We have been on our 4th Cycle Yatra since the beginning of July, starting from Kathmandu and going through monsoon hit Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, and then we arrived at the sacred Golden Temple. Not long afterward, we entered Jammu. My initial intention was to reach Ladakh through Srinagar, Kargil, Mulbekh, Lamayuru, and Basgo, and I also have full confidence that we will be safe, despite the unfortunate incidents that have been taking place in Kashmir valley. Because of the love of my friends and students, who are extremely concerned about our safety since we were supposed to be crossing Srinagar within days, I am sad to finally decide to divert our journey to Pathankot, taking a different route and a longer diversion to Ladakh. I hope we will arrive in Hemis on time for the Annual Drukpa Council and my so-called thousand years old birthday.
Hope and fear work in a very tricky manner. We hope to gain and we fear to lose, and we can never be in peace. If we truly leave ourselves in the flow of nature, we would realize that hope and fear do not have space to exist or a chance to fabricate our lives.
Besides cycling for the environment and gender equality, I had wanted to cycle through the beautiful Kashmir valley to spread the message of peace and love. While terrorism seems to have taken over the world, at least according to the news, deep in each of our hearts, we yearn for peace and we live on love. If we go according to the news that we read daily, I don’t think there is any corner in this world that is completely peaceful and happy. I think we need to wear our wisdom eyes and decide what we should do for our paths in life, the news is there but some news is not reflecting the reality on the ground, so we need discriminating wisdom.
Crossing my fingers, I hope that our diversion in the journey will not cause any delay. I would like to thank all the government officials and traffic police who have been and are continuing to be ever so helpful as we travel on a bicycle in a long line of cyclists, stretching as far as 3-5km sometimes. I am sorry if we have been causing traffic jams, but I hope we manage to share our three messages of care for the environment, gender equality, and peace in diversity.
When we arrived in Golden Temple, the warm hospitality and reception we received were spectacular, thanks to the management, who also showed us around in detail. I learned so much about Sikhism in one day. As I always mention, Sikh teaching on selfless generosity is something that we Buddhists should learn and practice, especially their practice of langar. At the common kitchen of every Gurdwara, food is served to all the visitors without distinction of background for free, and only vegetarian food is served so that everyone regardless of their dietary restrictions can eat as equals. This practice of generosity for hundreds of years bears huge collective results. Most Sikhs, if not all, are materially successful and would not go hungry. Generosity is one of our Paramitas, but many of us the so-called Buddhist or Bodhisattva practitioners would always be calculative on material things that we share with others, stinginess, as a result, leads to difficulties in material wishes being fulfilled and in accumulating merit for this life and future lives. Generosity helps to expand our hearts and our acceptance of everything without conditions. We have a long way to go, but at least we have an example to follow.
I was very surprised to meet Thinles Namgyal, President of Ladakh Buddhist Association, Chandzod Odsal of Hemis, and Padma Tashi of Young Drukpa Association when I arrived at Golden Temple in Amritsar. He had come specially to see all of us, requesting on behalf of all Ladakhi Buddhists that we should divert our journey away from Srinagar. I was very moved by his sincere request and the request of so many more devotees in Jammu, I had to divert the journey. I am sure that with all the love and support of my dear friend and students, everything will be fine. See you soon in Ladakh.