Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Now in Munich, or Munchen as the locals call it. Came here yesterday from Nuremburg, after a weekend in Berlin. Got into Berlin on Saturday and took the U-Baan to Rathaus Steglitz where there was a meeting scheduled for seven o’ clock in the evening with Alexander Berzin, the author of Taking the Kalachakra Initiation and a well-known translator of Tibetan texts. I was standing in the hall of the small Buddhist center there when who should walk in but my friend Ms. T. from Paris. Oddly, I was at first not at all surprized to see her. It was like, “Oh, there’s Ms. T.” Then about two seconds later it struck me: “What a minute! What is Ms. T. doing here in Berlin? She lives in Paris.” Ms. T. soon explained. While in Freiburg I had sent her a message mentioning that I was only 30 kilometers from the French border – I had last emailed here from Mongolia - but that unfortunately I was unable to come to Paris because that weekend I had to be in Berlin. So it turns out that Ms. T. also planned to be in Berlin that weekend. She emailed me and said we should met. Unfortunately I did not check my email before going to the Berzin meeting, so I did not know she was in Berlin. I had mentioned to her that I was going to the meeting, however, and there was a link on my website to Berzin’s website. She checked Berzin’s website and got the address of the meeting and came to met me, bringing in tow her friend Herr F. I had last seen her when we parted in the airport at Chengdu, China after our trip to Lhasa, Tibet for the New Year’s Eve.

Anyhow, she did not want to stay for the lecture from Berzin, so we agreed to meet in downtown Berlin at 10:30 later that evening. At the meeting we recited one of the Kalachakra texts and then Dr. Berzin made a lengthly commentary on a few of the key lines. I hope to have more on this on at Legend of Shambhala soon. He ended up talking until almost 10:30, and then I showed him some Tibetan texts which Lama Gombo had given me in Ulaan Baatar. They turned out to be various commentaries on the Kalachakra Tantra written in Tibetan by Mongolian monks, plus one short guidebook to Shambhala, also written by a Mongolian.

I did not get back downtown until 11:30. Ms. T. had been to my hotel and left a note staying we should met in the morning. Sunday morning we had breakfast at the Potemkin CafĂ© in Charlottenburg (a district of Berlin for you non-Berliners) and then Ms. T.s friend, Herr F., was kind enough to drive us to Potsdam, outside of Berlin, where of course Frederick the Great had built his huge palace and garden complex. So we spent most of the afternoon strolling around the grounds, along with several thousand other people. Potsdam is probably best known now – at least to Americans- as the site of the post-war Potsdam Conference held in July and August of 1945 beween Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin, and Harry Truman.

Sanssouci (“Without Worry” in French), built in 1745, was the Prussian King Frederick the Great’s first palace at Potsdam.