When I was in the Himalayas in India, I didn't have much money - I had to stretch my money very long, as I didn't know how long I would stay there. Sometimes I just ate chapatis and peanut butter. Chapatis that I made myself, too; they were even cheaper than buying them. It was very simple. You have a plate, which you use to eat, then you just have wheat flour, water and salt. That you call buy anywhere. You knead the flour and water, put a pinch of salt in it. Knead it the way you knead bread or pastry, but without yeast.
Then you flatten it with your hands. Don't even need a rolling pin, just your hand. Flatten it and put it on the fire. You collect the wood from the forest and then you just cook it. After a while, you turn it on the other side and that's it. Put peanut butter on top and you are on top of the world, feeling good. Water you can drink from the spring or from the Ganges, no problem.
I live like that many, many months. Sometimes I ate only raw food if I went too high. You can't cook. You can, but it takes half a day to boil a little, two centimetres of water. I'd say, "Forget it. I'll drink it cold." You can't boil cabbage if you don't have a high power of gas. If you just collect wood, it's most of the time already damp from the snow.
The mountains in the Himalayas are non-stop -- always covered with snow, even in summer, just less. The army digs a road between the mountains, so you can walk between the two mountains of ice. But the ice is always there, even in summer. They have only two seasons - snowing season and no-snowing season. The pilgrims normally go in the non-snowing season. If you happened to stay there too long, then you'd just be snowed under and stay there until next year, if you are still alive. Then you drink snow or whatever. Some people do that, it's okay! (Do not try it!)
Even in winter you can pick some of the herbs, some of the wild plants In the Himalayas and eat them. Some of them don't look so much like, but taste like spinach. Except that they are a little bit red on the stem, not green; they taste exactly the same. Don't go there and eat nonsense. You have to know which plant to eat. Don't say the The Supreme Master Ching Hai said that and just taste everything whether it tastes like spinach or not. Before you know it, you'll already be finished. Don't make yourself become a laboratory.
I didn't even have a tent. Can you imagine in the Himalayas no tent? But sometimes you find a roof or a so-called house. The house is not really a house the way it is here. That kind of house, you call see the stars through the roof,' you can see through the walls, and the wind is very free to visit you ally time of the day and night, bringing in the snow as well. Very generous. The floor is very wet. It's not cemented, because in the Himalayas people just put the wood together to make a very simple flat, grass hut. There are no facilities, no cot. You lay on the floor.
I was very clever, I used a very thin mattress, thinner than yours. Not this kind. There is a thin like plastic sheet, one side gold and one side silver. You can use that too. When you unfold it, it's like a piece of paper tissue only, so thin. I couldn't afford to carry so many things, I could hardly carry myself! The higher you go, the heavier it becomes. The same luggage became heavier. Even your feet became heavier, got swollen with this snow, soaking into your shoes. Didn't matter what kind of shoes you had, the snow can managed to get in and soaked your feet. You know, like the way you soak bread in water, it becomes double the size. So if you go to the Himalayas, can't carry many things. So many months like this, I went from one place to another. I also survived.
I just tell you, we can live through anything. We can survive, because if our spirit is strong, we have a noble purpose and a higher ideal, we call just look into that ideal and we forget everything else, truly like that. Like the way of the Tibetan air-traveller, they don't have aeroplanes there, so they travel like flying in the air. They just have to fix themselves on some point in the horizon or on some stars. Then they just concentrate on that. At that time, when you talk to them, they don't hear you. They don't know what's going on. Even if they get hurt, sometimes knock into branches or something or get bruised, they also don't know. After, they wake up from the trance and stop their voyage.
When we free ourselves from the concepts of attachment, negative thinking and binding passions, then we are liberated in this life time.
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