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Kevin & Fiona - La voyage dans la Lune, Chapter 2

(In progress. Part 1 of ?)

November third, 2006. Jakar Dzong, Bumthang, North Central Bhutan.

Ommanipadmehungommanipadmehungommanipadmehung…

He swirled the tea in his bowl and tried not to think about how cold he was. If this was fall, he wasn’t sure he could handle winter. At least not on a monk’s rations. For his metabolism it was essentially a fast. The smell of the butter lamps had him thinking about popcorn. Not much of a meditator yet, but he was quite new at this sort of thing. “OMmanipadmehung, ommanipadmehung, ommanipadmehung…

The tea was called sudja, buttered and salted in the Tibetan style. He was grateful for anything vaguely food–like at this point. Fortunately, his unlimited capacity for chang, which he had inadvertently exposed the first night they had arrived had garnered him some sort of respect, or at least bemused tolerance, among the people of the Dzong and surrounding village.

Kevin woke up very early this day, as he still did on occasion. He’d been assigned to assist the monk whose duty it was to make the daily offerings of water, incense, and butter for the lamps of this particular temple of the Dzong. He still hadn’t fully gotten the hang of this whole sleeping thing, and he understood now that he slept much better with Fiona beside him. “OMMANIpadmehung, ommanipadmehung…” Set the thought aside, it is attachment and distraction…

He’d never been religious, casting off his Catholic upbringing as soon as he could. He had decided long ago that he knew right from wrong and could be a good person on his own, thank you very much. Perhaps that was why he experienced that moment of clarity so quickly when Fiona first began explaining the Dharma to him. And as for service to others, if being a superhero and saving the Earth from suffering under Shee–Lar’s domination wasn’t enough, then what could be?

Fiona was ostensibly on retreat, but he knew that it was not her sutras that she was studying. One of her bags had been filled with yellow legal pads, writing and drafting tools, and a couple of solar-powered calculators. She was putting down her plans for their voyage to the Moon. Fortunately for them she’d built up a lot of good will during her earlier sojurn here, and nobody examined either of them very closely. Though everyone within several days’ walk or drive did know of the two odder–than–usual westerners.

Fiona and Kevin had spent their first couple of nights together in the tourist hostel. During the second evening he said that something felt odd, and she concurred. Something was different, she said, and she feared it was not good. Something that might be a threat to the people. He didn’t say it out loud, but years of being a super had heightened his awareness, and it felt too much like an enemy lurking nearby.

That was a week ago now, and he’d tried to lose himself in temple life, the prayers, the rituals, and the daily meditation. In the afternoons he soon found himself standing at the railing of one of the upper galleries, watching the young novices at play in the courtyard. He began to wonder if he was doing a better job of not thinking there than in his own cell. When Fiona’s work was completed, they would be done here.

He came to understand that his bowl was now empty, and the morning prayers were completed. He hadn’t noticed the time passing. He blinked and adjusted his red robes (a darker red than he preferred, but comforting and amusing in an ironic sort of way) and left the big room. As he passed through the main courtyard he saw the locals coming through the gate, seeking intervention of either a spiritual or secular nature. The Dzong also housed the regional offices of the Bhutanese government, making it the center of gravity for the nearby valleys. He returned to his cell.

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La voyage dans la Lune by Kevin L. Corridon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.