In terms of lifestyle, old age here in the Himalayas has very little resemblance to that stage of life in the west, particularly California. In the Himalayas it is widely believed that this time is to be spent in spiritual activity, to gain merit and to direct every thought, word and deed towards a better lifetime next time around.
Our yoga group visited the Queens’ Memorial Chorten, a major landmark in the main city of Bhutan, Thimphu.
I joined a group of crones sitting in a circle chanting and swirling prayer wheels. and they delighted in teaching me the local version of the well-know Buddhist mantra Om Mani Padme Hum. They corrected my pronunciation with peals of toothless laughter. I couldn’t noticed an empty bottle of the other spirit kind, tucked away under my new sister’s skirt. These women are in their final years, know it, and are doing what they believe is right: spending time gathering merit. One of the ladies urgently tries to tell me something. “What is she saying?” I ask Rinchen, our guide. “She says, ‘next lifetime we will surely meet again as friends.” I am so touched, and wonder will our next life will be here in Bhutan or at Retirement Village in the States.Check out the movie! Maggie learns the Mantra in Bhutan