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From Tibetan Mountains To Mount Sinai

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From Tibetan Mountains to Mount Sinai


A Portuguese Woman Discovers Islam


By Khadija Margarid



January 2004

It was a common day, like any other of the last weeks; working, preparing the discussion of my master’s degree dissertation, and organizing the trip to Nepal intending to satisfy the need for a deep rest intertwined with a motivation to feel like a foreigner, which had been growing as a result of two years without vacations. I was willing to listen to other folk’s languages, to observe their traditions, to know their religion, their eating habits, their costumes, their homes and so on. Europe seemed so close; it didn’t look as deep as my necessity, and Buddhist philosophies had roused my interest some years before.


One month earlier I was attending the prayers at the Buddhist temple in Lisbon. My goal was starting to prepare myself for my stay in Nepal, to experience in reality the prayers which the Dalai Lama speaks about, and if possible to learn a few meditation techniques—something that might be of value in moments of anguish, which I knew I’d go through, and might help me to find the way, to “enlightenment.†At the end of the day I had taken the first step, voluntarily, to be just one more dharma bum of Kerouac’s stories, and the fear of being like the guy who decided to be a monk invaded me as well. Fear because I had family and friends, because as a psychologist I had a job in which I was responsible for others, because in my inner self I knew I wanted ardently to achieve buddhity and this thought, more than any other, scared me.


I’d searched for prices and dates on which I could travel. The idea was to take the plane to Delhi, and from there one of the buses doing the route to Kathmandu – because it was cheaper, and to be traveling with the local people appeared much more interesting. But the answer had been invariable everywhere: “All flights are booked, there’s nothing else to do but wait!†Very well, I’ll wait. I waited for almost a month in anxiety, as if I was forcing something without understanding what, while simultaneously I was feeling some insinuating culpability traits because I thought, “one month absent might be an irresponsibility; after all it is time only to meditate on my existence and the world’s suffering.â€


Some days went by, and circumstances changed. My mother wasn’t able to travel to Egypt as planned, two months from then:


“Do you want to go instead of me?†she asked.


“I don’t know,†I answered.


I’m thankful for the new alternative but, I don’t give it a great importance because my mind is hooked on Nepal; when suddenly, in the middle of some casual activity, my mind was cleared and I could feel myself thinking “that’s the trip of my life: going to the desert, crossing Sinai and getting to Jerusalem.†A shiver ran through my body from head to toe; I want to go!



(www.)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_www.islamonline(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/english/journey/2005/12/jour04.shtml"]Full Story[/url]

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