Day 1: Arrival in Lhasa

Day 2: Sera Monastery

Day 3: Bumpari Mountain

Day 4: Urban Kora

Day 5: Drepung Monastery

Day 6: Potala Palace Kora

Day 7: Gyaphelri Mountain

Day 8: Preparations for Kailas

Day 9: Gyantse

Day 10: Tashilungpo Monastery

Day 11: Lhatse

Day 12: Saga

Day 13: Pariyang

Day 14: Darchen

Day 15: Dirapuk Monastery

Day 16: The Glacier

Day 17: Dzutrulpuk Monastery

Day 18: Lake Mansarovar

Day 19: Return to Saga

Day 20: Nyalam

Day 21: Return to Lhatse

Day 22: Lhasa 2.0



After my sleepless night, I move my flight to Chengdu up again, to today. My ride to the airport takes me past Atisha's Samadhi without stopping, for the fourth time.

In the Chengdu Tai Chi parks I find that my name is no longer 'hsiao ma (small, or young, Martin/horse), but 'lao ma', (old, or respected, Martin/horse.) However, my time there is unfortunately more or less dominated by the attempt to recapture the erotic experience I has in Lhasa. The attempt ends when the girl who is massaging me tells me that she has a boyfriend who does not know what she does for a living, and yet I still do not ask her to stop what she is doing. I am just so wilfully dense about sexual ethics - I just refuse to get that what seems pleasant and harmless may not be so at all. My first sexual experiences in the Rajneesh free love commune are more than half my life away now, and it's no longer right to use them as an excuse, if it ever was.

The disorientation I felt on my return to Lhasa remains not only through my time in Chengdu, but for several weeks after my return. I hardly know if I am awake or asleep. Everything other than the Mountain seems secondary.

Only when Eva calls do I come alive again. I have had too much shame around what happened in Lhasa and Chengdu to call her. The next year (almost to the day) has me playing the extremely unfamiliar roles of devoted and faithful lover to a sweet and beautiful woman, and of devoted and patient surrogate father to her two adorable but extremely demanding young daughters. I have absolutely no experience at either, yet I love both these roles and feel that I fill them well.

Then suddenly everything ends as suddenly as it began. The departure of Eva and the kids for Germany is required by their changed immigration status, but there is a deeper reason for their departure that I don't know. I get one very friendly call to tell me they have arrived safely, then complete silence. I am worried about her physical safety, and finally call the real estate agent who is selling her house in the U.S., who tells me that she is OK and busy painting her new house.

Well, if this is my Karma resolving itself, as I think it is, then I certainly can't say I didn't have it coming. This is exactly how I left Shri many years ago to come to the States, never looking back and hardly giving her another thought, despite our many years together and all her patience with me.

I think the lesson is that you have to actually resolve your karma, step by step, day by day. There is no 'get out of jail free' card in this deck. What the pilgrimage did for me, I think, was to get me accepted into the school where I learned what I had to learn. May it do the same for you, or better, if you choose to take it.


Martin Mellish.