Yontan & I went to Chiang Mai & Lampun with Kunga Sangbo Rinpoche this past weekend. It was an unplanned trip in the sense that we didn’t have a fixed program of what to see and where to go. We only knew that we would visit Bo & his girlfriend Ella, who have recently moved there, and we would go and pay respect to Pratat Doi Suthep. We also planned to visit Pratat Haripunchai in Lampun. Several hundred years ago Tara’s noble teaching has reached Haripunchai through Atisha or his students.
We arrived there on Saturday (20 March). After resting at the hotel and updating with Bo about the foundation’s work, we went to Wat Umong and prayed at the old Jedi there. On the steps leading to the Jedi, I thought of Lhasay Rinpoche’s advice on how to build the Shanti Tara Maha Stupa’s base.
From Wat Umong, we went to a walking street. It’s wonderful to see traditional culture being presented in this friendly way. The street is not only a market where goods & service are exchanged but it’s a locus of thriving culture and where amateur musicians and artists express their talents and entertain people. A girl dressed in Chaing Mai costume dances with an umbrella. An old man plays with a drum while his wife sings a Thai classical song. Their face and eyes reflect contentment in a world far removed from the market world we are experiencing.
We walked down the street and arrived at Wat Srisuphan, a temple renowned for silver handicraft. Their newly built (though not completely finished) silver ubosot shines in the air. We got a chance to talk to the abbot, who kindly received Rinpoche. He asked Rinpoche to bless the ubosot so that obstacles in the construction will be removed. More than anything, the temple disciples asked Rinpoche to go back there the next day and give dharma teaching. Joyfully Rinpoche accepted this rare invitation.