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Sangha Connections: Ken Klein in Ladakh!

Greetings Dear Sangha, As many of you know, our dear teacher, Losang Samten, will be leading a pilgrimage to Ladakh, India in August. I will be joining Losang and other Sangha members after flying Qatar Air via Doha to Delhi, resting for 2 days, then catching a flight to Leh, the capital of Ladakh.

Never heard of Ladakh or know where it is? Ladakh is located in northwest India, north of Kashmir, nestled in the corner border area. To the west is Pakistan and north is Tibet. Geographically, it is over the Himalaya mountains to the Tibetan plateau. Politically it is India, but culturally it is Tibet.

Above: 1978 - Lamauru Monastery

In 1978, Ladakh opened up to foreigners. There was an airport, but it was for military use only. As you can imagine, it was and still is a politically sensitive area, nestled along two disputed borders. At that time, my wife, Marjon, and I made the trip to Leh, Ladakh from Srinagar, Kashmir. It took two days by bus traveling 10-12 hours a day!

We wanted to spend the summer in Ladakh to avoid the summer monsoons further south. Back then, there were no hotels. We rented a room from a Ladaki family. I cannot recall whether there was electricity, but I do remember vividly there were no facilities to bathe. We went behind the house to the glacier-fed stream to wash.

We had limited knowledge about Buddhism yet we visited monasteries and temples up and down the valley. It was a new culture for us. Now, I am returning after 44 years. I am curious to see the changes. I will be returning to the monasteries with a greater understanding and deeper appreciation. I will attempt to visit the family from whom we rented the room. Tagus Lardak, was the head of the family and a well-respected thangka painter.

I will be posting photos daily on the CTBC Facebook page (if there is wifi). While you might not be on this pilgrimage, you will get to experience this amazing adventure through my eyes and photographs. = = = = = Ken Klein

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