Jesse shares a story with Kelly about his trip to Bhutan and the lessons helearned from his Buddhist practice.
I've been a Buddhist my whole life. And I had been working with a teacher who had a very big impact on my life. I studied with him for about 13 years and he died in 1987. And I was kind of grieving and wondering, you know, where do I go from here? I felt kind of lost. I just had this idea of going on a retreat, maybe not a retreat, but a pilgrimage, to Bhutan, which is nearIndia. And because that was a place where he had spent some time and it had a very powerful impact on him; it changed his life. So I figured I'd go there and just experience that place as he did. I didn't want to do it alone. It's just that I don't like traveling alone. So I looked for some of these tours, that were going to Bhutan, which there aren’t many of because it is kind of out of the way. And it's kind of expensive to get there. So I was looking for some tours, and I found one in a Buddhist magazine.
These people went exactly where I wanted to go. They're going to India and Bhutan and Nepal. And the guide was a Buddhist painter. It sounded interesting to me. And I contacted them and signed up. There were about 10 of us on the trip. And they were all Sufis for some reason. They were American Sufis and their main goal was going to India, where they had a temple that they were going to. My main goal was to visit a particular monastery where he spent time in Bhutan called Taktsang monastery. And it's just on a cliff. It's just like a flat cliff.And it's this, these buildings on the side of it are quite amazing. It's a very disorienting place because you're up on the side of a cliff, you know, and you just like space all around you. So it's quite remarkable.
I almost didn't make it.
I got sick in India. And I was in bed for a couple of days. And I was really worried that I wasn't going to make it to this monastery because that was the whole goal of this trip. You know, I was really getting kind of bummed out. But the fever broke. And the next day I was able to get up and go and we hiked up, it's about a three hour hike up to the monastery. And I was really hurting. And you know, I've been sick in bed for a couple of days. I was dehydrated. It was a tough climb. But luckily there were some horses that were going up and down to the monastery.
And a fellow was with one of the horses and he just took a look at me. He goes, “Want to ride the horse?” And I agreed to do it. It took me up most of the way if not all the way, but most of the way, and I was able to get there in spite of being really sick. I beat most of them up there because of the horse. I don't know exactly how tall it is. But it's pretty steep. The monastery in the distance and it's up on this cliff. The closer you get the more you see these paths right along the edge of the cliff. It's pretty wild. It wasn't that scary. No, it was always a fairly wide path. You have these VISTAs you could see forever but it wasn't actually treacherous. It looked hard to get to but it wasn't that hard to walk there.