Location: Norbulingka

Today was the day we had to say goodbye to Dharamsala. Even though the Norbulingka Institute was only about an hour away, it felt as if it would be long gone. As we drove up and out through the main square, we waved goodbye to the shops, cafes, and various people we spent our time with. Soon, after jamming out in the taxi, we arrived at Norbulingka, smack down in the middle of a small village which we realized was even more remote than our mountainous monastery. It was a beautiful place, with workshops, studios, museums, a store, gardens, a temple, and our Norling Guesthouse. Each room was decorated after a different animal associated with traditional Tibetan mythology; Val and I were in the Fish Room. Lunch was a tad disappointing because I had been craving meat severely and the restaurant was vegetarian. We took a tour of the Norbulingka, being lead through the various art studios they had there, such as woodcarving and painting, statue making, and thangka painting. Thangkas are paintings of deities in Tibetan Buddhism made from natural paints and metals. My learning partner, Lobsang, is also a thangka painter and so I was excited to see what more Norbulingka had to offer. From what I learned from Lobsang and the tour, thangkas take incredibly long to make; many months depending on the size, and even learning how to create the image of a certain deity takes a long time too, as each is very detailed. After the tour, Patrick gave us our note cards, which we are supposed to write to each of the other participants. Val and I sat in the garden trying to think of what to write to everybody but to no avail; nothing came of brainstorming except multiple mosquito bites. For dinner we walked to this pizza place which had a wood-fired brick oven; it was good to have a small taste of home for once.