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Luminous Jewel, Blake Walton

 
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Posted By Luminous Jewel, Blake Walton

The years have passed since I last posted an entry. What happened? Did water pass under the bridges that were burning? Did trees fall in the forest? Did I lie awake trying to wake up again and again? Did I make art and make merry? Did I inhale and exhale and eat and shit? All of the above. And then some.

So I will start again from where I am. OK? Ok.

 

Jack and Jill1       Building Block#2

Jack and Jill

Human heartache, thy name is duality;

desire and aversion, this and that,

self and other.

 

Jack-and-Jill parents, time after time,

bequeath these building blocks to their own innocents.

All fall down.

 

But the crown we thirst for is not broken.

It resides well within.

Beyond either/or, beyond now and then.

 


 
Posted By Luminous Jewel, Blake Walton

Pilgrimage#1: Origins of the Path

 

Some things are meant to be. My recent trip to Nepal and Tibet falls into that category, as well as the categories of “once-in-a-lifetime”, “dream-come-true”, and “too-good-to-be-true”. Actually, the trip ultimately defied categories altogether; but more about that later.

 

Winter Solstice gif

Winter Solstice Sunrise at Tara Mandala

 

I had dreamed of going to the Himalayas since I was 12 years old, an unlikely aspiration for a girl growing up in suburban Dallas in the 1950s.  My maternal grandparents managed a summer camp near Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, and rather than loll around the public pool in the sweltering Texas heat, I spent every summer in the cool high mountains of Colorado, hiking, riding my cousin’s horses, and attending camp.  I looked forward to my annual summer pilgrimage to the mountains all year long. It felt like my salvation, my own private Shangri-la, to escape to the mountains from the suffocating confines of school and a dysfunctional nuclear-family life. The summer I was 12, I climbed my first mountain over 14,000 feet. And I was hooked. I voraciously read books from the library about the Himalayas, and settled on Nepal as my ultimate destination to visit in the world. It was not until some years later that I even learned about a place called Tibet, because all the maps after the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1959 listed the region as China.

So, here I was more than four decades after my original Himalayan dream was born, passport in hand, walking across the tarmac towards the Kathmandu airport in Nepal. It still seemed like a dream; but the hazy terraced fields in the distance, the steamy heat, the cacophonous traffic, and the colorful clothing of the Nepali people were all viscerally real.  How did this Himalayan dream of mine come full circle to reality?  As a middle-aged massage therapist, meditation instructor and counselor, I seemed an unlikely world traveler.

Early in my life, my fascination with things “Eastern” led me to a steadfast meditation practice: Transcendental Meditation in the 60s (along with every other “boomer” it seemed, including the Beatles) and eventually to the study and practice of Tibetan Buddhism in the 80s. In 2005, I started living and working at Tara Mandala, a Buddhist retreat center in Southern Colorado (www.taramandala.org).  The founder of Tara Mandala and author of Women of Wisdom, Tsultrim Allione, organized the trip to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of her introduction to Tibetan Buddhism in Nepal, where in 1967 at the age of 19, she became one of the first Western women to be ordained as a Buddhist nun. Our tour guide serendipitously would be Jerome Edou, a long-time Buddhist practitioner and author of Machig Labdron and the Origins of Chod. Jerome’s Kathmandu-based company, Base Camp Trek (www.basecamptrek.com), would be handling all the logistics of our journey.


Tsultrim
      Tsultrim Allione

 

 


 
Posted By Luminous Jewel, Blake Walton

3/3/08

Hello out there! & welcome. My name is Susan Blake Walton. My friends call me Blake, which is a family name from my father's side of the family. My family - bless their hearts - still call me Susie. I prefer Blake by a long shot.

 

Here is how I looked in 2006 while I was in the process of deconstructing my ego attachment in a yurt at a Buddhist retreat center in Colorado. That's another whole story.

 

Me in the yurt at Tara Mandala Retreat Center        Self Portrait 

 

I was born in 1949, officially making me a "Boomer".  My Dharma name in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition that I have practiced for many years is "Rinchen Rabsal", which roughly translates as "Luminous Jewel"; hence the genesis of my blog name.

 

To tell the truth, I have hardly ever even read a blog much less written one. Launching this blog with this first entry, I am struggling with my personal shyness, my Buddhist philosophical concept of non-attachment to self, and my '60s political opinionation that blogs are self-centered and bourgeois, heaven forbid. However, my '70s First Wave feminism -- that the personal is political-- is winning out.  As is my need to ruminate, strategize, philosophize, and fantasize about how to integrate Buddhist principles into this oh-so-samsaric life in 2008 in the US of A. (Note: All of this paragraph is what we call "apron wringing" in my writing group; i.e. profusely apologizing in advance, so get on with it already.)

 

It's not like I haven't lived on the far left periphery of the mainstream for most of my life, being a self-professed artist by age five, a political radical, a non-Christian spiritual seeker, a Lesbian.  But deepening my commitment to Budhism by moving in 2005 to a remote and rustic Buddhist retreat center and then going on a month-long pilgrimage to Tibet in 2007, really pulled the rug out from under me.

 

That's what I want to explore in this blog. Welcome to the journey.

Blake