‘ชมป่าที่คนภูฏานแสนหวง’ ทำไมผู้คนดินแดนมังกรสายฟ้าถึงหวงแหนธรรมชาตินัก

หลังจากที่เครื่องบินพยายามลงจอดด้วยการทำมุมเอียง 45 องศาเฉียดหน้าผาใกล้สนามบินประจำชาติภูฏาน ณ เมืองพาโร

ชายร่างยักษ์ที่นั่งข้างๆ ดูขัดกับเก้าอี้ผู้โดยสารสายประหยัด ชี้นิ้วใหญ่ๆออกไปยังหน้าต่างเครื่องบินด้วยภาษาอังกฤษสำเนียงไม่คุ้นหู

“คุณดูซิ ประเทศของเรามีพื้นที่ป่ามากถึง 70% และอีก 60% เป็นพื้นที่ป่าที่ได้รับการคุ้มครอง นั่นทำให้ประเทศของเราเป็นจุด ‘ฮอตสปอต’ ของระบบชีวนิเวศที่สมบูรณ์แบบที่สุดแห่งหนึ่งของโลก”

Continue reading ‘ชมป่าที่คนภูฏานแสนหวง’ ทำไมผู้คนดินแดนมังกรสายฟ้าถึงหวงแหนธรรมชาตินัก

A friend without word: Saga Tibet

After leaving from Saga city of Tibet Autonomous Region for a while, I saw the beautiful sky and the yak herds along the way that seduced us to suddenly stop the car to capture the atmosphere without a second thought.

The Tibet iconic road which connects each rural city didn’t cooperate with us much. It doesn’t have the shoulder. Then, our priority concern was always a safety. So we had to find a wide enough space for parking on the roadside to unload our filming equipment but, again, it wasn’t easy to find a nice spot.

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The eagerness to capture those sceneries won over my physical fatigue. I decided to leave my team behind and went out alone. I walked slowly to make sure I had enough oxygen to fill my lung. Until reaching the edge of the road, it was much higher than the pasture. So, I had to climb down there carefully.

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The area is surrounded by barbed wires as a declaration of someone territory that gave us a clue for not trespassing in. Instead, we used the camera angle to film the mountain and the yak herds in the same frame without stepping in an area that we weren’t allowed to.

While we were preparing cameras, I felt someone approaching from behind. It was a strange Tibetan woman in worn clothing, aged around 40. She stared at us at close range that’s enough to give me an uncertain feeling. What was her intention by the way? Good or bad? We didn’t know.

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I said a word to her to sound her out. Hello?

She replied back with a language that I didn’t know. So how could we communicate when we speak in completely different language? Suddenly, she leaned over the camera’s viewfinder while our cameraman was taking pictures. That seemed to make her understand that we came here to just take pictures.

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That was an improved sign, of course! We were on the same page now.

The communication without any word had begun.

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I tried to ask her where her land is by pointing to the land we were standing and the next land plot. She nodded.

Then I pointed to the further plot. She shook her head. She must be the owner of these two plots. At least she seems to be friendly enough. I tried again to ask her where she lives by pointing at her, doing the sleeping gesture, and then point to the far away land. She shook her head and pointed to the other side instead. Her face was still covered with a smile. That’s the time I decided to bring out my phone and touched her arm to do some selfies together.

Here it is! The body language can speak hundreds of words.

After I finished our selfies, she brought her old phone with the black and white screen out from her pocket and tried to take a picture from her phone but it didn’t work out. I still tried to find a way to communicate with this stranger by pointing at myself and told her my name. Then I pointed at her, hoping to get to know each other’s name. This time I didn’t receive any response from her except a smile.

At that moment she suddenly grabbed my wrist and took me out from my team. While we were walking across the road, I could feel her gentle warmth from her rough hand. I slowly climbed down from the roadside to the field with her help and care. We couldn’t go fast because the oxygen level was quite low for me. She led me to the barbed wire, through tall grass, and over uneven stones, until we reached a fence that appeared to be a route. She dug under the fence and put her hand on the barbed wire not to touch me. In spite of uncertain doubts about where were we going, I still kept following her steps along the way.

The further we went, the more distance I was away from my team. The idea popped up in my mind. What if she lured me into some dangers? How could someone possibly save me? Simultaneously, another thought came up in my mind.

Believe in your feeling, you will be alright.

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Two strangers were walking hand in hand in the midst of the brown meadow. Sometimes, I felt that I stepped on wet ground that we might stumble upon protruding rocks.

It felt like forever until we came close to the yak herd munching grass. Finally, I saw a gigantic black fur creature with shiny horns that represented an Alpha traits of the living being.

There it was! I thought this might be what she really wanted to show me. But when I tried to stop she still handed me passing by the yak.

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Then, she released my hand and rushed to a tiny yak with fluffy white fur just like a cloud. Her eyes shined brighter than I have ever seen. She beckoned me to see it closely and pointed to my phone.

I took a picture of her with the little yak. Then, she pulled me closer and pointed to my sunglasses. It seemed like she wanted me to take it off before we took a shot together.

After all, since we got to know each other I had been always wearing sunglasses and she couldn’t see how wonderful feeling I had through my eyes.

I had never thought about friendship could happen without a single word.

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Producer’s Diaries

A journey from Nunthiwart Samosorn Producer of Tipitaka

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เพื่อนใหม่ที่ไร้คำพูด : ซากา ทิเบต

หลังจากที่เราเดินทางออกจากเมืองซากา (Saga) ของเขตปกครองตนเองทิเบตมาสักพักใหญ่   ท้องฟ้าสวยๆและฝูงจามรีทำให้อดไม่ได้ที่จะหยุดรถเพื่อเก็บภาพบรรยากาศ    แม้ถนนที่เชื่อมระหว่างเมืองภายในทิเบตจะไม่เอื้อให้หยุดได้ตามใจนัก เนื่องจากบางช่วงถนนไม่มีไหล่ทาง   ดังนั้นเพื่อความปลอดภัยไกด์และคนขับจะหาทำเลที่มีพื้นที่กว้างพอจะจอดได้ นั่นก็ไกลพอสมควรทีเดียว แต่ด้วยความกระหายภาพมีมากกว่าความเหนื่อยในที่สุดเรายอมเดินออกจากรถมา  ทิ้งไกด์และคนขับรถไว้ข้างหลัง

Continue reading เพื่อนใหม่ที่ไร้คำพูด : ซากา ทิเบต

The Museum without exit gates

There are two places that remind me to walk out in the open air.

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The first place is ‘Nanjing Genocide Museum’ I kept my hands in panty sweater, walking along a Chinese tourist group into the place on the hard cold day. Then, I realized that not just a temperature’s drop makes people feel cold but the sadness itself can make us shiver.

I felt sorrow by standing among the pieces of darkness history that mankind ever knew.This kind of cold I do not need a sweater or a blanket. I just needed a gate to escape from darkness to breathe easily in the open air.

The second place is the Chakma village in the Dhalai district of Tripura, India. They are Buddhist who evacuated from “Chittagong massacre incident” in Bangladesh. They settle here now.

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I reached Andrachara village on a bright day. At first, I put a joyful smile on my face because I had a special meeting with immigrants. Just stepping into the village reminded me of the same feeling as stepping into the Nanjing Genocide Museum. People live here with suffering and pain from darkness memories.

At Nanjing, we perceived stories from the historical part but for Andrachara village we knew stories from real people’s testimonies. They are all alive but tormented.

If Nanjing is a museum of objects. Here, Andrachara village, it will be a museum of life.

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The Museum without exit gates.

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It was a day that I was astounded from sadness. Listening to those depressing stories of the Chakma throughout the day was no different from walking in the Nanjing Genocide Museum without a single pause. I did want to leave these stories for a moment and find an exit gate but I wasn’t able to do so. Because the museum of Chakma has no exit gate for anyone.

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Nanjing Genocide Museum leads us into the stories that had happened and ended at a certain point in the world history. No matter how sad you are coping with you will find the end result of its story. There is an exit gate widely open for you.

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But the museum of life, Chakma village, is far more different. We walk into these stories from the beginning but find no exit or concluded ending from these painful stories. These people are still living in nightmare on the Chittagong Mountain.

Even when you are reading this note, most people of Chakma are still being harassed by countless invasions of hatred.
Producer’s Diaries  

A journey from Suphachai Thongsak Producer of Tipitaka

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พิพิธภัณฑ์ที่ปราศจากประตูทางออก

มีสถานที่ 2 แห่งที่ทำให้ผมนึกถึงการเดินออกไปในที่โล่งแจ้ง

สถานที่แรกนั้น คือพิพิธภัณฑ์ฆ่าล้างเผ่าพันธุ์แห่งนานกิง ผมเอามือล้วงกระเป๋าเสื้อกันหนาวเดินตามกลุ่มชาวจีนเข้าไปในสถานที่แห่งนั้นในวันที่อากาศหนาวเหน็บอย่างยิ่ง ก่อนที่ผมจะพบว่า ไม่ได้มีเพียงอุณหภูมิที่ต่ำลงเท่านั้นที่ทำให้คนเรารู้สึกหนาวเหน็บ แต่ความเศร้าก็ทำให้เรารู้สึกหนาวเหน็บได้เช่นกัน เพราะผมรู้สึกเช่นนั้น เมื่อยืนอยู่ท่ามกลางชิ้นส่วนทางประวัติศาสตร์ที่มืดมิดและต่ำช้าที่สุดครั้งหนึ่งของโลก

Continue reading พิพิธภัณฑ์ที่ปราศจากประตูทางออก

Zazen: Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit.

Five o’clock in the Monastery of Silence. This sanctuary does not allow any layperson to access.

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A Large sign hanging over the front door of the meditation hall describes the rules that monks must practice with. The aim of Zazen is just sitting, that is, suspending all judgmental thinking and letting words, ideas, images and even thoughts pass by without getting involved in them.

And the last rule states “Whoever does not obey the rules is the one who hinders the practice of others, will get dismissed and cannot be returned to the temple.” 

The new member of monks must be adjusted to these strictness, at all cost, to proceed to the right realization.

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Each day, the monks must practice Zazen meditation for almost 5 hours to reach the Satori, a Japanese Buddhist term for awakening. The sitting posture is similar to the shape of Pyramid. The head seem like a mountain top. The crossed legs act as a firm foundation and the mouth is close with a tongue touching jaw.

The eyelids are half-lowered, the eyes being neither fully open nor shut so that the practitioner is neither distracted by, nor turning away from, external stimuli. In many practices, the practitioner breathes from the hara (the center of gravity in the belly).

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When a monk feels tired and drowsy, at the moment, he will receive a warning sign from the “warning stick” or “awakening stick, a flat wooden stick or slat used during periods of meditation to remedy sleepiness or lapses of concentration which is called Keisaku

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This Keisaku stick is not considered a punishment, but a compassionate means to reinvigorate and awaken the meditator who may be tired from many sessions of zazen, or under stress, the “monkey mind” (overwhelmed with thoughts) and does allow practitioner to change a meditation posture. Even it shows a symbolic meaning about the simply way of Upāsaka and Upāsikā life.

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If someone has asked “How does the sitting zazen can lead us to attain the true Dharma?”

The answer is “Don’t know”

Those who record the experience of attaining Dharma are not the ones who attain Dharma.

It may be as true as the Zen master said

Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.

Of course, the people who say aren’t the people who know.

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Producer’s Diaries

From the journey of Bun Kosalwat from the Documentary Tipitaka : The Living Messages

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The Man of Gandhara

I looked up at the white marble plate engraved the name “PESHAWAR MUSEUM” which is attached above the entrance. This building was built since 1905 to collect historical pieces of a man who has been known as a powerful influencer of thought more than 2,500 years.

I would like to call this man.

The Man of Gandhara

 

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Peshawar Museum is known as one of the most important museum. Not just only in Pakistan but this place is also the world recognition that collect the completest collections of Gandhara ‘s Buddhist arts in the world, especially, the engraved stone tablets telling the Buddha’s biography from the Birth to the Nirvana.

In those the ancient time, Gandhara region covered some area of Afghanistan and Pakistan. It was one of the Silk Road pathways that connected the eastern and western world together with trades, wars, and religions. The Gandhara civilization was influenced by the Greek, Roman, Persian and Indian.

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When Buddhism arrived this region, this cultural mixture was the inspiration for Gandhara’s artists to create the Buddha icon statues as a human form for the first time in the world history. Before then, the Buddha icons were only made in symbolic representations such as the lotus representing the Birth, the horse and Buddha’s footprint representing the Renunciation, the throne and Bodhi tree representing enlightenment, the crouching deer before Dharmachakra representing the sermon, and the stupa representing the Nirvana.

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The first creation of Buddha statue in a human form influenced by Greek gods has been a meaningful heritage that the Gandhara civilization gave to the Buddhism.

I walked into the first hall of Peshawar Museum and saw stone statues lined along the hall. Buddha and Bodhisattava statues with the same height as human reminded me of the Greek-Roman angels. In fact, they are the Man of Gandhara or the first figure of the Buddha.

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The next display exhibits the engraved stone tablets that considered as the very first tablet collection telling the story of Buddha’s life from the Birth to the Nirvana and also the cremation. We can see the variety of faces, bodies, and characters that differed in each state of life; strength, rapture, torment, and the highest point of human being, the enlightenment.

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After spending several hours in the museum admiring the life of the Man of Gandhara, I leave with joy. Today Peshawar is the capital city of Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa province between Afghanistan and Pakistan but in the ancient time it was the capital city of Gandhara ruled by Kushana dynasty between the first to the fifth century.

Peshawar means “the City of Men”.

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The journey of Suddan Wisudthiluck in the documentary

Tipitaka : The Living Messages

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Sky Lanterns of faith in Indonesia

FLOATING LANTERNS Illuminate INDONESIA’S NIGHT SKY in an unforgetable tribue to buddhism, momentarily making INDONESIA THE BEACON OF BUDDHIST FAITH IN THE MIDDLE OF THE OCEAN.

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The lanterns floating to worship our Lord Buddha above a moonlit Borobudur temple are a momentous tribute to Buddhism.

Indonesians and tourists alike will write their wishes and attach them on the lanterns before releasing them into the night sky.

The light from the lanterns fill the sky, adding an almost magical element to the Great stupas of Borobudur, the largest Buddhist temple on earth.

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The floating lanterns are organized every year on Vesakah Puja day, otherwise known in Indonesian as “Hari Raya Waisak” or simply just “Waisak.” This year Waisak has fallen on May 11, 2017. The floating lantern ceremony is the highlight of Waisak.

Waisak may be seen differently from the viewpoint of Vesakha Puja in Thailand where the religious ceremony takes a far more somber mood.

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Waisak in Indonesia is more a combination of ceremony and festival. Before the prayer begins, there are dance performances and a small concert on a stage shared with the monks.  

Waisak welcomes people of all faiths to join and celebrate together harmoniously and without judgement.  The ceremony is considered a way to support, promote and maintain Buddhism within Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country. It is one of Indonesia’s most renowned and successful tourist activities.
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In another aspect, the event is considered to be an advancing campaign to ensure that Buddhism is still practicing peacefully in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world. It is also one of the effective approach to promote Indonesia’s tourism.

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Celebrated since 1983. The Wisak ceremony is proof that Buddhist faith in Indonesia is still alive and well.

From the journey of ‘Ladawan Sondak’ in Tipitaka : The Living Messages

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ลอยโคมแห่งศรัทธา ณ ดินแดนหมื่นเกาะ อินโดนีเซีย

แม้จะมีทะเลขวางกั้น แต่ความศรัทธาของผู้คนก็ลอยไปถึง มันเปลี่ยนท้องฟ้ายามค่ำของดินแดนหมื่นเกาะให้เต็มไปด้วยแสงเทียนแห่งศรัทธา ลอยไปสัมผัสกับปุยเมฆอันไกลโพ้น จนเป็นประสบการณ์อันยากจะลืมเลือน ณ อินโดนีเซีย

Continue reading ลอยโคมแห่งศรัทธา ณ ดินแดนหมื่นเกาะ อินโดนีเซีย

Howling like a boss, howling like a Bhutan’s dog

For Buddhists who believe in the next life, they always have a trivia question to ask each other.

“What do you want to be in the next life?”

Of course, everyone would say “Human without any lingering thought. But after what I perceived from my latest trip in Bhutan, I may refigure my answer.

Perhaps being a dog won’t be a bad idea

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I have carefully planned the schedule for my dog life in Bhutan. I’ll wake up in the morning with little physical exercises and spend an entire half of the day by strolling around monastery and seeking some food near local butcher’s shop. Then I’ll have a meeting with my little friend, a black dog, near the bus parking ground. We together will go to the Dzong, the city fortress, for sunbathing. After that I might feel starving, so I will circle around hotel restaurant’s back doors for the dinner. When the night comes, I will find a comfy place to sleep and end my day with 10 minutes howl.

What a peaceful life!
This is a life of doggo in Bhutan.

 

Bhutanese have an unusual concept of raising dogs. It’s quite diverse from the rest of the world. Some family have a dog as a pet with the concept of ownership. But most of them or around 100,000 dogs across the country are “Community Dogs” strolling around independently without any strings attached to human.

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For generations, Bhutanese always have strict attitudes of compassion and not to cause any harm to sentient beings. But for dogs, there’s something more than that. They believe that dog is a previous form before incarnation as a human being.  That’s why every stray dog is fed well by people. They look healthy and well-nourished far more than stray dogs (or even homeless people) in other countries. They are so incredibly friendly, perfectly good looking, and well behave.

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But there are some points that now Bhutanese concern. The more city grows, the more dog’s population spreads even further. Because there are more plenty of waste food that were left from households, restaurants, and hotels which increase the density of dog’s population in cities.

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From men’s best friends turned into the number one most notorious city problem. The howling sound from armies of dog disturbs the people at night. Tour guides usually advice their tourists to prepare some earplugs for sleeping at the night as an essential surviving stuff. However, the night problem seems to be a comical issue comparing with the epidemic from those animals.

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Bhutan government is tackling the problem by initiating sterilization program and vaccination services across the country to sustain the population of dogs and control unnoticeable diseases.

This program might take many years but at least it is a way to regain the positive relationship between dogs and human in this unusual circumstance.

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After having a big thought, I think my chance to be born as a dog in Bhutan might be very little.

Even if I could, I would be sterilized for sure!

I think it’s time to reconsider my answer again.

Kaewkhwan Ruengdecha (KK) : a producer of Tipitaka : The Living Messages 

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