Yesterday, September 9, was a very special day. Caren Ewart and I traveled all, the way to Mirik, India to see Caren's son, Eric Triebelhorn, emerge from a traditional three-year retreat at Bokar Monastery. He and 20 other retreatants, including Kalu Rinpoche, participated in ceremonies that officially ended their retreat which started at about 3:00 AM and lasted until just before noon. We were lucky enough to join the retreatants in the retreat center at 6:30 AM. Sometime later, Caren got to get close to Eric for the first time in over 3 and one-half years. See the picture.
During this time we were able to offer katas and offerings to each of the retreatants and Kalu Rinpoche and Khenpo. I brought pictures of Ben Barta's Sukkha Siddhi thangka from Char and I for each of the retreatants. OK, it was Char's idea, but Ben and I did all the leg work.
Snacks were served in trhe retreat courtyard and there was a procession of all the retreatants, led by Khenpo Lodro Donyod, the abbot of Bokar Monastery. They circumambulated the monastery and then everyone gathered in the main shrineroom for prayers and a long life offering to Kalu Rinpoche. The traditional sweet rice and butter tea were served. Caren has yet to try the butter tea, but I'm working on it.
At lunch, some of Eric's first words were, "There sure are a lot of people." That was repeated several times throughout the day. He plans to come out very slowly and spent the rest of the day in the reteat center. Maybe he will venture part way down the hill to Tsewang's house today for dinner. After lunch, I got a ride down the hill to my hotel on the back of Karma's motorcycle, artificial knees and all.
On the 12th we head for Gyaltsab Rinpoche's monastery in Ralang, Sikkim, with all of the retreatants who will offer thanksgiving to Rinpoche for his empowerments and teachings during the retreat. We will spend a full day there on the 13th and return on the 14th.
On the 17th we plan to attend Kalu Rinpoche's birthday and enthronement ceremony at Sonada Monastery near Darjeeling.
We had spectacular thunderstorms last night about 3:30 AM. Woke me up and I enjoyed the view before going back to sleep. This is the tail end of monsoon, but we've been lucky because there hasn't been much rain while we've been here.