Tenzin is the first of the Tsering Lama's grandchildren, and is being raised by his grandmother. He is three years old, but was born with developmental difficulties so that he cannot walk or talk or even crawl.

I was playing with Tenzin this morning in the sun on the balcony, making funny movements with my hands to get him to smile. He has such a great smile. He smiles with his whole body.

"The bodhisattva vow is like a golden pot, the others like earthen pots. When an ordinary committment or earthen pot is broken, it has no more value; however, the bodhisattva vow, like a golden pot, can be remodeled and refashioned-its material remains precious."

-Kaul Ripoche (in Luminous Mind, p. 129)

Today is the first day of a week-long national strike, a protest against the coming sham elections. It has been planned for a long time, and many of us are worried that it will also bring violence.

We Westerners who are living here in Nepal have been talking about the strike and the elections for weeks. We all have our own opinions about what will happen, and what will come of all this. We all stocked up on rice, eggs, water and peanut butter, since the stores will be closed for a week. (Most people shop for these things every day.)

I made it to Tibet! That red line I am leaning on is the border, and I am on the Tibetan side.

A scene along the roadside near Tibet. As we get nearer to Tibet, the road gets progressively worse. At one time, it had probably all been paved, but here it follows a narrow canyon so steep that the walls are constantly sliding, taking the road with it.

Day two of the bike trip, we headed north towards Tibet, leaving Greg to get back to work. It is a beautiful day, and many take advantage of the warm weather to have a picnic by the river.

This is Ian Sanderson. For Ian's 40th birthday we rented motorcycles and headed out for a road trip. Clich? perhaps, but fun nonetheless.

Merry Christmas!

Christmas here in Nepal was quiet and wonderful. The country hardly notices Christmas. The restaurants that cater to tourists offer a "Christmas Meal," and that's about it. It's quite nice, really, Christmas is free to be a religious holiday. And it was.

Two images of daily prayer in Nepal. The first one is Hindu. On a hillside above Lamatar, on the edge of the Kathmadu valley, there is a small cave that is known as a holy place. People honor it by lighting incense, placing flowers, and painting the rocks with red and yellow powder. There are also two bells that can be sounded at the end of prayer.

Today the stupa here in Boudhanath was lit up with one hundred thousand butter lamps in honor of World Peace Day. A powerful prayer for peace, and I can't think of a better thing to pray for.

Have I ever told you about the stupa? Stupas are mounds of rock marking a holy site. Or maybe the site is holy because the Stupa is there. Often they have inside a relic of a bodhisattva (holy person) or some Buddhist scripture. People reverence the stupa in some sense as you would the Buddha, because the stupa makes the Buddha present.