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BS: (Another Classic Gem) In Search of Shangri-La

katlaughing 08 May 01 - 12:06 PM
MMario 08 May 01 - 12:29 PM
Matt_R 08 May 01 - 07:13 PM
Caitrin 09 May 01 - 11:01 AM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 09 May 01 - 11:10 AM
katlaughing 09 May 01 - 11:16 AM
SINSULL 09 May 01 - 11:30 AM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 09 May 01 - 11:33 AM
GUEST,grannyjan 09 May 01 - 11:37 AM
Naemanson 09 May 01 - 11:46 AM
MMario 09 May 01 - 12:05 PM
Matt_R 09 May 01 - 12:18 PM
katlaughing 09 May 01 - 12:24 PM
SINSULL 09 May 01 - 12:24 PM
Lonesome EJ 09 May 01 - 12:49 PM
Peter T. 09 May 01 - 09:36 PM
katlaughing 09 May 01 - 10:02 PM
CarolC 09 May 01 - 10:47 PM
Peter T. 09 May 01 - 10:57 PM
katlaughing 09 May 01 - 11:07 PM
MMario 10 May 01 - 08:51 AM
SINSULL 10 May 01 - 08:59 AM
catspaw49 10 May 01 - 09:41 AM
GUEST,Caitrin @ Home 10 May 01 - 10:48 PM
JenEllen 11 May 01 - 12:57 AM
Peter T. 11 May 01 - 09:43 AM
Matt_R 11 May 01 - 10:02 AM
katlaughing 11 May 01 - 12:22 PM
Naemanson 11 May 01 - 01:18 PM
mousethief 11 May 01 - 01:44 PM
Lonesome EJ 11 May 01 - 02:34 PM
JenEllen 11 May 01 - 04:26 PM
Lonesome EJ 11 May 01 - 05:23 PM
CarolC 11 May 01 - 11:20 PM
katlaughing 11 May 01 - 11:53 PM
JenEllen 12 May 01 - 02:13 AM
CarolC 12 May 01 - 05:28 AM
Peter T. 12 May 01 - 09:42 AM
Lonesome EJ 12 May 01 - 02:49 PM
GUEST,Caitrin 12 May 01 - 05:35 PM
JenEllen 13 May 01 - 03:44 AM
Peter T. 13 May 01 - 12:27 PM
JenEllen 14 May 01 - 06:39 PM
Peter T. 14 May 01 - 06:53 PM
JenEllen 15 May 01 - 02:31 AM
Matt_R 15 May 01 - 08:40 AM
Peter T. 15 May 01 - 09:48 AM
Lonesome EJ 15 May 01 - 01:21 PM
Peter T. 15 May 01 - 01:55 PM
Lonesome EJ 15 May 01 - 10:17 PM

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Subject: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: katlaughing
Date: 08 May 01 - 12:06 PM

If the horse took one step forward, she knew she would plunge to her death down the steep, never-ending ravine. Cold wind swept across the barren mountainside, finding its way under her hat, coat, and scarf. Holding back on the reins, she slowly slipped off the pony and turned to look back.

Ringing round her in a stark kalaidascope of blinding white light was the Himilaya. She squinted her eyes and focussed right behind her. "Respected Holy One, Gungzin Dharmalazu, *maintenant se que? En haut et terminé ou revenir?." Fortunately the Benevolent One understood her mangled French because she wasn't getting anywhere with web-based Tibetan translation.

*what the heck do we do now?*

Tears from the wind and frustration stung her eyes. Her entire life, all Dearly Beloved Rypinski had ever wanted was to see Shangri-La. Despite her growing up in Brooklyn, she'd been raised by flower-children parents and, instead of rebelling, she'd gone beyond the hype and drugs of their culture, to a real study and embracing of Eastern spirituality. Now, here she was, tantalisingly close, with a respected Holy Man to guide her and a huge landslide made passage impossible. What was she to do?

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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: MMario
Date: 08 May 01 - 12:29 PM

Justified Homicide Burke - ("Johnny" to his friends) looked up at the magnificent mountain peaks in front of him. This trip to the Himalayan range as an archeological geologist was accomplishing more then just adding massive quantities of credit to his accounts. Besides the fact that he truly expected to uncover previously unknown data regarding various legends, there owould also be the oppurtunity to meet and learn from mystics in the region. He knew it was backlash against his parents no nonsense methods of child rearing that made him yearn for enlightenment, but yearning still continued.

So as he had hiked through forests ancient as the hills, enfolding sunny spots of greenery; past the incense like scent of the blossemoing trees, and the many local gardens with the sinous rills of irrigation ditches running through them he had looked forward to the river. Though he had gone thorugh and past many walls and towers - and hiked the twice five miles of fertile ground that comprised the floodplain, finally he gazed on the waters of the river he was certain; cetain was the Alph, the sacred river of legend, the river he believed would lead him to the source of many another legend; and perhaps even peace for his own mind.

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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Matt_R
Date: 08 May 01 - 07:13 PM

And this night, among many, the yetis were restless.

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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Caitrin
Date: 09 May 01 - 11:01 AM

"She's going to die if we don't do something!" Mara said desperately.
"You know the rules, Mara." her father, the high priest, replied. "We do not interfere."
"But we have to!" Mara cried. "She'll die!" The girl was on the verge of tears. "She's been searching forever. She wouldn't betray us. Please, Father." Mara didn't know why this young woman's quest meant so much to her; it was enough for her to simply know that it did, and to do what she could to help.

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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 09 May 01 - 11:10 AM

What is that sound on the wind? Seems like someone chanting "walking in the sand".
RtS (oh, you mean the other Shangri la!)

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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: katlaughing
Date: 09 May 01 - 11:16 AM

(Down Rogerzorba, down, man, I say!**BG**)

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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
Date: 09 May 01 - 11:30 AM

HMMMM She mused juggling travel brochures and maps while the tour guide frantically tried to shepherd her troops into a manageable flock. "Do I join the group going to the Tantric Temple in Shigatse? Or go back to Lhasa for a day of shopping and bartering? Of course, there is always the yakskin boat ride but that is SO touristy and the humidity will wilt my hair."

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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 09 May 01 - 11:33 AM

OK, kat, I won't mention the yak who was the leader of the pack then, I'll leave the real creative geniuses (genii?) to get on with the story!

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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: GUEST,grannyjan
Date: 09 May 01 - 11:37 AM

As she lsot control of the maps, they became clear, white pieces of silk.

She did not know what to do with them, until a passing, hunched old woman said:

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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Naemanson
Date: 09 May 01 - 11:46 AM

Ezra Coffin sat heavily in his kitchen chair and stared, aghast, at his daughter. "TIBET?" he roared. "You want to find yawself in Tibet?"

It had been a long day. He typically rose early to catch the tide. He ran three strings of lobster traps in the Gulf Of Maine and that meant he had his work cut out for him. That day he had engine trouble, some tourists propellor had cut three buoys loose, and a significant number of his traps had been empty. That meant someone was stealing from the traps.

And now this!

Liza Coffin was, he thought, a typical teenager. She was lazy and self centered. He got no real work out of her and no respect either. And now this, this, trip to Tibet of all places to "find herself". He suspected she didn't even know where Tibet was.

He sighed as he listened to her. He really loved his daughter and respected her for the young woman she was becoming but this was too much. Yet, as he listened he had to admit she had thought out the trip carefully. At least there wasn't a boyfriend involved.

Later that evening he sat in the kitchen, coffee mug on the table while he softly played the fiddle his grandfather had built from old ship timbers taken from the bay. Outside the summer breezes sighed around the corner of the house. The moon shone its diamonds on the bay and the lights twinkled on the mainland.

How long, he mused, had it been since he had left the island for pleasure? He couldn't remember but it had been long before Marthat died. He regretted not taking her on more vacation trips. Life was hard on the island but it was also good. Liza couldn't see that. She only compared it to life as it was lived on TV and with that comparison it came up short.

What to do...?

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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: MMario
Date: 09 May 01 - 12:05 PM

J.H. retraced his steps along yet another tributary of the river. Once again the waters had led to nothing more then an obscure beginning in a trickle of springwater. He was certain that one of the many streamlets would lead him to the source of legend, but which one? The grant the company was working under wouldn't last forever - and if he produced no results they would probably try to replace him anyway. Still - in his honest opinon, there was no one better then he at reading geological clues to archeological discoveries.

Of course, if he did get canned, he could spend some time trying to track down another branch of the family from which his parents had so thoroughly disconnected themselves. The Coffins of Notquiteright Island, Maine were among the addresses listed in his mothers old diary as among those cousins who had refused wedding invitations.

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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Matt_R
Date: 09 May 01 - 12:18 PM

Clouds roll by and hide the sun
Raindrops fall on everyone
So sad...
I'm getting out of love

My Shangri-La has gone away
Faded like The Beatles on "Hey Jude"
She seemed to drift out on the rain
That came in somewhere softly from the blue

And I will repair to Shangri-La...

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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: katlaughing
Date: 09 May 01 - 12:24 PM

(No, no, no, Rogerzorba! Play on, I say! Everyone welcome!!**BG**)

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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
Date: 09 May 01 - 12:24 PM

The old woman said "Find the Holy Man. Give the first scarf to him who finds those who are lost, the second to the one who is lost and must find herself, and the third to the man who finds lost things but is in fact lost himself."

With a baffled look and a grab at the brochures which were still brochures she sputtered "BUT I'M HERE ON VACATION!"

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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 09 May 01 - 12:49 PM

Tirseng found a small recess in the face of the cliff and collapsed into it. The wind howled across the opening, full of angry demons. Snow had partly drifted across the opening, and this was good, but Tirseng felt the warm inclination to sleep rise into his body and that was bad. If he nodded off, he could be entombed in a matter of an hour. He pulled off his goggles and gloves and rubbed his eyes. This was the danger of Pengandu Pass : Sudden storms that brought blinding snow and wind, and the rush of the avalanche.

From below, all had seemed peaceful "upstairs". He had paused at the Penaghay Monastery to sip tea from his flask, and the sun had forced him to remove his hat and coat. When he had spun the great prayer wheel there, the banners of red and yellow had spun a bright orange circle against the blue sky, and he had prayed for safe passage. But as he climbed the high trail, the white clouds had bloomed on the flank of Kanchenchunga and come slowly down to engulf him.

He sat in the cave and considered what to do. It was three hours until dark, but he could make it down into the valley where his village lay in less than two, if he could hold the path. It was then he heard the Kanchengalta, the Roar of the Mountain, and a wall of snow slid across the entrance to his cave, shutting him in complete darkness. When the rumble stopped,he took his ice ax and began to dig at the snow, chanting om manne padme um to calm his spirit.

In an hour, Tirseng had made a hole large enough to crawl through, and he passed out into the storm. The avalanche had obliterated the trail, but he prayed for the Buddha's hand to lead him, and started plunging forward waste deep in the fresh snow. He had traveled almost two hours in this manner, but had yet to pass the Leopard Rock which signalled the end of the pass. He felt that the path was entirely too steep in it's descent, and that he must have lost the trail above him, so he began to climb. It was very steep, and he began to use his ax. With his right hand grasping for a hold, the ax broke loose in some rotten ice, and Tirseng felt himself sliding at high speed into the ravine below. He fought to use the ax blade to break his fall, but the snow was crusty and fragile as he plunged through it. At last, he felt nothing solid below him, and knew that he was falling, the flake of snow seemed suspended although the wind howled in his ears.

When he struck, he found that Buddha had pitied him, and allowed him to fall upon the soft run-out of the avalanche. He struggled out of the snow, wincing with pain. He had lost both gloves, and he felt his right leg was certainly broken. He staggered vaguely in the direction of his valley, but found the way blocked by a huge fall of boulders. He went in the opposite direction, and he saw through the blizzard a dark shape, and he made for the shape. He fell at the foot of the object, and looked up to see that it was a statue of the Buddha, carved in dark stone, with an inscription in a language he could not read. He touched the statue, and moved past it into a narrow passage way in the cliff. It was like a long tunnel, roofed with stone, but dry and, somehow, warm.

Tirseng found that the rock floor was smooth, and he lay down upon it, and slept.

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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Peter T.
Date: 09 May 01 - 09:36 PM

"Tirseng, wake up," he said, and shook him. Tirseng was deep in sleep, but he knew that he was deep in sleep, and so he willed himself awake. If only enlightenment were that easy. He sat up and saw a face he had not seen in many a year. "Curioso!!"
"Hello, Tirseng, how is the path? Bad thing we happened along, or you might be in a newer and better incarnation. And before you answer that, come over to the fire and meet my comrade."
And there was a fire blazing. And, half encircled in fur, a formidable woman , stirring some yak butter into a canister.
Tirseng who was shy, like all mountain people, came forward slowly. Curioso said: "Annette, this is Tirseng. An old friend from mountaineering days with Mallory."
"No longer, Curioso, I gave it up."
"This may explain why the next 7 attempts failed. Anyway, sit and eat. You will be amazed at what she can do with simple ingredients. Lord Buddha only knows what she can do with yak butter."
After an hour or two of talking and eating an extraordinary stew that materialized magically out of the canister, Tirseng politely burped, and Curioso said, "I know, why are we here? It is a convoluted story, involving a failed submarine rendezvous, a battle royal through the Topkapi Palace, the turning of the Turkish government against the British government, the kidnapping of the lady here on behalf of the Japanese government that landed her in Persia where I tracked her down, followed by a secret long distance plane ride that was to end in Manchuria, except that I happened to be on the plane; and apart from 3 dead airmen, one airplane that ran out of petrol, and a long hike to these parts crowded with incident, not much happened worth dwelling upon."
"Ah," said Tirseng.
"How is the High Lama?"
"Beset, Curioso, beset. There are Germans and Russians everywhere seeking something."
"Enlightenment perhaps?"
"I think not. They speak much of something called uranium."
"Ah," said Curioso. "And what do they say?"
"They speak of the sacred White Mountain, the place where their machines speak of what they call radiosomething."
"What is the White Mountain?" Annette asked.
"It is the mountain of Shangri-La." replied Curioso.
Tirseng touched him on the hand: "You must come, the High Lama will wish to see you again."
"I don't think so, Tirseng. We need to escape to India, and fast. The war is coming, coming fast. We have wasted much time already."
"Hmm," replied Tirseng after a few moments. "There is no choice. You must come to the Monastery. Where I came from is impassible. Robert Conway was lost there last month, forever."
Curioso looked at the fire, and then at Annette. Then he smiled. "Well, His Holiness has never seen anything like her. It might be amusing. But we can only stay briefly."
"Of course," said Tirseng, "that is understood." He yawned again. Outside the wind howled. It was warm in the cave. They bedded down, close to the fire. Tirseng was amused to see his old friend and his new friend lying together, like furry spoons. He fell asleep.
And then after awhile he had a dream, or what appeared to be a dream, in which Curioso got up stealthily from where he lay, kissed the sleeping head of his lady, wrapped himself in a big fur, picked up a rifle, and went to the entrance to the cave. There he sat down in the way of the icy wind, in lotus position, but with the gun ready on his lap, looking, looking, at the way they had come up the frightening mountain path.

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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: katlaughing
Date: 09 May 01 - 10:02 PM

(Bravo!! Great additions, all!! Keep going, this is wonderful. I will try to add more of Dearly Beloved and her plight, tomorrow.)

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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: CarolC
Date: 09 May 01 - 10:47 PM

(*dimension shift alert*)

[We've got two different time frames going here. Which one are we going to follow?]

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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Peter T.
Date: 09 May 01 - 10:57 PM

I could say that we are in Tibet so who cares, but so far it could easily be in January 1939, except that the tourist brochures are a little too jazzy....yours, Peter T.

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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: katlaughing
Date: 09 May 01 - 11:07 PM

(Sounds good to me, yak butter tea, anyone?

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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: MMario
Date: 10 May 01 - 08:51 AM

it's Tibet - land of Mystics - hey - maybe we DO have two time frames going, and maybe they will collide - who knows?

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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
Date: 10 May 01 - 08:59 AM

Meantime, care for a little tsampa?

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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: catspaw49
Date: 10 May 01 - 09:41 AM

The fair haired young man looked upon the people sleeping in the cave, but he did not disturb them. A quick glance at their belongings told him it was 1939. "Simply amazing," he thought. He was now 37 but looked only 22. On another of his hikes he had encountered seekers from the year 2001 and although in their time he was 98, even then he looked but 22.

He knew what they were seeking and occasionally he had seen others before them, like the ones from 2001. For many years his hikes had been in partnership with his friend. Sadly though, and for reasons he didn't understand, his friend was now gone. They had been hiking together at the base of the Rongbuk Glacier, a favorite spot, and had stopped to rest when they encountered a small group of men in tents. This was not unusual as many came here. They didn't disturb these souls either as they rarely did more than see what time they were from and take a picture. A few days later, his friend disappeared and had not been seen since. The young man wondered if the '99 group had stolen him away.

Looking back at the sleeping ones in the cave, he felt no threat. He removed a small Kodak Model B from his pocket, snapped it open, unfolded the bellows, and snapped a picture. The camera had belonged to his friend, but he always carried it as he was far more technically able.......a born tinkerer. He'd develop the film back at Shangri-La. Sometimes the people he encountered would come there, most did not. There was a secret to getting there and he knew it, but the handsome young man did not know the secret of why his friend and some others had left.

He would find the Holy Man and then perhaps..........


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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: GUEST,Caitrin @ Home
Date: 10 May 01 - 10:48 PM

Mara went running from the temple, down the stairs to her room. She sat in lotus on the floor, focusing on the avalance blocking Dearly Beloved's way. Mara knew somehow that DB had to get to Shangri-la. It was necessary. Mara had a gift for helping the necessary happen, so she put this gift to use.
Slowly, as Mara closed her eyes and concentrated, a path began to melt through the snow.

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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: JenEllen
Date: 11 May 01 - 12:57 AM

Annette fought sleep for as long as possible- but the combines forces of stillness, warmth, and food finally defeated her. Her last conscious thoughts were of the three around the fire, Tirseng watching her with continual amusement, and Curioso's solid form burrowing in beside her- the rhythmic rise and fall of his breathing hypnotizing her into slumber.
She must have felt the cold rush of air as he left with the rifle- for she gasped slightly and pulled the fur in tight- but she slept on until warm breath entered her ear carrying the words, "Chere, rise and shine.." She grudgingly woke, and Curioso gently smiled at her, but his face still held the haggard shadow of the trip behind them.
Tirseng sat by the fire, and as she moved closer to warm herself, he gave her and enormous gap-toothed grin. When he offered her a cup of tea, she thankfully drank the brew, and the proceeded to squat down between the men to plan their trip to sanctuary. Both Yamada and the Black one had been spurned too many times, nothing would be spared now in the effort to destroy these two. They would have to be very careful.

Tirseng's patience with the tired flatlanders was as endless as the sky. Still favoring his leg somewhat, he made no complaints about the more and more frequent stops the pair requested on their way to the top of the world. Tirseng led them, a small brown dot in the distance, followed by Annette- looking in her bundled furs like a hybrid yak/gazelle. Curioso, was close in behind her, throwing the rifle over one shoulder and his glances over the other. There had been no evidence of Yamada's pursuit of the pair for many days now, but this did little to calm them.
Late that afternoon, the trio found themselves in a small clearing. When Tirseng told them that this was where they would be spending the night, the pair breathed a sigh of relief and crumbled to the ground. Tirseng started a small fire, while Annette prepared the small canister of tea. Tirseng watched with concern as Annette went to Curioso, took the rifle from him and muttered, "J'observerai. Vous, dormez." her voice sounded like the wind through chimes, and whatever she had said, it had caused his friend to curl up with his pack under his head, and close his eyes. Tirseng marveled at the fur covered Green Tara, as tired as she was herself, sitting with her leg extended, ready to rise should her services be necessary. Tirseng motioned to her that the tea was ready, and the two crouched near the fire to talk.
"We should reach the monastary tomorrow," Tirseng told her, "You will be safe there, safe to rest and meditate on your path."
"Mer..ahhh...thank you." she replied, "Curioso has told me of the beauty of the gompa, and I would be grateful to see it for myself, although I wish the circumstances were different, non?"
Tirseng smiled at the woman, noticing her eyes were the color of the mid-day sky, the lama would no doubt be delighted to see a creature such as this. His gaze then drifted to the sleeping Curioso, "Circumstances, yes, Nyingma...I have a feeling all will be discovered at the time when you can best understand it.." With this, Annette reached over and squeezed his hand in thanks, took her tea, and began her watch of the path behind.

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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Peter T.
Date: 11 May 01 - 09:43 AM

It was cold in Curioso's dream. They were struggling through the whiteness, and every hour or so, the swirl would clear briefly and they would stop and breathe. In those few brief seconds of openness he would see -- or think he would see -- a slight movement of white against the white, at the edge of vision. It would almost certainly be Yamada, who was less surefooted than his Master, who was the master of whiteness, when he chose. And then the swirl would descend again, and they would struggle on.

"Homage to Vajradhara
Holder of the adamantine sceptre
Homage to the Spiritual Master
Holder of the lineage."

And he was young again, and beside him sat his brother, Dominic, and they were in the swirl of snow except it was now incense, and before them was the walnut wrinkled and coloured face of the beloved Geshe. And they were seeding Vajrusattvas throughout the universe, and bodhisattvas in the ten directions bowed towards them. But when they came in the mantra, the highest mantra, to the seed syllable PAMH, Dominic's mouth bled, and the white petalled lotus with the yellow corolla descended into dust.

And then it was after the betrayal, and he knocks on the grim door in Kathmandu, and there Dominic sits, as he has sat for the last year since Curioso brought him down catatonic from the mountain cave, and Curioso spoons soup into his mouth. And the whiteness is everywhere.

Curioso wakes, or thinks he wakes, sees Annette on guard, and then in his dream he sits up in terror, frozen. Beside her, his hair tied up in a three-tier hair knot, and wearing the 8 precious ornaments, emanating darkness, now hovers the White God Vajrasattva with Dominic's face; and the emanation reaches out over her, and she becomes a version of Dorje Nyemma, holding in her right hand the curved blade and in her left a blackened skull filled with blood.

And Curioso invokes Amoghasiddhi to his aid, but even the Conqueror Buddha is of no avail to one who is so lost, so powerful in darkness. He calls out for the compassionate traces of his Beloved Teacher, the Murdered Geshe, the Stain that can never be eradicated, but there is nothing. There is not even emptiness. He knows that the universe flees from a being who has committed mtsamsmdelas, the unbounded actions. In desperation, he picks up his rifle, and shoots the White God, and the God breaks up into fragments, and then into ice, and then into squalling snow, and then it is just the two of them again, struggling inthe storm up the creviced path, and then they find Tirseng.

And then Curioso wakes up for real. He almost screams in relief, but only shakes himself. He comes over to where Annette is on guard, and quietly sits beside her, on the edge of the morning.

"Chere?" she says.

"He is out there, close. He seems to be feeding off the primal Bon energy in this region, it is very strong. We should not have come here."

She smiled. "You forget that we had no choice. When your plane dies, it dies." And besides, we would have missed this --"

She gestured out beyond the ledge, and the storm had gone. It was a beautiful morning in all the ten directions. The sky of pure blue crystal emanated over the distant greyblue peaks and the rippled snow dunes below their feet. The air was penetrated with clear wind and high sunlight. They sat and looked at it for a few moments, the vigorous cold breeze in their faces.

"Breakfast, I think" he said. "Let me see what I can do."

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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Matt_R
Date: 11 May 01 - 10:02 AM

(electric guitar sounds)

Govinda jaya jaya
Gopala jaya jaya
Govinda jaya jaya

Govinda jaya jaya
Gopala jaya jaya
Govinda jaya jaya

Govinda ram janakhada

Govinda jaya jaya
Gopala jaya jaya
Govinda jaya jaya

Govinda jaya jaya
Gopala jaya jaya
Govinda jaya jaya

Nrsingadeva jaya nrsingadeva
Nrsingadeva jaya nrsingadeva
Nrsingadeva jaya nrsingadeva

Gaura gaura gaura hari
Gaura gaura gaura hari
Gaura gaura gaura hari

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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: katlaughing
Date: 11 May 01 - 12:22 PM

(BRAVO!! Caitrin, thanks for the great lead-in I am sorry I haven't been able to get to this. Perhaps tonight. Do what you will with Dearly Beloved et alia, please. I'll be back!)

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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Naemanson
Date: 11 May 01 - 01:18 PM

Ezra thought about Liza's plan for the next few days. Finally, he made up his mind. Liza met him at the dock as he brought in his last load of traps. Her eyes opened wide as she studied the pile of traps on the dock.

"It looks like you've left off fishin' for a while," she said. "What's going on?"

"Liza, I been working these waters since before I was your age. I ain't never took no vacation and I sorely wish I'd done so when your mother was alive." He sighed and studied the water in the bay, thinking how it matched the color of Martha's eyes. "I'm thinking of going with you to this magic land of yours."

"Dad?" She stared at him, "You're serious aren't you?

"Yup, I guess I am."

"When do we leave?" Suddenly the reality of going hit her with a feeling akin to fear.

"I guess now is as good a time as any." He smiled, "Let's get packed.

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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: mousethief
Date: 11 May 01 - 01:44 PM

Prayer flags whipped and snapped in the fresh breeze. Timyin Tim gathered his robe around him with one hand as he went along the perimeter of the monastery grounds, turning the prayer wheels with his free hand. From the temple, the sound of chanting rose and fell, carried in stoccato snatches on the inconstant wind.

Timyin stopped and looked at the flags. One of them was his. He could never remember which. The flags hung limp for a second, then leapt up again as the breeze was renewed.

Outside the walls of the monastery was the trail that some said led to Shangri-La. Timyin Tim didn't believe in Shangri-La. "Paradise -- what is this but a word for the stillness we could find within ourselves, if we only knew how to look?" the master had said.

Timyin believed everything the master said, until the master died and his family buried his body by the banks of the river. Then Timyin was cut free from his entire motherless past, floating and snapping on the breeze like the prayer flags on the monastery walls. He wandered the highlands for weeks, until his soft shoes wore through and fell off.

When he came to the monastery, he was in rags, hair long and bedraggled, dripping with rain, shivering in the wind. The Lama took him in and gave him a cell, a hot meal, a robe, and a purpose. His purpose was to weed the garden, and turn the wheels. Throughout the pale light of day he pulled weeds from the garden which fed all the monks of the Lost Way Monastery. Timyin hated pulling the weeds. He knew the monks (including himself) needed food, and if the weeds were allowed to grow unchecked, they would choke out the food crops, and the monks would go hungry. But somehow he felt the weeds had a purpose, too. If he could just figure out what it was.

And at sunrise, and sunset, and noon, and two other times in-between, he rose from the garden, and walked the perimeter of the compound, turning the prayer wheels. Some monasteries were located on a river, where the waters were harnessed to turn the prayer wheels. The Lost Way Monastery was not, but it had Timyin Tim.

The chanting had stopped some time ago; Timyin just now noticed it was missing. He turned the last wheel, as the pale night sky was turning to a deep black-blue. Some of the monks complained that Timyin turned the wheels too slowly, but he liked to feel the prayers inside against the palm of his hand. He believed that the power of the prayers might flow through to him through the sides of the wheels. The Lama did not criticize anything he did, and that was good enough for Timyin Tim.

He stood and watched a single star blink in the blackening east. It seemed to beckon him, somehow. An unease -- such as he had never known since he had come to Lost Way, suddenly leapt into his heart.

Fighting it, he yawned, stretched, and shuffled off to his cell to sleep for the night.

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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 11 May 01 - 02:34 PM

The snow was quite deep on the ridge above the Norbay Monastery, and Tirseng stood looking down at the walled complex, waiting for Curioso and Annette to catch up to him. The snow tapered off into patches as the path wound down into the valley, where it crossed a deep chasm through which the River Aleph flowed. The area on the other side of the suspension bridge was somehow lush, perhaps from the melting snows, and shone emerald as a carpet. Fields of brown broke the even green, fields where monks were already laying in the fast-growing fields of grain. Amid the tones of green and the dark brown of freshly-turned earth stood the monastery itself, shining white as the snow filed on which the three travellers now stood.

As Tirseng led them down along the path, a long, low moan of horns was heard from the monastery, and the repeated, echoing peal of gongs. A figure clad in bright yellow was seen upon the parapet that overlooked the valley from the highest part of the temple. Tirseng turned with a smile, saying "see there? It is the High Lama. We are welcomed."

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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: JenEllen
Date: 11 May 01 - 04:26 PM

Annette walked the mountain path, and heard Curioso's footsteps falling further and further behind. She did not want to look over her shoulder for fear of what she might see in his eyes. Upon awakening, his face had held such terror that she could hardly maintain her own calm. So instead, she shuffled a bit faster to reach Tirseng.
"Tirseng, mon ami, a word? What happened this morning?"
"Curioso? It is difficult to explain. He is, or was, a tulku. Both he and his brother were being prepared for leadership when his path took him from our valley." he gazed at her and raised his eyebrows, "Perhaps this was not the incarnation? Life is full of suffering, and I can see by both of your faces that your pain has not been light. But, life is also full of many wonders, a snowflake, a blade of grass, or perhaps a lightskin woman who can make yak stew..."
Annette paused a moment, and saw the smile break across Tirseng's face. The two laughed gently together, as they came over the rise.
"See..", Tirseng pointed, "see there? It is the High Lama. We are welcomed."
As Tirseng made his way into the valley, Annette waited at the top of the trail. A woman could stand here for a lifetime and still not see all the beauty contained within these mountains. It wasn't until Curioso came behind her, wrapping his arms around her shoulders and resting his chin on her head, that she realized she was holding her breath.
"It's beautiful, isn't it?" he murmured "But come, there is someone I want you to meet."

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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 11 May 01 - 05:23 PM

Patil stood smiling at the other end of the suspension bridge, and Tirseng called to him, "hello little brother!" He hurried forward, placing each foot in front of the other to keep the bridge from swaying. He caught Patil's hands in his, then gave him a bear hug. "It is good to see you Snowleopard! Why are you limping, though?"

Tirseng smiled. "I found the climbing difficult through the snow, and so I tried to fly down, and was punished for being foolhardy," he said. "I thought it was broken, but now it's better." He stood with the little monk, watching Tirseng's companions cross the bridge. "The Lama said you were bringing strangers. Are they in trouble?" Tirseng was never surprised by the Lama's seeming second-sight, but it always made him laugh. "They may be, little brother." He could see that Patil was concerned. "Don't worry," continued Tirseng, "I believe they have something to offer the Lama, just as he can give them sanctuary." Timyin approached them, calling "welcome snowleopard. I am to conduct the travelers to their lodging." Curioso and Annette stepped gingerly from the swaying suspension bridge to the solid ground."Welcome," said Timyin, but without a smile. "You will bathe, if you wish, and a supper will be prepared. After, the High Lama desires an audience with you. All three of you," he said giving Tirseng a curt nod. The five walked on through the high gates of the Norbay Temple, the Monastery of the Lost Way.

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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: CarolC
Date: 11 May 01 - 11:20 PM

Liza Coffin walked along the shoreline deep in thought. She loved this island. She knew and loved every blueberry covered hill, every sandy beach, and every rock and pebble of this place, the only home she ever knew.

Why couldn't it be enough for her? She was the wild child of the island. The shore-birds and land mammals were her friends and constant companions. The salty sea-air nourished her body and her spirit. She was happy here. This island was her whole world. But there was something missing. She didn't know what it was, but she knew it was an important something.

Her trip to New York City with Gladys was when she found out. There, in a little street vendor's booth, she saw the old man. He was tiny and wrinkled. He sat cross-legged on a cushion, wrapped in a fraying robe that was embroidered with strange symbols and designs unlike anything she had ever seen before. He was hunched over a bowl of something hot. But it was his eyes that riveted her attention to him. One eye was milky with cataracts. The other eye wandered about as if it had a mind of its own. He was difficult to look at, and she was just about to turn away from him when, in one strange and unsettling moment, the clear eye with the mind of its own fixed itself upon her, and met her gaze. She wanted to turn away, but she couldn't. Her eyes were locked in place. She couldn't even move her head to free herself from the penetrating gaze of the old man's eye.
Then, she felt the tingle in her spine. It started at the base of the spine, and gradually moved up toward the top of her head. It was a warm tingle, and somewhat pleasant, but it was also overwhelming. She was afraid she would be lost in the sensation, like she would lose her sense of herself if she allowed it to continue. But she had no choice. When it reached the top of her head, it burst out the top like water out of a fountain. She felt a rushing sensation going up her spine and out the top of her head, and as she felt this, she also felt like she was getting bigger. Like she was expanding and becoming more spacious, and she breathed more deeply, and more fully. And her senses became sharper. And she became aware that she could feel everything around her as though she were touching it, even though she was not touching anything except the ground upon which she stood. More than just touching, even. She felt the edges of herself merging with the edges of everything else.

Just when she felt she could take no more of it, that she would surely be obliterated, the old man looked away. He carried on eating from his bowl as if she wasn't even there.

Liza stood, stunned, not knowing what to do when Gladys said, "Liza! Come on. Mother's waiting."

Nothing in her world was the same after that...

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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: katlaughing
Date: 11 May 01 - 11:53 PM

Dearly Beloved could scarcely believe her eyes. There before them, the avalanche of snow and rocks and dirt began to melt away; a path was opening up. Gungzin Dharmalazu smiled in his usual enigmatic way and sent a silent mesage, "You have done well, my little Mara."

"Oh, Holy One, let us go...the Way has opened! Let's go now, before anything else happens!"

Smiling with supreme patience the Holy One took the reins of his horse and led the way. When he was just a young disciple this day had been foretold. He was in complete harmony with his surroundings and the arduous trek, for he knew what awaited him at the end...Nirvana, for his patience, his many incarnations of strife and learning. For his bringing this child of the West to the Holiest One in the fabled lands. Who knew the ways of the Buddha? That this child and the others should be the ones to bring the Outer and Inner worlds together in a Harmonic Convergence of Supreme Peace?

Inscribing the air about them with arcane symbols, intoning ancient syllabic protection, he led the way. Dearly Beloved, relief washing across her face, felt a surge of energy and warmth rush through her. She felt hope and endurance were on her side, once again, in the quest she'd been born to. Leading her horse across, she followed the bent back of the monk, carefully placing her feet where his had touched the ground, knowing the way was safe, once again.

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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: JenEllen
Date: 12 May 01 - 02:13 AM

Patil watched the woman who's walk moved her like a blade of grass in the wind. He led her to a cell in the tower, and opened the door. The stone floor was swept clean, and upon the floor rested a pitcher of steaming water and a sleeping pallet. The window was an open hole cut in the stone wall, and the scent of the growing fields drifted into the window. He smiled and motioned to her to enter the room, and as she did, he sat on the floor by the door and closed his eyes.

Annette stood in the center in the room, sizing it and it's contents, including the small human doorstop. She took a deep breath and began peeling off the layers of yak-fur, neatly folding each garment and setting it by the pallet. Each movement mindful and deliberate, she washed herself and dressed in a robe that had been set out for her. She then walked over towards Patil, waved her hand in front of his face, and getting no reaction, sat down in front of him. She studied the small man as she braided her hair into one long plait. When she tied the end with a piece of string, and sighed, Patil slowly opened his eyes.

"You are ready then?"

"I am not sure what I am ready for," she thought as Patil led her to a large open courtyard where Tirseng waited patiently. He smiled as she approached. Patil hugged his brother, then excused himself. When Tirseng motioned for her to sit on the ground, she curled her feet beneath her and sat. The sun and sounds were beginning to lull her into tranquility, but inside her, a fire raged.

"Close your eyes, lady-friend" said Tirseng, "Breathe and listen." She did as he said, and within minutes, she had the strangest sensation of light entering the top of her head, travelling down her neck, and filling her heart with white. All of it, the running, the fighting, the killing, the fear and anger, being replaced with light.

She heard Patil returning with Curioso, and opened her eyes. Tirseng was looking at her, still smiling his warm smile, as she wiped her tear-stained cheeks on her robe and stood to greet the men.

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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: CarolC
Date: 12 May 01 - 05:28 AM

In geography class, they were studying Asia. On the Wednesday after Liza got back from New York, the teacher brought to class a piece of clothing that she said was from Tibet. Since her encounter with the old man, Liza had been having a hard time concentrating on things. She felt like she was living in a haze. She managed to do her chores and get herself to and from school, but that was about all.

When the garment was passed around the class, Liza didn't notice anything interesting about it at first. Just as she was about to hand it over to the boy who sat in front of her, something on the front of it caught her attention. It was a small symbol, embroidered in metalic thread. She stared blankly at it as the realization slowly washed over her that she had seen this symbol before.

After school that afternoon, Liza neglected her chores. She spent the time making a nuisance of herself in the library instead.

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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Peter T.
Date: 12 May 01 - 09:42 AM

"Well," said Curioso, himself now washed and robed, "It is time to meet His Holiness. " He frowned, for no good reason. Behind him Tirseng, in his purplered robe, gestured them towards a large curlicued entrance door. At that instant, the door was opened from the inside by two monks, and a slow deepthroated chant could be heard far off in the recesses. Strangely enough, Curioso was more hesitant in moving forward in what was naturally his own terrain than Annette, who marched forward with no appearance of trepidation. He smiled, and followed her.
In the antechamber were vast concourses of Buddhas painted in purples and oranges and greens over the wooden walls, themselves glowing in the banks of candlelight. Wafts of incense became intermingled with the deep chanting. They came to an opening in what was increasingly growing in size above them into rafts and rafts of darkwood ceilings. Curioso touched the arm of Annette's garment and whispered: "Just do what I do. We have to do prostrations."
He flung himself down, and prostrated himself, jumped up again, and prostrated himself, and after a few seconds, she got the hang of it, and joined in. After the first 10 she thought that that was pretty good, and after 50 she thought enough, and after 100, 101, 102, 103, she was exhausted, 108. They staggered back up, and she looked at him, and whispered: "I think you are out of breath, O tulku."
"Haven't done that in a long time, I am out of shape, mountain climbing or no mountain climbing." Tirseng looked sternly at them; and properly chastened, they moved forward.
The vast audience chamber was filled with row upon row of chanting monks, purple and gold, cymbals and horns now completing the panoply of sound. Ahead a vast statue of Vairocana, the Great Wisdom Buddha, seemingly hovered above a gilded lotus, and multiple lesser statues and figures clustered about over the altar. A tall imposing figure, draped in gold tinged robes, stood awaiting them. He seemed to emanate compassion and wisdom, and gestured the two figures forward through the swelling throng. They gulped, and moved towards him. Curioso prostrated himself, followed immediately by Annette, and lay there.
"Arise," said the figure,"and let us go see His Holiness."
It was a little pokey room off to one corner of the audience chamber, and they stooped to go in. At the far end of the room sat two figures, one ancient, bespectacled and gaunt, and the other slightly younger and more solid. There was a small portrait of Chenrezig, listening to the sins of the world, hanging on the glowing brown wall, and the rest of the room was filled with stacks of manuscripts.
The newcomers bowed again, and were signalled forward. Tirseng smiled and said a few words in Tibetan.
There was a brief exchange between the two elders, and then the older who sat with power, began to speak. He had a sweet voice, wavering but full of strength. To their surprise, he spoke in English.
"So, thou hast come to visit me at last, disciple of Geshe Kyantse."
At the mention of that name, tears came unbidden into Curioso's eyes. He bowed his head as if he had been beaten with a whip.
"We speak to thee with great compassion, great sorrow, for it is an unhealed grief, yea, to us all."
Curioso said nothing.
"But it remains a joy to us that thou art come, for his treasure is thine, my son. We long to hear his voice again through you, his student."
Curioso looked up quietly, and said:
"Every word you say reminds me of how I have wasted his teaching."
The old Lama looked at him sternly, and then turned abruptly to the other figure sitting beside him. They spoke in Tibetan for a few moments. He turned back.
"We shall speak of this and thy smonlam, what is it in English, thy wish path, on another occasion. We will celebrate him together this evening in the late service. But now thou shouldst introduce me to thy --."
Curioso blushed. "Companion, your Holiness. Her name is Annette. Annette Marceau. "
The Lama looked at her, and bowed. "I am pleased to make thy acquaintance. I am led to believe by Tirseng that thou art of France. Thou shalt be forgiving then of my travails in the speaking of English. I have no time to practice, and my Junior Tutor, who was an Englishman, died many, many years ago."
"Perhaps you might learn some French, " Annette replied. "It is a far superior language. "
Tirseng looked completely horrified. The Lama smiled for the first time in the audience, and replied, "I am far too old to learn a new language. But", and he looked sideways, "Thubten Zopa Rinpoche upon my left would be a willing pupil, I am sure." Thubten bowed.
The Lama looked back at Curioso. "To be sure, we have many things to speak of, but there are matters of urgency. We have 3 questions that, if thou couldst be of assistance, would clarify certain problems that have plagued us for some time."
Curioso bowed.
He turned to Thubten, who produced a sheet of paper. The Lama adjusted his glasses. "Could you tell us:
One, Was Elagabalus emperor of Rome before or after Hadrian?
Two, Was Hamlet king of England before or after William the Conqueror?
Three, We will come to three.

You see, Thubten is the director of the school system here, and we have so few books that we are afraid that mistakes are creeping into the teachings. We have argued over these questions for many years."
Curioso frowned. "I can answer the second question. Hamlet is actually a fictional character, though I believe he is based on an actual king of Denmark. He was never king of England, but in a play by Shakespeare. " There were nods and smiles of relief. "But as to the first, I was bad at Roman history."
Annette spoke up: "After, your Holiness. The Antonine line of kings ended with Marcus Aurelius and Commodus, who were followed by Septimus Severus, and Elagabalus, though I confess that there may have been one or two brief emperors in between. It was a troubled time in Rome."
The Lama beamed and rubbed the top of his head. "thank you, thank you." Thubten beamed and wrote down what she had said.
The Lama then said, "It is a troubled time here, and after lunch we will speak of the Black Master, and the new unbounded actions that threaten. But let us now have some lunch." Thubten whispered to him. "Oh yes," said the Lama, "I forgot. I am very old. Question 3. Canst thou tell me what this beautiful tune is? I long to know. It came in a caravan a few years ago, and was given to me." And he brought forward a light blue music box, with a painting of a city on it. With his long fingers, he pried it open, and it began to play a tune.
Curioso smiled. "Yes, your Holiness. It is a famous American jazz tune. The words are" -- and he began to sing along with the chiming notes -- "I can't give you anything but love, baby, that's the only thing I've plenty of, baby, dream awhile, scheme awhile, you're sure to find, happiness, and I guess, all those things you've always pined for." They listened to the song for a few more moments as it tinkled through the air. The Lama closed the box.
"Wise words," he said after a moment. "The essence of Buddhist teachings." And then the helpers brought forward lunch.

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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 12 May 01 - 02:49 PM

Annette was famished, and the vegetarian feast put before them was savory. She was a bit surprised that most of the ceremonial stiffness of their introduction to the High Lama had been set aside, and now conversation was widespread among the monks around the low table. Finally, she made bold to broach the topic that had been on her mind. "Your Holiness...are you familiar with a place called Shangri La?"

At once, all conversation stopped around the table, although the Lama himself merely buttered a large slab of bread, and broke it in two pieces passing one to Annette and one to Curioso. "You are aware that this world is turning like a wheel. There are those who inhabit the outer edge of the wheel. Their goal is power on this earth, and they dominate it with power or cunning. We here are like a hare that dwells among elephants. They are so concerned with one another and their jostlings, that they do not bother with us. Perhaps they cannot even see us."

He poured tea for his guests, and sat smiling into Annette's eyes for what seemed like several minutes. "Our goal is to move toward the center of the wheel, to where the revolutions begin to slow. We seek the central axis, the Place that Never Turns. Some might call this, in a spiritual sense, Nirvana. It is a state of grace and integration with the Holy. You may find this anywhere on Earth." He smiled at both of them. "You may find it here." Again he paused, peering into Annette's eyes, and then into Curioso's. "And some speak of Shangri La, for those words mean the same...The Place that never Turns, the Wheel's Center. And some say that it lies within these mountains, a place of changeless contentment, a physical counterpart to Nirvana." He suddenly stood up. "It has been great joy to sup with you. I must retire now. Your needs will be seen to." And the Lama turned ,as all of his guests stood to watch him depart, and was lost in the chambers of the temple.

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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: GUEST,Caitrin
Date: 12 May 01 - 05:35 PM

Mara breathed a sigh of relief as she felt Gungzin's message. The path was there--they would reach Shangri-la. And as long as she kept a watchful eye, they would reach the Wheel's Center in time to save it from the peril which threatened it.
"Keep your spirit in focus, Dearly Beloved." Mara murmured. If the young western girl was listening, she would hear. "Your journey is long, but you shall perservere." Little did Dearly Beloved know that the journey to Shangri-la was only the beginning.
But what of the other Two? Yes, the French. She could not feel them the way she could Dearly Beloved, but Mara knew they were coming and that they, too, were Necessary in their own way.

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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: JenEllen
Date: 13 May 01 - 03:44 AM

After the noon meal, Annette walked out in the sunlight to explore the monastary. The stone walls spoke of the earth, while the brightly coloured flags and statues bloomed in the fashion of the flowers. This man-made place seemed to spring from the mountain itself, and she was anxious to know more of it.

Near the gates of the monastary, a carving in the stone caught her eye and she paused to try and make sense of it. She startled a bit when a voice behind her spoke, "It is a prayer of refuge." Thubten walked over and placed his hand on the wall, "I take refuge until I am enlightened in the buddhas, the dharma, and the sangha. Through the merit I create by practicing giving and the other perfections, may I attain buddhahood for the sake of all sentient beings.."
"That is beautiful," whispered Annette.
"That is the way." replied Thubten.

He lightly touched her arm, and turned her once again towards the monastary, and leading her through a small doorway. There she saw the Lama seated at a low table.
"Ah, Annette. We have much to learn!"
Yes, the superior language? Come, sit.." he motioned to a pillow on the floor beside him. "I could see in your face that we have much to speak of."

She sat beside him, mind scrambling to make sense of it all. Her 'past life' in the lower world spoke to her, that these men were very clever, seating her beside one and across from the other made a neat little triangle that would not speak of interrogation, would it? For the first time since entering these walls, she possessed the urge to flee.
"Child, rest," he said as he grasped her hands, "We do not take that which is not freely given." The words did little to soothe her, yet he continued, "I have questions for you, as well. Please, tell me about France.."
She began slowly; the politics, the climate, measuring every word. Thubten scribbled quickly on a piece of paper while the Lama watched in fascination. Before long she found herself grasping the Lama's hand in return and talking about her brothers stealing grapes from a neighboring vineyard to make a jug of wine that went neglected so long it eventually exploded in her Mere's pantry...

The peals of laughter issuing from the room brought curious on-lookers, including Tirseng and Curioso, to peer cautiously inside the door. This only served to seed the storm of mirth that brewed around the low table, and the three clutched their sides in delicious agony. When the storm subsided, as all storms do, Tirseng took the opportunity to call Annette from the room to continue a tour of the grounds. Reluctantly, she rose from the table, but not before kissing the Lama's cheek.
"Merci, bon homme." she chuckled. To which he replied, "Merci, bonne dame." Thubten only shook his head in mock annoyance, then blushed as her lips grazed his cheek as well.

A few minutes later, Thubten and the Lama looked out of the window to see Tirseng leading the pair, arms interlaced, they dutifully followed.
"Ah," sighed the Lama, looking at Thubten ruefully, "Two flames from the same fire, this will be a task indeed."

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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Peter T.
Date: 13 May 01 - 12:27 PM

After the celebration ceremony in memory of his lost teacher, which went on past midnight, Curioso went away. Annette waited for him, fell asleep, woke, fell asleep again. In the light before dawn, he came in, drawn. He embraced her, and then went and sat in the window overlooking the valley. It was very quiet.
"Not to pry, mon cher, but what did happen that went so wrong?"
He smiled grimly and stretched his arms out to loosen his muscles. "Well, it is a bit complicated. Do you remember the monks we saw on the sheltered terrace, just before night fell?"
"Yes, they were making a painting, a mandala, yes?"
"Yes, it is a sand painting. It is a meditative form. It is a world you create, and then you brush it away. The brushing away is the important part."
"Because of impermanence?"
He looked out at the quiet space beginning to unfold again in the early morning, and then said, "Because it is dangerous."
He sighed and continued. "For some teachings, there is the idea of eliminating all temptations, all forms of delusion. For others, there is the idea of using the energies generated by those delusions, because they are so powerful, primal forces."
"Like sex," Annette said.
He looked in at her. "Absolument. These primal energies should not be shunned, that would be foolish, they will erupt again. What one must do is learn to handle them, like a surfer on a crashing wave. And then eliminate them. And one way of handling them is to learn to live in the world created by them. So that is a method, a very powerful, very dangerous method. When you become a student along this very powerful path, you are taught how to create vast worlds in the mind, the world of compassion, say, or the world of strength, or the world of anger. You create each world, its Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, its temples, its buildings, its animals and plants, its roads and cities, all of it, and you live in it. You learn its ways, its powers. And then you must destroy it like a sand painting, or --"
"Or you get locked into it."
"Yes. Or you get locked into it. You are pretty good, ma chere."
"Oh," she shrugged. "It is like the French and Paris. It takes you a long time to realise that there are other places in the world."
He laughed. "Yes. Only we are trying to save Paris, I hope. Anyway, so dangerous is this method and so powerful in the energies it releases, far more dangerous than those scrawlings of Lise Meitner's and yours, that that is why you need a guru, a teacher, for one can spend many years in building one imagined world of enrgy, and eventually lose oneself in it. The teacher is there to make you destroy it, to move you from that lesson in imagining to your next lesson, your next world, from power to compassion, say. I had -- have -- a brother, who came with me to another monastery, after the loss of Mallory, and we embarked together on the teachings, to cope, to learn. After long study, when he was far far ahead of me, he went into retreat in a cave far from where we were studying, and began to build a world, a world of pure whitehot anger. It happened that at that time I had to return to England for some time, and while I was gone the Geshe became deathly ill, he sent assistants, but no one could find him, so no one came to rescue my brother until it was too late. He had gone into the world he had created, and could not come back again. I came back, rescued his body, but the rest of him was gone."
The light of dawn flooded into the window.
"And now he is the Black Master. He is bound on creating the world of whitehot anger in reality that he created in vision and that overwhelmed him. He feeds off it. And he grows in his power every day that the world succumbs."
Annette got up and came to the window. It looked so peaceful below. "Ah, mon cher, and so hard, your own brother. And he killed your beloved master too."
Curioso put his hand up against the edge of the open window, as if to keep himself from falling into the depths below. "No, my darling, no. It was I. I was the one who killed him."

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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: JenEllen
Date: 14 May 01 - 06:39 PM

Annette studied Curioso's face in the growing light. He had not slept, that was certain, and the dark patches beneath his eyes spoke of tears as well. This wound she could not reach. It explained so much, her capture by the Japanese, and Curioso's ability to find and rescue her. Who better to know those dealings than your own flesh and blood?
"Come, chere" She brushed her hand along his cheek and then grabbed his wrist. "To bed."
"'Nets... I can't...I shouldn't be in here.." he looked from her to the pallet and back again.
She stood firm. "Do not anger me in such a peaceful place as this. You need to rest, I need to think."
He walked reluctantly to the pallet with her, and she sat with her back against the wall. He lay beside her, facing the wall, but his ragged breath told her that sleep was not coming. When she lightly tapped his shoulder and said, "Chere, enough.." he rolled over and curled himself to place his head in her lap. The tears that flowed onto her became in liquid form, a solid resolution that she would break this brother's neck with her bare hands should she have the chance. As the moment passed, she began to run her fingers from his hairline down to the base of his neck, and his breathing gradually became regular once again. Quietly she began to sing
"Sous le ciel de Paris
S'envole une chanson
Elle est nee d'aujord'hui
Dans le coeur d'un garcon
Sous le ciel de Paris
Marchant les amoureux
Leur bonheur se construit
Sur un air fait pour eux"
His breathing told her that, however fitfully, he slept. With this, she carefully slid from beneath him, and left the room in search of answers.

At the bottom of the stairs, she saw Tirseng standing, as if waiting for her. "Ah, phra ma! You must come along," he smiled, "This morning you may walk with me." The two walked to the gates of the monastary, and Tirseng gave reproachful glances to the pair of monks who muttered "buyr sdud ma" behind Annette as she passed.
"What is this?" she asked him.
"You will have to forgive my brothers from time to time, they only whisper that you are a shameful woman, but what they know of women they only know from books.."
Annette smiled at the bashful little man, delighted in his honesty, and wondering to herself just which books he had been reading.
When they reached the top of the rise, Tirseng gave a short whistle, and two of the largest dogs that Annette had ever seen, rose from the grasses and walked over to them. Tirseng brought bits of food out from his robes, squatted down and fed the beasts, as Annette watched from what she hoped ws a safe distance.
"What are these," she whispered, "certainment..not the parents of the little ones inside?"
Tirseng chuckled. "I thought you might like to see these two. My 'mdza'snying du sdug pa'i bshes'--the friends and lovers. They were never content inside the monastary walls, but have always lived just outside to warn us of danger." he gave her a sly sideways glance and proceeded to break up the food. "Curioso was much like this when I knew him last. As a young man, he grasped the teaching quickly, but ah, so many questions, such desire...his brother learned the teachings, but turned them against the good of all. I ask you, what is worse? When it came to pass that Curioso felt it necessary to leave us," he sighed, "his brother took the opportunity to gang dga'byed, to as he pleased?...and you know quite well the result of that." He stood and brushed the crumbs from his hands.
Annette nodded her head, remembering the shadow hovering in the corner of her cell in Kyoto. The fear in the moment of holding one's breath, the silence before the wave crashes down, that very terror drawn out in weeks of darkness in Japan. She knew it well. "But what of now?" she urgently asked. "Do you know he thinks that he killed his own teacher? Did you see his face at the celebration last night? That was no celebration to him. He walked all night, and even in sleep cries out about these five poisons. I cannot believe him to do this. A protector? Oui. A murderer? Non."
They returned to the monastary, and upon reaching the stairs, Tirseng touched her arm and promised to speak again soon. She thanked him and returned to the window seat in her room. There she waited, alternately watching the increasing activity in the courtyard, and Curioso's slumbering form until he drowsily opened an eye to her.
"You were gone," he started.
"Yes chere, walking with Tirseng. He explained to me about the friends and lovers."
Curioso's haggard face managed a half-smile, "I'll bet he did.." "Cretin," she replied, walking to the pallet, "Now you must explain to me about last night."

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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Peter T.
Date: 14 May 01 - 06:53 PM

At that moment the sound of a bansuri flute was heard, off in the distance. Curioso turned his head and began to sing along:

"Seba alaso trodje,
Seba alaso trodje".

"An old Tibetan song," he then said. "Means the dew dries up by midday."

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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: JenEllen
Date: 15 May 01 - 02:31 AM

Annette worked in the gardens with Patil for a better part of the morning. When she decided to forego the noon meal for a chance to sit in solitude, the tiny monk nodded his approval and left her sitting folded beneath a tree, hugging her knees. As the sun reached it's highest and started to descend, Thubten approached and sat beside her.
"May we continue our discussion of yesterday?" he cautiously asked.
"Yes," she replied, "but this time I am the one asking the questions....So, little man, tell me, why does Curioso do this? Do you know? Everywhere around this world now, people are starved for bliss, and yet he tortures himself here and has no happiness? Why?"
"It is a rocky path, dear lady-friend, that he has chosen. The path that embraces what most would normally avoid." Annette looks up at him, puzzled. "For example then? You are standing here, and a horse is running towards you. You have three options. You could stand here and be trampled, or you could move to avoid it -but the horse may return."
"...And the third choice is?" she asks
"To embrace. Leap upon the horse and go for a ride. It would be the only way you could hope to turn it."
"Go for a ride?" she erupts, "And the chances of this turning out well are what?"
"Well, I would say significantly better than if one sat or ran. Now, dear woman, my question for you. What are you thinking of?"
She pauses, sighs, and drops her chin to her knees before answering him. "My life changing, perhaps? Once upon a time my life was at a school, I had my work and my passion- finding ways to explain what cannot be seen, and speaking to others who studied of the same. When I met Curioso, we spoke as if we'd known each other forever. Talking late into the night of all the new things, and waking up intertwined. All futures and dreams. I had begun a new project, that unknown to me at the time, would change my world forever. Curioso helped to hide it from some very bad people, but I think he began hiding more from me. He is evading, I am afraid, and not allowing me to understand. It is very hard to take these frustrations for a ride, non?"
Thubten gave her a confused look, and she continued, "Explanation for you? Oui. Not so very long ago, I was resting in a hotel. We were supposed to meet a fellow traveler, but I fell ill. Curioso went out, and later that evening, as I napped, I heard the door open. Hearing the quiet footfall, I assumed it was Curioso returning and did not rise. I felt a cold hand upon the back of my neck, but by then it was too late. All I remember of Japan is the cold and the dark- no better than German prisons- and my captor, Yamada, who remained an ignorant man asking ignorant questions while his shadow lingered in the dark corners. That shadow was what I feared, really"
"And what became of this fear? You ran away?"
"Yes", she quietly spoke, "But only because one cannot conquer a shadow. Now the shadow has a face."
At this, Thubten sighed and stood. He placed his hand on the top of Annette's head for a moment, then left his lady-friend alone with her thoughts.

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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Matt_R
Date: 15 May 01 - 08:40 AM

Tattva, acintya bheda bheda Tattva
Tattva, acintya bheda bheda Tattva
Tattva, acintya bheda bheda Tattva
Tattva, acintya bheda bheda Tattva

Like the flower and the scent of summer
Like the sun and the shine
Well the truth may come in strange disguises
Send the message to your mind

Tattva, acintya bheda bheda Tattva
Tattva, acintya bheda bheda Tattva
Tattva, acintya bheda bheda Tattva
Tattva, acintya bheda bheda Tattva

At the moment that you wake from sleeping
And you know it's all a dream
Well the truth may come in strange disguises
Never knowing what it means.

Tattva, acintya bheda bheda Tattva
Tattva, acintya bheda bheda Tattva
Tattva, acintya bheda bheda Tattva
Tattva, acintya bheda bheda Tattva

For you shall be tomorrow
Like you have been today
If this was never ending
What more can you say?

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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Peter T.
Date: 15 May 01 - 09:48 AM

He came out to the place where she was sitting. Somewhere in the distance the herder was still playing on his flute, up and down the near hills.
"Well," he said, "it is midday. " Around them flowed the entire miniature world, great chunks of white buildings, fluttering flags of all colours disseminating their prayers into the wind, welltended fields bright in the almost hot sun. They got up and moved under a wooden shelter, with a grey stone ledge curving down to the floor of the valley below, and the wall of mountains in front of them. He started with his arms around her, and then slowly disengaged as the story continued.
"Brothers. Dominic was older, wiser than me, but more adventurous. Come on, he would say, as he teetered along some river bank, over some railway bridge, into some new thing. Come on. We chimed together, a bit like duet singers, where they just know what the next note is going to be. But he was always the lead. And then we started on the mountains. It does not have to be brothers -- you climb together, you are roped together, you need each other -- you are in danger together, you save each other. But we were, brothers, more intense. And sometimes he saved me, and sometimes I saved him. That is what you do. "
"That is what you do," Annette echoed.
"Yes. And then I did something that to him broke the bond for awhile. He said he never blamed me, but he did. He had sprained his ankle on a climb, and was almost healed when Mallory came to Everest base camp. He wanted Dominic to come along as a third, because he was unsure of Irvine, who was, not a novice, but not Dominic's class. And I persuaded him that he wasn't strong enough. And they went on without him. And when we lost Mallory, all the life went out of it. He always believed that he should have gone with Mallory, not Irvine."
"Should he have?"
"No, "Curioso said, definitely. "Anyway. He said to me, "Come on, we are going to climb this mountain instead" -- the mountain of Buddhism. And we grappled with it, flung our ropes, dug in our feet, up the glass mountain of delusion, hand over hand. And finally -- this part you know -- he got caught in the whirlpool of worlds. " The flute music, off in the distance, darkened as if in sympathy. He listened for a moment, then went on.
"And I returned from my voyage, and he was lost. He had gone from the mountain cave where he had begun off elsewhere. He was unfindeable. I interrogated everyone, sent out expeditions, trekked endlessly. And thanks to Tirseng, who was with me until near the end, I found him at last. I got him down off the bleak virtually inaccessible mountain where he had been captured by his own creation; and though he was paralysed in mind and body, I got him down." The music moved low, far lower than one might think possible from a flute.
Curioso went into himself. The sun shone brilliantly in the richness. The music floated, darkened, became shriller, extended itself.
"So. So when someone is lost, marooned in the mountains, you must go after them. Take the route they have taken. I had to bring him back, get him down off that mountain."
Annette said: "And so you went up his mountain, his mountain of anger."
"It was so beautiful, not black and muddy and confused as you might think, but pure, like the White Sacred Mountain. All white, intense. The kind of pure white anger that urges you on to slice through something, to sweep away things, people, children, lives, just because THEY ARE IN YOUR WAY." He began to grow into the anger."THEY WILL NOT OBEY. THEY WILL NOT LEARN. Righteous anger, unrighteous anger. Simplifying."
There was a pure hard sound in the air, coming from somewhere. The flute?
"Yes," he continued, quickening: "Clear, bright, no obstacles. Except one. Except the one. " His face now changed. "The one who betrayed him." And his voice hardened, his body stiffened. "The one who abandoned him on that mountain, the one who appeared to help, the one who seemed so saintly, the one who led him onto the mountain, and left him to die, the --"
Annette yelled. "Stop!! Stop!! Stop!!! It's him!!!" She leapt up. Curioso looked at her, confused. She cried: "Who's playing that music? Who is it?"
Curioso pulled out of his trance, and came to his feet. "Dominic!!" He howled off into the hills. From all directions monks and peasants came running. "Dominic!!!?" And the music did a ghostly sprightly dance, and disappeared. "BROTHER!!?!?!?"

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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 15 May 01 - 01:21 PM

Tirseng leapt to the cap of the rim rock and scanned the surrounding ridge, seeing no one. "Dominic," he said quietly. Just below him, the woman and Curioso were embracing, unsteady, surrounded by the confused monks. And then he saw the Lama ascending the path from the Monastery, saw the monks and peasants drop to their knees at his approach. The Lama motioned Tirseng to descend, and instructed all others to go back to their duties. He took Annette and Curioso gently by the hands and walked with them, calling to Tirseng "come with us snowleopard." He walked with them to a high point where stood a prayer wheel, which the Lama softly turned.

"You are a kind of magnet," he said to Curioso. "You are pulling forces to us here, forces which can destroy the peace and sanctity of this place." He turned and smiled. "I realize that much of this journey began with us, disciple of Geshe Kyantse, and we will not abandon you. But I fear the great fountain of anger which you have summoned must be directed away. You must leave tonight for the Last Sanctuary. Tirseng will guide you, for he knows the way although he has never set foot within the valley itself. Buddha dwell with you, children." The Lama turned and descended as they watched.

"Where does he wish us to go Tirseng?" said Annette. Tirseng stared after the diminishing figure of the Lama and said "it is the place you have spoken of. It is the Wheel's Center. Shangri La." Tirseng started down the path, saying "come, we must prepare. It is a difficult journey, and we must set out tonight to cross the Khumba Snowfield while it is still firm."

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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Peter T.
Date: 15 May 01 - 01:55 PM

They turned up the path, confused, and Curioso stumbled on the steep walk. When he got up, he looked back towards the figure of the Lama descending. At the bottom of the steps leading away into the monastery, a new figure appeared beside His Holiness, wearing what looked like a green army uniform, dusty from great travel. He bowed, and he and the High Lama continued what appeared to have been an extensive discussion.
"Who is the visitor,Tirseng?" said Curioso, recovering himself.
"From the east. A representative from the Chinese Communist Party. They have been requesting assistance in their fight against the Kuomintang, which of course we stay out of, but there have been some incidents that need diplomatic resolution. But come, we have to hurry. We are under orders now." Curioso looked once more at the two now distant figures talking in the sunshine, then put his arm around Annette's shoulder. The small party moved up the path, towards the requisition larder.

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Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 15 May 01 - 10:17 PM

The Khumba Snowfield stretched out before the climbers, a broad plain of white that glinted in the illumination of the full moon. At the far side, the black cliffs of Pyanapa towered, unreadable, but there lay the narrow path that wound up and over the escarpment to the Kanchenchunga Pass. Tirseng stepped out onto the snow, felt it hold solid beneath his feet, and motione dthe others to follow. They were roped 25 feet apart at the Sherpa's insistence: In some places the solid sheet of snow was no more than a half-inch thick shell over a deep crevass. They moved in total silence, except for the slight crunch of the crust beneath their boots. Annette watched her breath crystallize into ice in the air in front of her, and breathed in the total silence around her. The figure of Tirseng was clearly cut against the moonlit snow in front of her, a shadow thrown back from him. She turned to see Curioso whose parka was cinched tightly across his face.. he might have been anyone, a specter tied to her by a length of cord. She felt a tear fall across her cheek, and realized that she was, this night, truly alive. The night, the placed possessed an enchantment that gave her life meaning, a significance that even the uncertainty and danger could not erase. She saw Tirseng pause, turn and look at her. "Are you alright, Annette?" He looked about him. "The way is beautiful," he said. As he stepped forward, she heard a sound like the crack of a pistol, and all three stopped instantly. Tirseng turned and laughed quietly. "It is only the ice" he said.

They had travelled another quarter mile, when the sound came again, more like a muffled explosion this time, and simultaneously she felt the rope tighten, pulling her forward. She sat upon the snow, staring forward to where Tirseng had been. "Annette!" Curioso called, "take your ice ax and sink the point under the crust, then place your feet against the broadside of the blade. I need some slack to secure this end." She fought off the urge to panic. "But where is Tirseng?" she gasped.

"In the crevass," said Curioso. "We've got to pull him out. Dead or alive."

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