Dawa Choga

CHRONICLE: On Synchronicity Upon my Aunt Rose's clear vinyl-fitted white sofa, a third-grade boy by myself doing what I was told to do, looking at National Geographic: White & red pagoda-like cliffside retreat a three-week walk from the nearest road awed me at the thought of such profound solitude- * Harkening back to my first inkling my mind always revisits that paradigm shift stepping outside time briefly in my aunt's parlour... This November morning, the Monday following a week-end Atlantic Regional Conference at Denma Ling, sorting through issues of NG back to the 60s at a drowsy used bookstore-slash-copy shop across from the Dalhousie campus, biding my time till my afternoon ride home from the heart of the province to its right foot, in the September 1961 issue was an article new to me, "Bhutan, the Mountain Kingdom." It crossed my mind if that photo might surface. Scanning past "America's First Manned Venture Into Space: The Flight of Freedom 7," ....just so, there it simply, suddenly, quietly was! Magnetized, my eyes went with utter yearning sympathy as if beyond the photo to the physical place. Now this alone would be a momentous discovery, ordinary miracle enough but what is more, under the picture the caption says, Known as Tiger's Nest, Taktshang Monastery perches on a sheer granite cliff 3000' above the Paro River Valley. Bhutanese believe that the Indian mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan and Tibet landed here on a flying tiger." First I stumbled on heartfelt photo, childhood icon. Then I was further stunned to see the exact location (having no special meaning to me as a child at that time but since that time assuming great importance) for Taktshang is none other than Taktsang! "Of tremendous significance to my future activity were the ten days spent in [1968] retreat at Taktsang." BORN IN TIBET Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche "The message that I received . . . was that one must try to expose spiritual materialism and all its trappings, otherwise true spirituality could not develop. I began to realize that I would have to take daring steps in my life." Ibid. 36 years! since first setting eyes on and imprinting that photo in NYC (left-hand side of left-hand page), finding it again in Halifax amidst aisles of yellow bestsellers - o flash of recognition - twenty years since - happy accident! - I took Trungpa - a decade after his retreat at Taktsang, a decade before he died - as my root-guru. * Nowhere in the article does it say anything about it being a three-week walk from the nearest road. Dawa Choga Pembroke Shore, Nova Scotia [1997]