutting the strings of illusion, the chopsticks for eating the food

of contemplation. Their handles are of rough silver and on each there is only one ornament — a fan-tailed, fire-breathing dragon, of

such power that I expect each time I pick them up to burn my hands."

"A Journey in Ladakh" by Andres Harvey

 

"Nothing I had read or imagined prepared me for the splendour and majesty of the mountains that first day; that was the first gift

Ladakh gave me, a silence before that phantasmagoria of stone, those vast wind-palaces of red and ochre and purple rock, those rock

faces the wind and snow had worked over thousands of years into shapes so unexpected and fantastical the eye could hardly

believe them, a silence so truly stunned and wondering that words of description emerge from it very slowly, and at first only in

broken images — a river glimpsed there, a thousand feet below the road, it’s waters sparkling in the shifting storm-light, the path

below on the bare rocky surface moving with sheep whose wool glittered in the sunlight, small flowers nodding in the crevasses of

the vast rocks that lined the road, rocks tortured in as many thousand ways as the mountians they are torn from, sudden glimpses

of ravines pierced and shattered by the light that broke down from the mountains, of the far peaks of the mountains themselves,

secreted in shadow, or illumined suddenly, blindlingly, by passing winds of light. And there is no reason in the images, no

demure and easily negotiable order, because they emerge from a silence and a wonder so full that they each seem to exist in a time

of their own, in a silence of their own, remote from all thought, glimpsed purely as they are, as they are in their essence, in some final

purity words do not reach."

"A Journey in Ladakh" by Andres Harvey

 

   

 

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