Today is part two of my story about Henri, my monk friend who I met last year in India and then died of cancer this summer.
During this year's retreat, our manager Adjith mentioned that my friend Maria and I might want to visit the Tibetan monastery where Henri was cremated.
We left early morning, drove three hours on winding roads, and arrived at a city of over 20,000 Tibetan refugees, the biggest settlement in India.
I came expecting to spend the day mourning my friend. Instead, we met Henri's friend Calden, who is currently eight years into a 20-year Buddhist philosophy program. Amazed, I asked him if he had changed as a person during his studies. He replied that they were taught not to expect much progress because the patterns of the mind are strong.
We spent the rest of the day discussing the intricacies of Buddhist philosophy. My mind was blown -- there's so much and so much is opposed to our western tendency to cling to form!
At the end of day I realized that had been so fascinated that I forgot to feel sad. Calden replied that Henri would have wanted this. Their order spent their whole lives contemplating death and impermanence. Death wasn't the sad thing for Henri that it was for us. We all have to let go and it's best to practice just that.
Then I really felt Henri's spirit, challenging my attachments, once again urging me on to greater life.
— in Kushalnagar, Karnataka.