I awoke at 4:00 AM to monks preparing for ceremony. Today I am walking an initiation into the temple and I am really excited about it. After getting dressed and doing a short ritual of my own, I went outside into the dark, to meet Lama Ganchen and the other Lamas and monks and a entourage of Buddhists. We congregated in the dark, and when all were assembled, one monk started chanting. Soon, others joined in, and then we all started walking toward the temple. When we arrived at the base of the temple, we walked around it 3 times in a clockwise direction beginning in the East. Throughout the walk, we chanted specific mantras until we returned to the entrance the third time.

The temple is huge and made of stone, and we learned that it was lost for a thousand years because it was covered by a volcanic eruption. It is built of precisely carved stones, often so perfectly fitted, that water from the rain doesn’t run through. We started up the stairs to the first of seven levels, and turned left into a long corridor. As I walked, the walls were filled with ancient carvings, filled with depictions of sacred stories and events. The entire temple is built as a giant Mandella, and every carving, symbol, and corridor plays a significant part of my journey. As we walk, chanting reverberates throughout the stones, and giant Buddahs look down as though recording every step.

After a time, the walls turn into visions, and the outside world disappears , and the wisdom and secret messages of this sacred monument begin to reveal themselves. Our journey continues for hours, always up with greater connection until the top is finally reached, symbolic of enlightenment. It was a profound and revealing experience for me. After the ritual, we returned down the mountain for lunch, and then spent the rest of the day in chanting and ritual. As seems to be my new way, I went to sleep after Midnight, already anticipating our morning wake up call at 4:30AM. I forgot to mention, that this is a Muslim country, and that shortly after we decend into the pre dawn darkness, the Mullahs, prayers can be heard as a wonderful sound, welcoming the sunrise and the start of a new day. Walking behind Lama Ganchen at daylight to ascend into the temple.