In early November, Curtis and Willow hosted a new moon ceremony on their land, both to celebrate the gathering energy of another moon cycle, and to kick off the retreat they were hosting on their land. I had originally planned to stay after the ceremony and be there for the whole retreat, but we hadn’t finished with our work in Talent yet, and I wanted to wrap that up before moving on to another scene, so I arranged to come out just for the day, to rejoin everyone for the retreat in another week or so.
Curtis asked around and found that his friend Krista was driving out to the valley that day, and she was kind enough to pick me up in Talent. She was on her way to the retreat as well, and we had a nice conversation on the drive in. We were a little bit early, so on a whim, we decided to stop by the Buddhist temple that’s right down the road from Curtis and Willow’s house. I have driven by this temple numerous times, but never actually gone there. We didn’t quite know what the protocol was, but we figured we’d just show up and ask if it was all right if we walked around.
We first passed a garden that looked interesting, but it had a closed gate and nobody was around, so we followed the road farther up the hill. When we got to what we assumed was the main grounds, we saw two people and got out of the car. We were greeted warmly and given permission to walk around. Although the location was remote, those who look after the temple are probably used to strangers dropping in.
The Tashi Choling Center for Buddhist Studies is founded in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, and it serves as a place of study, retreat, and meditation. Upon walking into the temple, the colorful art and traditional architecture transported us to a distant place in a nearly forgotten time, a world of sacred pursuits and peaceful reflection. We spent several minutes standing before the altar, soaking in the serene silence.
We were told that the gardens were unlocked (the gate was only there to keep the deer out) and that we were welcome to explore there. The powerful spiritual energy of the temple made me wish we could stay longer, but the event up at Curtis’ place would be starting soon so we didn’t linger long. I decided not take any photographs inside the temple, but I did get a few pictures of the grounds, and I felt more comfortable photographing the gardens down the hill.
The gardens were spectacular. We entered via a walkway of large brightly colored prayer wheels and walked around the loop, which encircled a massive statue of the Buddha. Halfway around the loop was a small room with an even larger prayer wheel, and numerous paintings with brilliant hues and meticulous details.
Our visit was certainly brief, but thoroughly rewarding. It made me think back to my time in a Buddhist monastery in Texas, many years before. While the life of a monk was not ultimately my destiny, quiet seclusion and disciplined practice still hold some appeal for me, and I hope that someday I can retire to a life of meditation, study, and simple living. At least for three quarters of the year, or so. I’ll still need a few months of adventure, I expect, so long as my blood still runs!