"Riding an elephant and carrying a sword and shield, he struck all the trees, saying, 'Enter the battle.' At once, all the trees became soldiers, as did the grass and the bushes."
-- said of Tilopa, Khenpo Konchog Gyaltsen,
The Great Kagyu Masters: The Golden Lineage Treasury
While I was chained up, I sometimes made the mistake of thinking about other places. This usually leads to all sorts of anxiety, and is in fact rather a flaw in one's meditation. So, I tried not to do this too often, which is of course another mistake in one's meditation. Better to let things dissolve naturally, chains or no chains. After a while, I stopped caring and let the thoughts liberate themselves quite effortlessly, without trying to herd the rabbits in any particular direction.
Still, things kept cropping up, and of these, the stupa was top of the list. I wanted to give it the yearly coat of fresh paint, and gold leaf. I wanted to groom the surrounding mandala. Although, when you get right down to it, stupas protect themselves, I had an idea this one needed extra protection.
When I returned, I went immediately to the stupa. I was astonished to see the mandala walkways completely overgrown with a Tibetan medicinal herb -- khur mong to be precise. The herb was interspersed with spiky, knee-high plants, arrayed like soldiers, with fixed bayonets pointing outward.
The stupa is in the middle of the high desert, at an altitude of 3,123 feet, cut into the slope of an ancient alluvial fan. Khur mong doesn't grow around here. Precious little of anything besides cactaceae grows around here, so khur mong is the last thing you would expect to see.
If the constellations get right, if it is in accord with the times, and I can find somebody to drive me out there again, I might harvest the herb for medicial use.
I would love to publish a photograph but it seems the cameras have gone missing. Check back, as I am working on appropriate illustration.
Upon close examination, it seems the rabbits turned the mandala into a salad bar and lounge!