she of 108 names


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Forested Wat Umong

Hello! Oh, it feels good being back here after a few months … I’ve missed posting.

My first photos for the new year … of the forested temple, Wat Umong. A regular hangout on hot sunny afternoons with attractions like chickens and roosters, fish feeding, statues, winding leaf-strewn paths, and dharma messages pinned to trees. Rainbow Eyes loves tearing through the tunnels and peeking at Buddha statues in alcoves beneath the chedi.

Happy 2013! May the new year of the Snake unwind with wisdom, abundance and LOVE!

x

Wat Umong, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Wat Umong, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Wat Umong, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Wat Umong, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Wat Umong, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Wat Umong, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Wat Umong, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Wat Umong, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Wat Umong, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Wat Umong, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Wat Umong, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Wat Umong, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Wat Umong, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Wat Umong, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Wat Umong, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Wat Umong, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Wat Umong, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Wat Umong, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Wat Umong, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Wat Umong, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Wat Umong, Chiang Mai, Thailand


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August Break Week ii: seven snaps of life, seven slices of mind

This month I am participating in The August Break 2012, run by the lovely Susannah Conway. At the end of each week of August I will share seven snaps of life and seven slices of mind.

1 / Envigourated by the first online workshop on ‘Introduction to Tarot by Lon Milo DuQuette (Lesson 1: The Major Arcana)’ … mind you, I needed the envigourating effects of very strong coffee for the 2 a.m. (Thailand time) start!
2 / Satisfied (and weirdly relieved) folding away the clean clothes that were piled up in baskets for more than three weeks …  oh the little things.
3 / Excited to see our new book publication, The Hermes Paradigm, Book Two: The First Work, off to print.
4 / Completing the ‘generosity circle’ with our neighbour who graciously let us shower at her house for many nights when we had no water supply to our house (water pump and tank problems).
5 / Admiring the determination of my teacher and friend in following his true path in tai chi chu’an by imminetly journeying to Wudang Mountain, China with a group of senior sifus.
6 / Resonating with the Wheel of Dharma and Wheel of Life symbolism – now that I am more aware of the symbol I am seeing it everywhere … temples, decorative temple walls and even photocopying shops!
7 / Dancing and singing (albeit in quite a crazy fashion) with Magus to the tunes of Bowie in order to cheer up Rainbow Eyes and lift him from one of his tantrums (and I say ‘one’ as there are many tantrums per day, apparently ‘normal’ for a two year old).

“Everything in heaven and earth is connected to everything in heaven and earth.

Everything in heaven and earth is the reflection of everything in heaven and earth.

Everything in heaven and earth contains the pattern of everything in heaven and earth.

Look hard enough at anything and you will eventually see eveything.”

~ Rabbi Lamed Ben Clifford ~

Finding divine shelter from the rain at Wat Chedi Luang

Finding (divine) shelter from the rain at Wat Chedi Luang

Delicious fare at Mingkwan Vegetarian Food (Ratchadamnoen Road, near Wat Phra Singh) ... the deep fried wontons are addictive!

Delicious fare at Mingkwan Vegetarian Food (Ratchadamnoen Road, near Wat Phra Singh) … the deep fried wontons are addictive!

Not just for the oldies: the joy of feeding pidgeons at Suan Buak Hat

Not just for the oldies: the joy of feeding pidgeons at Suan Buak Hat

Typical street scene in Chiang Mai: the chaos somehow works, and there is always a peaceful temple hidden amongst it

Typical street scene in Chiang Mai: the chaos somehow works, and there is always a peaceful temple hidden amongst it

Exploring rice paddies near our house

Exploring rice paddies near our home

Visiting our artist friend Jirawong at his In Clay Studio Pottery

Visiting our artist friend Jirawong at his In Clay Studio Pottery

Rainbow Eyes and me riding in the back of a songthaew

Rainbow Eyes and me riding in the back of a songthaew

See previous week:
August Break Week i: seven snaps of life, seven slices of mind


12 Comments

Travels & Treasures: Bangkok’s Golden Mount

We recently returned from a short, mostly relaxing, fun-and-sunshine-filled, escape to Bangkok. The hightlight was a visit to Wat Saket (or The Golden Mount), a lovely temple in the heart of the city with spectacular 360 degree views. Let me take you on a journey, ascending a spiraling staircase of 318 steps to the beautiful golden chedi at the summit of The Golden Mount:

Massive and gleaming, Wat Phu Khao Thong (or Temple of the Golden Mountain in Thai) was, some hundred years ago, the highest point in Bangkok. Its towering days are now over, but this steep, artificial hill—alongside the 58-meter chedi perched on its summit—residing within the Wat Saket compound remains a notable landmark and popular spot for many locals and tourists alike.

~ http://www.travelandleisureasia.com ~

Good morning Bangkok …Bangkok, Thailand

Wat Saket - The Golden Mount, Bangkok, Thailand

Wat Saket - The Golden Mount, Bangkok, Thailand

Wat Saket - The Golden Mount, Bangkok, Thailand

Wat Saket - The Golden Mount, Bangkok, Thailand

An interesting statue (below right) at the entry way with ‘occult’ hand gestures: as above, so below …

Wat Saket - The Golden Mount, Bangkok, Thailand

Wat Saket - The Golden Mount, Bangkok, Thailand

The start of our 318 step staircase ascent, past mini ‘feature’ waterfalls. Each of the 318 steps is quite small, which helps encourage a meandering pace conducive for the tropics! …

Wat Saket - The Golden Mount, Bangkok, Thailand

Wat Saket - The Golden Mount, Bangkok, Thailand

Wat Saket - The Golden Mount, Bangkok, Thailand

Wat Saket - The Golden Mount, Bangkok, Thailand

Rewarded with a leafy view at the halfway point …

Wat Saket - The Golden Mount, Bangkok, Thailand

Wat Saket - The Golden Mount, Bangkok, Thailand

Wat Saket - The Golden Mount, Bangkok, Thailand

Wat Saket - The Golden Mount, Bangkok, Thailand

Small golden chedi inside the temple …

Wat Saket - The Golden Mount, Bangkok, Thailand

Wat Saket - The Golden Mount, Bangkok, Thailand

Emerging from the rooftop, a glittering chedi covered with thousands of gold tiles …

Wat Saket - The Golden Mount, Bangkok, Thailand

Wat Saket - The Golden Mount, Bangkok, Thailand

Wat Saket - The Golden Mount, Bangkok, Thailand

Wat Saket - The Golden Mount, Bangkok, Thailand

Wat Saket - The Golden Mount, Bangkok, Thailand

Wat Saket - The Golden Mount, Bangkok, Thailand

One of my favourite goddesses, the Divine Mother Kuan Yin …

Wat Saket - The Golden Mount, Bangkok, Thailand

Spiraling downwards, happy and hungry …

Wat Saket - The Golden Mount, Bangkok, Thailand

Goodnight Bangkok …

Bangkok, Thailand


6 Comments

White string, water and wats

Rainbow Eyes (now 14 months young) received his first blessing from a Thai Buddhist monk at Wat Phrasing. The monk tied a white string around his wrist, while chanting, and then splashed (presumably holy!) water upon Rainbow Eyes’ little head. It was a lovely act to behold. Rainbow Eyes was mesmerised.

White string blessing tied around Rainbow Eyes' wrist by a Buddhist Monk at Wat Phrasing

White string blessing tied around Rainbow Eyes' wrist by a Buddhist monk at Wat Phrasing

People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child — our own two eyes. All is a miracle.

 ~ Thich Nhat Hanh ~

Some afternoons we spend exploring wats (temples). Wat Suan Dok is a regular hangout as it’s close to our house. Wats provide welcome shelter from the constant heat, and Rainbow Eyes can run around and explore safely. In a wat you can think and rest and relax (or pray) in the peace and quiet, and soak up the beautiful surroundings:

Wat Suan Dok

Intricate main temple facade

Wat Suan Dok

Wat Suan Dok

Sleepy temple dog ... we all know that feeling!

Wat Suan Dok

Heading towards the golden stupa

Wat Suan Dok

A very Chinese-looking guardian lion or dog or lion-dog. An interesting presence amongst Buddhist idolatry

Wat Suan Dok

Wat Suan Dok

Admiring the mosaic star pattern in the backdrop of this Buddha statue

Wat Suan Dok

This brass bell rang beautifully

Wat Suan Dok

Wat Suan Dok

Wat Suan Dok

The afternoon Moon


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Week i of August in pictures

I’ve been burdened by work of late, which – to say the least – hasn’t been the most enjoyable way to wile away the hours. Magus emailed me this thoughtful quote during the week:

Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.

- Dalai Lama

I also love this quote from chapter 29 Stop Working, Start Living in Tom Hodgkinson’s humourous, articulate and perspective-affirming book The Freedom Manifesto (also called How to be Free):

Idler: Can one live without working?
Vaneigem: We can only live without working.
- ‘In Conversation with Raoul Veneigem’, Idler 34, 2004

These words of wisdom moved me to reclaim my time and I’m participating in The August Break , 2011 project – taking one photo each day during August. A creative, fun project that’s manageable (yay!) on days where there never seems to be enough time. So here is the first week of my August in pictures taken around my home in lovely Chiang Mai:

Week i of August: Monday

Monday: waking up to a rainy morning.

Week i of August: Tuesday

Tuesday: Rainbow Eyes (looking slighlty alarmed by the chaotic driving) and I running errands in the back of a songtaew taxi.

Week i of August: Wednesday

Wednesday: strolling in the rain to grab a coffee behind buddhist monks making their morning alms. Doi Suthep mountain lurks mysteriously behind clouds.

Week i of August: Thursday

Thursday: two street dogs - in this case, temple dogs - taking a midday siesta on the cool, concrete stairs.

Week i of August: Friday

Friday: exploring Wat Suan Dok whilst waiting for a takeaway lunch from Pun Pun vegetarian eatery, which is located in the temple grounds. A great location to admire Buddhist icons and architecture and munch on delicious food!

Week i of August: Saturday

Saturday: beautiful tangly vines growing over the entry way of a cute little B&B in a soi (laneway) near us. Playing with the dangly vines is one stop on Rainbow Eyes' afternoon walk itinerary.

Week i of August: Sunday

Sunday: a rainy day spent in our home office with clothes hung in every space possible drying by fan. The wallpaper in our office has seen better days ... our money-saving solution is to cover it up with pictures and trinkets collected during years of HIGH ADVENTURE!

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