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Monk Chants

Recorded on August 20, 1995, at the Rinchenpung Monastery. Symbolically Vajrayogini’s naval, the gompa houses a statue of Rang Rig Gyapo - the king of self-awareness and the wrathful emanation of Padmasambhava. The monk chants are an invocation to this meditation deity to protect all sentient beings from the consequences of their own misguided behavior.

Goodbye Whidbey Island!

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Goodbye Whidbey Island!

A blink of the eye and my 4-month writing sabbatical is over. The timing was perfect. I penned my final word a day before I was scheduled to leave.

It was a daunting task. I started my writing every morning at 4:30am and often continued into the evening. I left Whidbey having written over 122,000 words (408 pages).

Troy will be adding an additional 100 pages for the 1997 portion – so we will be over 500 pages.

Our task now is to weed it back down to around 300 pages.

We will find a good editor to help us. Of course I’m biased, but with the photos we have as a compliment, I believe we have one hell of a book.

As a final tribute to the effort – on my long drive home to Scottsdale I went by Ketchum, Idaho. Here I located Earnest Hemingway’s grave and shared a smoke and a beer in his memory.


A Vision Manifests

A year ago I said to myself, “I’m going to take the first 4 months of 2017 and write a book about our 3 Tibet expeditions. I want to write in a cold climate in a cottage on the sea.”

I had no notions of where or even on what continent.

Well I’ll be damned if soon thereafter I didn’t receive an email from life-long friend Craig Hannay that said, “Mom and Dad told me you were looking for a place on the ocean to write a book. Carrie and I would like to offer our beach cottage on Whidbey Island.”

As you can see by the photographs, it was perfect. It was inspirational. It was magnificent. It was a vision come true.

I will forever be indebted to the Hannay’s for their generosity and I will attribute any successes of the book in a large part to this magical setting.

And here’s the icing on the cake – as a final gift – on my last day I was presented with a splendid rainbow arching majestically over Hat Island. Even the locals had never seen anything like it. Rainbows play a significant role in the Hidden Lands of Tibet. They also play a significant role in the book. Was Pemako telling me goodbye?

I Thought Buddhists Were Vegetarians?

In my last Blog post I talked about finding and eating a dead bear. I had several people contact me asking, “I thought Buddhists were vegetarian?”

I address this paradox in the book as follows:

We stood there in astonishment as Kaba Tulku performed a “Powa” ceremony, sending the bear’s soul to a better rebirth. When he finished he looked at my brothers and me and smiled as if to say, “A lack of food problem…. What problem?”

As we followed the group back to the cabin I asked Ian, “I thought Buddhists didn’t eat meat?”

“A lot of people think that.” He answered. “But it’s not true. Even the Dalai Lama will eat meat on rare occasions. You see Gil, Buddhists live by the law of karma. Karma is the Buddhist’s “Golden Rule”. And killing incurs the worst karma of all. It has nothing to do with eating meat.

Look at our Monpa porters. They’re drunk with anticipation of a big, fat, juicy bear steak. They realize the bear is a precious gift from the guardian spirits of Pemako. They can feast until their heart’s content and incur zero negative karma because they had nothing to do with its death. You see, the further removed from the actual act of killing the less negative karma you contract.”

And so ends this Blog post. It is my full intention to continue monthly Blogs up and through the publishing of the book. I appreciate your readership and your joining me on this remarkable journey.

Tashi delek,

Gil

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