Paul Joseph Drielsma


Paul Joseph Drielsma

“Traveler, there is no path. Paths are made by walking”
Antonio Machado

Asia » India » Himachal Pradesh » Kinnaur June 24th 2018

Kalpa Kinnaud District, Himachal Pradesh, India June 2018 “Om gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha” The Great Tibetan Mantra “Since death alone is certain and the time of death uncertain, what should I do?” Reflective meditation … Stephen Batchelor in 'Buddhism Without Beliefs. A contemporary guide to awakening' Definition of the word 'Kalpa': “An immense period of time (over 4,000 million years) considered to be the length of a single cycle of the cosmos (or 'day of Brahma') from creation to dissolution” Kalpa is a small town sitting high above the Sutlej river valley, requiring a 20 km ride up from the main road that heads north towards Spiti Valley. The local Kinnauri people practice a mix of Hinduism and Buddhism... read more
Anshwin's place in the main square
Old buildings falling in disrepair
Oranate house carving

Asia » Cambodia » North August 28th 2017

Battambang, Cambodia August 28th 2017 “It is better to travel well than to arrive” Buddha “Few things are as exciting as the idea of travelling somewhere else. But the reality of travel seldom matches our daydreams” Allain de Botton My smartphone weather predictor tells me there is 70% chance of rain today. And as I conclude my pre-dawn rituals, I discover that the 30% chance of no-rain is not going to come true. Even so, I decide to go ahead with my plan to rent a motor-scooter at 8 am and head out to Phnom Sampov. I already have a premonition that in my weird state of mind I am not going to be swept off my feet by any 'attractions' that all media about Battambang tells me are 'must do' things here. But it's just ... read more
Entrance to a cave
The Buddha grove
Even Buddha has to sleep

Asia » Cambodia » South » Phnom Penh August 26th 2017

Phnom Penh, Cambodia August 20th “Vulnerability is the essence of romance. It's the art of being uncalculated, the willingness to look foolish, the courage to say, 'This is me, and I'm interested in you enough to show you my flaws with the hope that you may embrace me for all that I am but, more important, all that I am not.' “ Ashton Kutcher “If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid.” Epictetus “The fool who thinks he is a fool is for that very reason a wise man; But the fool who thinks he is a wise man is rightly called a fool” Siddhartha Gautama My smartphone weather predictor tells me the chance of rain today is 80%. Only my second day in Cambodia, and I was aimlessly walking through ... read more
Monks emerging to beg for food
Inside the Wat Phnom
Morning time at the Royal Palace

Asia » India » Himachal Pradesh » Kullu June 24th 2017

Himachal Pradesh June 2017 “...the freedom of awakening is a relative freedom from the constraints of self-centered confusion and turmoil, from the craving for a fixed identity, from the compulsion to contrive a perfect situation, from identification with preconceived opinions, and from the anguish that originates from such attachments. …..The freedom of awakening is grounded in the cessation of craving. Such freedom is possible because the changing, contingent, ambiguous, and creative character of reality is by its very nature free. Stephen Batchelor 'Buddhism without Belief' I am on the last leg of my trip. And the last blog of this series. What lays before presents a mind and courage challenge for me, as I have bad memories of coming on this part of the road the ot... read more
After Kunzum Pass
One of the waterways to cross
Looking back to Kunzum and Spiti from the beginning of Rhotang Pass

Asia » India » Himachal Pradesh » Spiti Valley June 24th 2017

Himachal Pradesh June 2017 “The basis of peace of mind is to be content with what one has and thus to be in harmony with the world at large.... The root of light is Nothingness The source of all movement is Stillness The source of all sound is Silence” Ramesh Balsekar 'Advaita on Zen and Tao' “The primordial purity of the ground completely transcends words, concepts, and formulations” Jamgon Kongtrul 'Myriad Worlds' I have entered a veritable moonscape on my way to Losar. Both the vistas and the changing light bring me into glimpses of awareness.... of relativity... of the reality of now and the bliss of just being in a place in time that defies description. I have only myself to share this with, apart from the phenomenon of writing about it here. The landscapes ... read more
Gladys taking rest on the way to Losar
Fit for a turkey box slide
Massive installation art

Asia » India » Himachal Pradesh » Spiti Valley June 23rd 2017

Himachal Pradesh June 2017 “Zen teaches vigilant carelessness and detached involvement. In a more high-sounding phrase, it teaches transcendental ordinariness. In a simpler, more sympathetic phrase, it teaches nothing but ordinariness.” Yoel Hoffman: 'The sound of the one hand' Mudh is at the end of Pin Valley which is an offshoot of Spiti Valley. It's a tiny place that has become yet another reachable destination in this moonscape that is Spiti. The road meanders alongside the relatively slow running and dispersed Pin River and one imagines it when frozen in the middle of a dark winter. On the way here, about 15 km before Mudh, I view a Buddhist monastery up a side road and decide to take a look. Besides the newer monastery building are the original monastery halls full of o... read more
Inside the old Buddhist hall at the monastery
More from the old monastery
The village of Mudh

Asia » India » Himachal Pradesh » Spiti Valley June 22nd 2017

Himachal Pradesh June 2017 “Since death alone is certain and the time of death uncertain, what should I do?” Stephen Batchelor: Meditation on 'resolve', 'Buddhism Without Belief' “Because you are alive, everything is possible.” Thic Nhat Hanh Gladys the wonder bike (my Royal Enfield) hums and purrs as I glyde down a remarkably good sealed winding Himalayan road.... as if on a groomed ski-slope. On a clear crisp morning, this is one of the things that takes me to bliss. I momentarily think “it does not get better than this” in between remaining very focused on the road ahead, the possibility of approaching traffic around blind corners, and of potholes or other obstacles. At times too, I imagine myself coming to grief and falling into the deep abyss below... but this then becomes a 'death' meditation. ... read more
Tabo Monastery
Bodhisattvas statues on walls of main temple assembly hall

Asia June 21st 2017

Himachal Pradesh June 2017 “The real cycle you're working on is a cycle called yourself” Robert Pirsig (1928-2017) 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance' “No conditions are permanent; No conditions are reliable; Nothing is self.” The Buddha Entering the district of Kinnaur on National Highway 22 (also called the Hindustan Tibet Road), I immediately felt a transition into another world of remoteness and unique scenery. While there were wonderful 'ski-slope' stretches of road that bikers dream of, others left me feeling I was now in seriously treacherous territory where one could quite easily just fall off a cliff-hanging road never to be seen or heard of again. The road itself is an amazing feat of engineering brilliance traversing one of the highest ranges in the world. Started in 1850, half-tunneling was done manual... read more
Half-tunnelled Kinnaur road
National Hwy 22 Kinnaur
Reckong Peo

Asia » India » Himachal Pradesh » Kinnaur June 20th 2017

Himachal Pradesh June 2017 “I am not the mind. I am neither intelligence nor egoism. I am the joy of intelligence. I am Shiva, I am Shiva.” Adi Sankara And so.... I have wanted to return to Spiti Valley again after first visiting there together with my mate Mark on our Royal Enfield motorcycles in 2010. There were places I just fancied spending more time in... and new places also. I live in a rented house in Inner Seraj Valley... just 6 km before Jalorie Pass in Kullu District of Himachal Pradesh. A great 'take off' point for Spiti, which I figured would take me just two days riding north to reach, approaching from the eastern side of Himachal via Rampur and returning via Manali on the western side (or more in the middle of Himchal). ... read more
Just after sunrise
Royal Palace
Temple complex

Asia » India » Rajasthan December 15th 2016

November 2016 Gujarat and Rajasthan, India “Sing like no one's listening, love like you've never been hurt, dance like nobody's watching, and live like its heaven on earth.” Mark Twain “Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.” C.S. Lewis “The ''kingdom of Heaven'' is a condition of the heart -not something that comes ''upon the earth'' or ''after death.''” Nietzsche How often are our experiences of the manifested world, both natural and man... read more
Rani Ki Vav 2
Rani Ki Vav 3
Chand Baori

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