Filed in Mahayana, Tibetan

Cave With a View

On a monthlong retreat in a Himalayan meditation cave, Kate Wheeler learns more from companionship than solitude.

Kate Wheeler

Wisdom Collection

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Luckily I have two career cave yoginis showing me how it’s done. I can see they are not living in any outward paradise. Both of them have medical issues and rely on sponsors in far-off countries to send them the forty dollars a month they need to live on. Ani Choe Lhamo has stuck a Buddha image in the biggest ceiling crack, presumably to ward off a collapse of the entire cliff above.

What I notice is that they don’t let their minds get the better of them: Ani Choenyi hates the bugs in her cave, but she’d never kill them. “What? And ruin the blessings?” The longer I am here, the more people I hear the two of them are helping with their monthly forty dollars.

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