I have been at Kopan for 10 days now and have tried numerous times to connect to the Internet without any luck. So it looks like I will not be able to post any photos at this time. It has taken me days just to upload this post.
I thought I might give those of you who have asked in the past, a typical day here at Kopan.
5:30am: Full body prostrations to the 35 Buddhas (optional)
6:00am: Tea (in the dinning hall)
6:30am: Morning meditation (concentration meditation)
7:30am: Breakfast (usually porridge)
9:00am: Teachings on the Lam Rim text (The Graduated Path to Enlightenment by Lama Tsong Kapa, 11th century)
11:30am: Lunch (in the dinning hall. Vegetarian and always good. This is the main meal of the day. Usually rice, cooked vegetables – cauliflower, broccoli, tofu, beans, etc. Bread or Chapattis, raw green vegetables and a banana or apple.
2:00pm: Discussion group for 1 hour.
3:30pm: Teachings on the Lam Rim text.
5:00pm: Tea break.
6:00pm: Analytical meditation on the Lam Rim text.
7:00pm: Dinner (usually vegetarian soup with bread or Chapattis). We did get a roll with a slice of cheese on it once. No mayo, no mustard, no pickles. Nothing but bread and cheese.
8:00pm: Guided meditation on various subjects, mantras and on different Buddhas.
9:00pm: End of last session.
10:00pm: Lights out.
There are no days off. We will keep this schedule for most of the course but during the last 9 or ten days, the schedule gets longer because we have to take purification vows (Precepts) before the sun rises.
There are 250 westerners from all over the world here. From the ages of 18 to 72. The only time you know that there are that many people here, are at mealtimes and in the Gompa (where the teachings take place). Speaking of meals, the cooks here prepare food for us and for around 350 monks everyday!
There is a nun teaching the course this year, Venerable Alisa Cameron, which doesn’t happen very often. The last time a nun taught was in 2008 I think. Although they teach the same material as do the other teachers, there seems to be something special when a nun teaches (in my opinion).
Most people seem to be enjoying the course so far. Although many people have colds or the flu and it appears to be spreading. So they aren’t enjoying the course so much at the moment. The spreading of germs may have something to do with the drying towels they have at the place you pick up your plate or bowl. Hundreds of people touch these towels and then rub them on their dishes! What are they thinking? Obviously they are not. I don’t touch those towels and try not to even look at them for fear of catching a cold.
I haven’t taken many photos and if I have, they are similar to my photos from last year here. But I will keep trying to upload some.
Off to more meditation and teachings, so bye for now.