While I was in Dharamshala and Rewalsar (Tsopema to Tibetans) I learned about what is called the 4 month solitary retreat. During this time someone who wants to be a Tibetan Monk ( know for sure this is required of all Tibetan Monks who are of the Nyingma and likely of the Gelugpa lineage but it might be true of all the lineages of Tibetan Buddhism. The Dalai Lama is Gelugpa but Considered the head (like the Pope) of all the Tibetan Buddhist lineages.
My first experience of this was regarding Lam Rim Geshe (Lam Rim is the middle way found by Buddha) and Geshe is a spiritual and religious title meaning "Spiritual Friend". Usually, one has to be 40 or more years of age to get this title from much diligent study. I guess it would be like a Doctor of Divinity in the Gelugpa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.
So, Lam Rim Geshe was very impressive then likely in January 1986 while my family and I stayed for a month in Dharamshala then. The 5 of us, my wife and three children then were 10, 12, and 14.
Lam Rim Geshe was a very amazing and interesting fellow because his face is the model for Yoda. But, instead of being under 3 or 4 feet tall he is actually almost 6 feet tall and very strong and his eyes glow from all the realizations of being in the Dark for 17 years (Basically he came out for the Kalachakra Tantra in Bodhgaya given by the Dalai Lama to 500,000 people from all around the world then in December 1985
In Rewalsar (Tsopema) I met a Nyingma monk who showed me his fingernails and hair that grows during this 4 month retreat. It was a badge of honor for him to show me this. He kept it in an ornate box to remind him of this attainment. My family and I stayed in the Nyingma Gonpo (retreat church) in Rewalsar since they had rooms to rent out to us. They gave me a high room with a view of the courtyard and then they did an all night long Puja to Dorje Drollo or Drolod or Grolod, depending upon which translator translates it. It was amazing to fall asleep as the monks chanted all night long this puja. (Dorje Drollo is one of the manifestations of Padmasambava and people come from all of the world here because of it of many different religions that believe in Padmasambhava who brought Buddhism from Nalanda University in India and he was also a Mahasiddha (Supreme magic user) which means he could to supernatural events like fly. I saw his footprints melted into the rocks several thousand feet above Rewalsar lake. Pilgrims circle this lake chanting padmasambhava's mantra every day there from around the world. My Vasques Cascade boots were exactly the same size as Padmasambhava's sandals so Padmasambhava must have been at least 6 foot 4 or 6 foot 5 because I wore size 14 boots then and now were 15 or 16 size boots.
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