Robert is not a close friend, but one of my Chiang Mai associates for whom I held respect and affection. His cancer diagnosis came too late for a cure; he took the warning of his impending departure from this world with great grace. The last time I saw him, his body was weak, but his spirit was radiating strength, love, and serenity.
A couple of days ago I saw, on social media, the prognosis that he had only days left as a mortal. I am already here in Bhutan, so obviously my blessing for him will engage the Bhutanese sense of spirit..
March 4. We hike over a suspension bridge to the Khamsam Yulley Namgyal Choeten, an important Vajrayana shrine near Punakha. (I posted about the hike here)
In the temple, we honor all the protective deities, and the Buddha. With our guide translating, we ask the resident Lama for a blessing. I light a traditional butter lamp to illuminate Robert’s journey through the Bardos. (Within the temple, no photography is allowed).
After hiking back down to the bridge, I hang a prayer flag (also blessed by the lama) for Robert. May the winds carry the prayers of these flags throughout the land, for the benefit of all sentient beings. Om Mani Padme Hung.
[In this clip, I’m offering the prayer. Obviously the wind accepted it, since the sound barely reached the mic on the phone.]
[Second clip pans from the river (life flows on…) and ends with a zoom to the shrine where the first part of the ritual took place.]