PART 1,2 , 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 910,11,121314151617
And he was under the lake again.
The water had cleared and as he approached the chorten, he was again aware of a presence. "Is it another--or the same?" he anticipated.
It was a woman again. He was' surprised to see who it was.
She smiled and swam towards him. Bubbles escaped from him. "Be careful," he warned himself.
It was as before. A supposedly-friendly figure which suddenly attacked. He had kept her hands from his throat, but she grabbed his wrists in a steely grip. It was just as bad. He could not pull free.
Smiling, he squinted and thought, "Dorje!"
But it did not work.
"Metal dorje! " he thought.
Still no results.
He was drowning.
Gold and turquoise.
New York and New Jersey.
Sun and moon.
"DORJE!" he thought, glaring at the shimmering Dolma who seemed to undulate and coil within herself.
This time there was a burst of red, as if he had hit her head with a rock. It spread as he saw her falling to pieces.
Gasping at the surface, he looked at the blue. But he asked no questions.
"Why did it work? And why didn't it work at first?"
He had to dive under the water again.
He did so.
There was a presence in the chorten gateway. It was a woman.
"Melody," he thought.
He was drowning!
Looking upwards he saw the carved mandala on the ceiling. Inside the chorten was the image. He stared at it and then turned his eyes towards Melody. The image had been a.... "Dorje!" he thought. And there was a burst of opaque white where her head had been. Her body became pieces, but they quivered and recollected themselves. They did not vanish. They became long coils, tentacles. Reaching up out of the soil at the bottom of the lake, they grasped at him. "Dorje!"
But nothing happened.
New golden lines.
New turquoise lines.
"DHARMA DORJE! Help me ... !" his mind screamed.
The coils about his body suddenly evaporated, freeing him to exit the chorten on the opposite side.
His lungs were bursting as he thrust himself towards the surface.
"Blue! Blue!" he gasped and choked, laughing at the same time.
The other shore was barren and sunbaked. He did not turn to look at the lake he had just left. He did not even stop to consider that the wind had stopped blowing. It was now hot. Very hot and he could see that the scratched line of a path up the mountainside was steep.
What had Drelhu said? It had been vague. Was he allowed to fly here?
"No, I don't think so," he thought.
Bouncing light changed all colors towards burning furnace colors. The bouncing radiation made him squint, made him sniff. The soil was burnt here also. He took a step. Right foot. Left foot.
When a turn came in the rock-strewn path, he saw a chorten up ahead. He paused, half-expecting to sense a presence, a woman. But there was none.
He continued to carefully step upward. The structure drew closer and his stomach muscles tensed.
The chorten was in a dilapidated condition, with no superstructure above the hemisphere. The mortar was missing large chunks, and the vertical lines of the gateway seemed to disagree with each other as to the true nature of up and down. Glued to an upper flat plane of the hemisphere was a tattered piece of paper. It was the remnants of a woodcut print. All that remained of the image was the central dorje.
He was about to step into the coolness afforded by the shade of the gateway when he discovered his advance blocked. Nothing was there, but he found that his progress was blocked, as if by a strong silent gale wind. He would advance a few inches and be thrown back.
"Within inches," he thought, "of the cool shadows."
"Stop!" came a voice out of the unknown gale. "Do not enter! "
"What?" He could see no one. "Who speaks?"
"Do not enter!" it rumbled. "This is the entranceway of the wet women ... Beware!"
Chamba folded his arms across his chest, with legs apart in a wide stance. He threw back his head and laughed.
"They are gone! They were not women ... " A coldness emanated from the chorten.
"This is the entranceway of the many-armed..."
"It is dead!"
"How? Name FOUR and ONE, and I shall let you pass."
"FOUR DORJES!" Chamba shouted, "And one DHARMA!"
"AH!" said the wind. "No need to yell! Correct--you may pass."
Chamba tentatively put out his hand. No resistance. He took a step. The space could be moved through. He did so without hesitation, not even pausing in the coolness of the shadows.
The heat on the trail beckoned. That same trail led directly to an old twisted tree. It was firmly implanted in the path. When he reached it, he noticed how strangely its roots straddled the pathway, as if it had stepped onto it to go north or south. Attempting to walk around it to the right, he found an invisible barrier, a relative of the recent wind. Attempting to walk around it to the left, it was the same. He could not pass due to an invisible force.
Reaching forward, he touched the twisted tree. It was rough and actual. He began to climb it. "I'll go over it!"
He did not get very far. It began to shake, quiver, shimmer, and shudder. It threw him back roughly.
"Phew!" he said aloud, dusting himself off. "I'm glad I hadn't gotten up higher before it shook, quivered, shimmered, shuddered and threw me off!"
"CLACK! CLACK! "
"You cannot pass!" the tree said, quivering and shuddering in the bright sunlight.
"Hmmm?" he wondered, then said, "Let me pass? The world...all beings depend upon me!"
"Foolish...CLACK-CLACK ... conceit!" it answered.
"Hmmmm," he wondered, then said,:"IDORJE!"
The shuddering tree stood still.
The tree snorted, "CLACK. CLACK. Do not make a habit of it!"
Chamba felt the hot sun get hotter.
The tree shimmered in its leafless, twisted body, seemingly ancient beyond the birth of continents. It spoke.
"Imitationdorjes do not count!"
"AH," said Chamba, "we'll see about that..."
And he took off all his clothes.
Then he ran frontally towards the tree, arms spreadeagled, roaring.
The tree split vertically in two.
He embraced it. After what seemed a long time, he stood up and stepped back.
Putting on his clothes, he saw that now the space that had opened was wide enough for the path. He stepped forward and followed the path through the tree.
The landscape beyond the tree was now transformed. There were some grasses and brushes, scrub pine. Further up, there were short trees, clinging to the hillside. However, in spite of all this, it was still basically a desert. Growth sat side by side with baked earth.
The path just beyond the split tree held a surprise for him. A young woman was coming down the hill. She had not seen him until the last moment. She looked up startled and her head almost jerked. Her eyes looked from side to side, as if for an escape route. But if that was what she was thinking, she thought better of it.
She nodded her head, putting two hands together in greeting, her body swaying. She rattled off something that he did not understand and passed by him to his left.
He said nothing and turned to watch her pass down the hill.
She did not turn, swaying as she walked, taking the path to the tree. He saw that it was still open. In a
moment, she was through it and vanished.
He met the woman sitting at the side of the path. She was not old, but she looked old. She sat spinning but he could not see what she was spinning or where she got her materials. He sensed the colors and looked for the butterflies. He could not find them here. He looked for the aqua and turquoise dragonflies. They, just as the red ones, were missing.
He tried to walk past her but the motions of her hands stopped him.
"Wait," she said. "I was waiting for you."
Her words caught him by surprise, for he had understood what she had said, even though he could not really remember in which language she had spoken.
Unlike the other woman, young, full-breasted, and fearfuleyed, who had greeted him defensively in a foreign tongue, this one was not afraid. Indeed not. She sent a chill about his body.
"Who are you?" he asked, and he felt the presence of many colors and many wings. She looked up from her spindle and smiled. It almost seemed audible. It certainly was aggressive. He wanted to back off, go back down the path.
Forward or backward, neither was possible. His feet were rooted and his hands seemed on the edge of freezing in their gesture of futile protest.
"You are not going to fulfill your errand," she laughed. "Why do you remain fixed there?"
"That is it! She was to stop the journey! She will serve as an enemy!"
She had stopped him with her invisible spinning and now she added mockery to this interference. Emotions relative to anger arose in him.
"Damn!"And he found that this only increased her powers.
"This won't do," he thought, now immobilized. He was losing his sense of vision as great blurs of colors swam before him instead of the sight of the woman, spinning on the path. Striving to catch himself from falling into the brightlylit fog, he called up the memory of the lama's face. It startled him to see this image also laughing. Then it was speaking, but he could barely hear as a density of obscuration settled upon him.
The hexagram. It was about the hexagram.
Inside his back he felt it glowing. It moved. It changed, coming to the surface of his back. His muscles there were able to move now. The hexagram changed, broken lines rose, shifted and became solid. Solid lines moved, aged and became open. The colors raced across his field of vision when:
Thunder over mountain.
And his eyesight was recovered.
Thunder reverberated between the walls of the mountains, the walls of the distant gorge, shaking loose rocks, making safer, more dangerous, the human paths lying there. Flashes of lightning revealed that no one was there to walk the dangerous paths at this now-new twilight stormdrenched time. Some pebbles followed moisture to the churned river, followed it all the way to the ocean in this micaladen fluid.
The woman abruptly stood up and waved her right hand. The hexagram changed again. She was gone. And he was not entrapped any longer.
On the top, after patient walking which surprised him, he found his clothes smelling of the scrub-pine he had struggled through. He recalled the old lava extrusions which made small caves large enough for a seated man, facing the opposite white mountains. These had been put to some such use, for paths led to them and they had small walls of stones marking the lowest edges of their openings. other openings were just eyes, empty places for bones, indications of the marks of ancient and unknown, never-tobe-seen animals, unusual and large--abiding within the earth and from these cliffs as evidence, being caught there. Higher up, he had seen poles with strips of familiar white flags, all original colors having been long ago bleached out by rain or moon or sun. These sat on the edge of the ridge he wished to reach. But having reached it, on top, he pressed to find the flags which had been so visible below. When he had seen them, he thought that the lava had twisted the mountain into a convenient yin and yangsymbol.
He was not sure of that as not being anything but his imagin ation, until he met the tree hidden in a thorn bush thicket beyond the blood-colored pile of rocks with their carvings proclaiming words which he could not understand.He had questions but no answers-:- came to him then. He wascaught up in being patient with his feet. Just right. Just left. The correct steps at the correct speeds.
He knew that he was going higher and that it might as a consequence become more difficult. He did not want to slip and fall into the thorns. Who knew what poisons they might be tipped with.
He found himself being more silent. He did not want anyone to hear him, to see him. He was not. sure anyone was about, but he was sure he wanted to remain unseen.
A wall suggested people. He moved up away from it, away from the path marked by it. He thought he saw a child hiding by a small waterfall, fearful of him. He was fearful of the noises she might make and studiously ignored her existence. Maybe she never moved. He did not see her again. seen poles with strips of familiar white flags, all original colors having been long ago bleached out by rain or sun, moon or sun. These sat on the edge of the ridge he had wished to reach. But having reached it, on top, he was hard-pressed to find the flags which had been so visible from below. When he had seen them, he thought that the lava had twisted the mountain into a convenient yin and yang symbol. He wasn't sure of that as not being anything but his imagination, until he met the tree hidden in a thorn bush thicket beyond the blood-colored pile of rocks with their carvings proclaiming words which he could not understand. He had questions but no answers' came to him then. He was caught up in being patient with his feet. Just right. Just left. The correct steps at the correct speeds.
He knew that he was going higher and that it might as a consequence become more difficult. He did not want to slip and fall into the thorns. Who knew what poisons they might be tipped with.
He found himself being more silent. He did not want anyone to hear him, to see him. He was not sure anyone was about, but he was sure he wanted to remain unseen.
A wall suggested people. He moved up away from it, away from the path marked by it. He thought he saw a child hiding by a small waterfall, fearful of him. He was fearful of the noises she might make and studiously ignored her existence. Maybe she never moved. He did not see her again.
The tree was different in many ways. First of all, it had survived where most trees would not have been able to take the wind. Thus it was twisted and gnarled, distinguished by an age beyond any reasonable accounting of human years. It also was made of two tree-trunks, with space between them, but with the upper branches intertwined.
He first paid attention to the left trunk the left part, for it was bent into a seat, a throne. He sat on it and in doing so realized that it was the right-handed of the pair. For there was another, a few feet away, standing with no room for thrones. When he rose to continue beyond and upward, he saw that they were one, split apart by lightning ages ago, repaired by time and growing in seeming independence. Their scarred sides faced each other, concavity reminding anyone of the h,ollow missing substance which had once joined them. Now that substance was air. Now it was whatever stepped between them. He stepped through that opening to go up to where nothing could grow.
Everything was brought there, alive. To the top of the promontory everything that was needed was brought. He found the irrigation ditches hidden behind the rows of stately pinetrees, with water rushes horizontally growing
along the side of the slope, bringing the necessary life to the green that otherwise could not 6e sustained. He walked along their built-up walls since they made convenient pathways, but he neither followed the waters to their source nor to their eventual downward destination. Higher were the various rocks. All of them were from elsewhere, downhill, downstream from across the world, for all he knew. None were born on this hill--wrong color, texture, and density. They were all brought up to this place, the fictitious, unnatural place, near the sky. Then they were placed, in commemoration, in fulfillment, in hope or wish, together into a broad rectangular area, piled up to make an architecture of no building, but of human energy and consciousness in gesture.
"More powerful when we are gone."
Charged by absence, brought to life by the abandonment of the byproduct's usefulness of construction. Perhaps, therefore, it should be called mystical or, certainly, nonpragmatic. He did not see anyone bring these stones to the sky. But that was not his business.
Following the sharp-edged ridge, he went from stone to stone. He remembered the syllables which they broadcast, saying them aloud as he passed their massiveness, keeping them to his right as he went up and to his right, later, when he descended. He could not recall when he had learned the words. He could not say what they meant. Even though the sounds left his lips, no one, even if there had been someone present, could have heard them. The wind cut up from the south, struck the ridge with such a force that it was a surprise that not only the sounds were swept away ... thrown far to the north to land on barren eroded edges of savage rivers.
He was glad for the prayer rocks, and their monumental walls. The wind could not throw him through these. But in those spaces--great gaps of blue on one side and the clouds coming up from the other--he had to lean carefully toward the abyss on the left, allowing the wind to keep him from falling--to save him instead of destroying him.
Everyone had left. But they were still there. In the sides of rocks, of boulders, were chiselled holes, square, triangular, and vaguely round ones. Some were sealed with mud. others were open to show the "objects" put within them-bits of paper, forked sticks wrapped in colorful yarn, phallic stones stained with unknown fluids, and dust and dust and dust and dust, which had been clay images, now all disintegrated by dryness and heat, moisture and cold.
But the wind blowing forever did not disturb any of this.
They were ruined chortens, with openings in their sides, like windows, like doors.
He stared into the darkness of some of the rockpiles. Deep within he saw the shapes of images. The wind whipped the corners of the stones but made no appreciable noise. In fact, whatever sounds it gave drowned out all others, so it seemed absolutely quiet. He almost felt that the silence was ringing. The top edge of the world with this wind was ringing.
It cut past his mind and all remained soundless. And in that great wordless, syllableless place, the images focused, row after row of them. He observed quietly, trying to understand their presence. One after another they were meditating Buddhas, hands in laps--right hand, palm up, upon left hand, palm up. All of them made of clay. And in the darkness, which became brighter with the deepening of the quiet, he recognized that all were unbaked clay, open to destruction by moisture or wind. Realizing this, still with eyes open wide, he saw behind them others--half-formed, halfdestroyed, .because of such conditions or impact. Behind them, also, half-recognizable, were Buddhas going back and back into the darkness. But it was even obvious in this limited duration of his sight that many of them were gone--returned to clay, returned to mud from which their Buddhahood had arisen. But it was not sad at all. For someone came with these images
and new ones appeared in the comparative present, clearer than the old. New ones kept appearing, for the old ones--Buddhas or not-had a time-limit, and once dissolved by wind or moisture, were gone. Forever.
He looked and saw that the fresher images were, like the older ones, pressed from a single mold. They were rougher at the edges. They were bent slightly, cracked a bit, but all were identical, row after row.
Out of this contemplation he was suddenly driven. The silence-making wind brought clouds and needle-sharp drops, driven as if to go through his body. He fell back from the opening and threw up his hands to protect his eyes, his vision. But the blast was short-lived and it soon was only wind, although the clouds came up from the south, rising from the gravel-strewn riverbed and the hammered silver bracelet of a river, moving away to become the consuming river of the fog-shrouded gorge. Now the wind drove the tattered fabric of the clouds over the ancient holy ridge, somersaulting them into wisps of dishevelled dancers' long tresses. These doubled back on themselves over the stones, attempting a dream of an event, and vanished, dissolving as had the Buddhas.
It did not matter to him where they went. As long as the stiletto drops of rain did not fall. He could not have imagined himself so vulnerable to raindrops. He looked about, perhaps it was the height, the altitude of the land, the altitude of the rocks. On either side, he saw for great distances. To the north was the increasingly-barren landscape which
managed to hide the river with sharp twists and an intersecting mass of sandstone. There was some green directly below, plunging down beneath his feet, but he could see no signs of people. There were animals but it was even too high to make them out clearly. Wilk donkeys? Cattle? He could not be sure. To the west immediately rose the mass of rock which put his ridge down for insignificance. One mountain rose behind the other, cracking aside forests to barren slopes of rock and ripping open the clouds to reveal the heights of solid show and, above that, solid white, emptying the sky of blue and implying a universe of snow overhead. The east was easier to gaze upon, if you could turn your back to the western whiteness.
High peaks indeed, sharp and geologically growing, sending down hidden and unhidden streams to create green foothills descending haphazardly into ancient glacial rubble, but bringing water in the midst of all those round rocks and patches of forest, patches of flat land, green with life. His ridge slanted in that direction with probable footpaths arising in those green places and lifting to where he stood. But he had not come that easy way, he did not know of it, so whatever existed there, past remnants or present proof, was outside of his experience. He thought that perhaps it was meant to be that way, and if possible, if it was meant to be, he would return in that easier direction, if he did not fall over one of the edges of the world which had hemmed him in so closely.
The edges were close. He had to remind himself.
"There is less land here than you think. There is less world--less to stand on and less to support you than it would appear."
At every step, he said, "Watch yourself, every step!"
Thoughts could interfere with balance. He gave no mind to the four directions and their scenes of distance and changing light. At least he did not when he walked, not when he was moving. Everything had to be devoted to his feet, his foundation. It was not that the path was that narrow. It was the wind. It seemed to want to push him off. Off the path would be off into space, to the north. He pressed back, but not with trust for if the wind suddenly gave, he would tumble. He would tumble and tumble to the south, probably past the pine trees which could not hold him, and over the edge, to the south. So it was for him, to walk--step by step (now) past the stone-piles painted white, painted the color of coagulating blood, walking towards the huge block of the temple, towards the top.
The temple was a red rectangular mass with two trees on the protected side, the northern side. They were small; one embellished with bundles of small bits of paper and the other with unripe, green and firm apricots. Further up, on the other side, were four walls, collapsing for as little reason as the rectangular mass had for remaining standing. Again further up was a giant tree which was hardly moving with the intensity of the wind. It was obvious that the wind was still there, for white flags fluttered from flagpoles scattered amongst the rocks even beyond the tree, beyond the ruined walls.
He picked some of the green apricots and tucked them into the folds of his clothing. Then, pressing himself against the wind, he made his way around the blood-colored temple and moved towards the great tree. It drew him silently as if he were metal and it were a huge magnet. As he approached, the tree seemed to grow larger, blotting out the view of the snow-covered mountains. The strength of the wind paled in comparison to the increasingly strong pull of the force, emanating from the tree. His steps stumbled into a run and soon he was plunging towards the tree. Before he could crash into its broad surface, the trunk yielded, cracking open like a huge doorway. He fell into the dark opening before him, tumbling to a standstill on the soft ground within. As he stood up, the opening brought its sides together, right and left, snapping closed.
He was in complete darkness when he heard, "HA! HA! Hahahah!"
It reverberated around in the huge chamber.
"H-Ha! H-Ha! -a-a-a! HAH! HAH! Aha-aha-aha-ah...
And he smelled the smell of death all about him.
Stumbling about in the stillness, with his arms outstretched, he was amazed at the size of the interior of the tree. He could not find the outer walls. He moved slowly, fearful that he might find a pit to fall within, a pit which might descend to the bottom of the mountain.
"Watch your step," he said aloud, and then laughed at himself, thinking of the darkness within which he could see nothing.
"Aha-aha-aha-ah..." came his own echo.
After two hundred and fifteen steps to his right in the darkness, his fingertips contacted a solid surface. It was stone and it was smooth. He reached up and he reached to the right and left. It continued beyond his immediate reach. He followed it to a corner, and then another and then another. It was a huge cube. He came back to his starting point. In the darkness, he leaped upwards against the side of the object. He caught its top edge. Straining with both hands, he pulled himself up from the soft ground and swung his feet onto the upper surface. It was ridged with tiny steps, upon which he balanced himself, reaching in the blackness.
"I think," he thought, "I know what this is..."
And with that, he stumbled and fell against the hemisphere above the tiny steps.
"A chorten!" he said.
"ten-ten-ten" said the chamber.
"What is it doing," he said,
He stood embracing the curved surface in the darkness,
smiling to himself.
"be-be-be!" came the room's voice.
And he stepped sideways, around and around it.
"I know what I'll find," he thought. And just as his fingers touched the edge of the window, he said aloud, "I know...
"No-no-no! " screamed the room. he started, but was interrupted by the shaking of the air, the reverberations from the huge invisible tree about him, shaking everything.
"I-I-II I-I-I!" it screamed.
He felt bits of wood falling about him in the darkness, like a rain of heavy sawdust.
"No-no-no!" it screamed. The rain was heavier, striking with weight now.
"Gotta move!" he thought, and wiggled into the windowopening, immediately falling into the space within. He lande on his feet in the darkness with a slight jolt. But that wa mild compared to the shaking and bombardment on the outsid of the dark chorten.
"No-no-no!" the bludgeoning screamed.
But soon it became quiet. Then it became still. The silence enclosed his world. He sat down in the darkness an folded his legs. He rested his hands upon his knees, inde fingers touching thumbs, on the right hand and on the lef hand. He stared into the darkness and waited.
Father and mother.
Heaven and earth.
Sky over swamp.
Mountain over mountain
Thunder over mountain.
Father grew old.
Mother grew old.
Thunder grew old.
But the tree did not grow old. It grew stronger. Night did not end.
He ate the golden apricots. The darkness began to lighten. "AUM MANI PADME HUM," he said, sending the syllables to his body, to his speech, to his mind.
Outside he could hear the tree shaking. He could hear it crying. "I! I! I!' All the while he chanted. "AUM MANI PADME HUM." It was growing lighter. Around him he could see Buddhas on all sides. They first existed on the walls as paintings. Then as the light changed, they intensified and moved into the small chamber. They sat, suspended in space between here and there. When this first happened, he was startled, and then they suddenly were back on the walls as paintings. But again, as he sat, they came out into space. "Come out," he thought, "and play." He smiled.
The tree was furiously crying.
"NO! NO! NO!"
"I know," he thought. "You are unhappy, but...
The walls were iridescent, glowing. The Buddhas shimmered and shook in the air. He began to perspire.
"Heat!" he thought.
The chorten was getting hotter, the walls were blazing with light, radiating light out of their hidden molecules.
"Heat," he thought, maintaining his position, looking forward, unmoving.
"I! I! " the tree cried.
"The tree is burning," he said, and the roots are burning..."
In the enveloping colors, oranges and yellows, he could no longer see the Buddhas.
Chamba closed his eyes. Perspiration poured down his face.
"I will not burn," he thought.
"AUM MANI PADME HUM."
"EYE! I!' the tree screamed.
When he opened his two eyes, the chorten was gone.
The tree was gone.
The blood-colored gompa no longer existed. The immediate ridge was empty of everything except the apricottrees. Farther down were the walls of prayer rocks, poles of prayer flags.
All about him was scorched ground but no ash remnants of tree or chorten. The wind blew quietly past him. The high white mountains ignored him. He got up and started to walk down the hill.
"Drelhu!" Chamba called.
"Geshe-la! " he tried.
He looked about, puzzled.
The house was gone.
The village was gone.
And the gompa was in an unbelievable state of ruin. The roof was down with only a few walls still standing. He made his way to a break in the wall. Stepping through, he could feel the rubble beneath his feet shrug, yielding and bouncing back slightly. The smell of burnt wood rose from the ruined timbers beneath him.
"But it's old," he thought. "This happened a long time ago! Where are..."
Looking up, he saw a room hanging from an opposite wall, as if in mid-air. A staircase was attached to it, but it did not reach to the ground. He studied this architectural remnant curiously.
"What is that room?"
He began to consider how he could reach it when there was a shudder beneath his feet.
CRACK! CRACK! CRACK-CAR-RACK!
It was giving way! He was falling!
Timbers and mortar, rocks and rubble, fell three stories into a deep cellar cavity. Tons of materials twisted and crashed down, tumbling over each other in a jumble of crashing impact.
He started to go with them all, but did not go far. For suddenly he was flying up out of the whirlpool of cascading material substance.
He flew up to the suspended staircase and opened the door of the mysterious room.
"Darkness and death," he smelled them both. He could see nothing except violet squiggling worms of light which was all that remained of the sunshine outside. Even these were impermanent and became green, yellow-green, and shorter all the while.
"Darkness and death."
"Who's there?" he exclaimed, arms outstretched in the darkness. Perspiration formed on his forehead. outside, he could hear an animal howling. "Dusty," he said. "It is so dusty!" "I must see," said Dorje Chamba.
Then he saw dimly, Dharma Dorje sitting cross-legged on a platform--a seat of teaching--in meditation position.
To the side, a bit lower, was Drelhu, facing the lama in the same position.
They both were extremely still. Chamba could hear his own breathing but not theirs. They were not breathing!
"They are dead!" he said.
"AHA AHAH!" he exhaled.
"It really is true," Chamba said softly, squinting in the darkness, scratching his ear.
"They are covered with. dust!" he muttered, staring in the gloom.
"I must see better," he mumbled. "See better!"
And golden lights began to flicker before him. figures began to be clearer.