Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mongolia | Shambhala | New Book

I just received word from Andrei Znamenski that his book Red Shambhala: Magic, Prophecy, and Geopolitics in the Heart of Asia will be coming out in June. It can be pre-ordered now on Amazon.
Amazon Product Description:
Many know of Shambhala, the Tibetan Buddhist legendary land of spiritual bliss popularized by the film, Shangri-La. But few may know of the role Shambhala played in Russian geopolitics in the early twentieth century. Perhaps the only one on the subject, Andrei Znamenski’s book presents a wholly different glimpse of early Soviet history both erudite and fascinating. Using archival sources and memoirs, he explores how spiritual adventurers, revolutionaries, and nationalists West and East exploited Shambhala to promote their fanatical schemes, focusing on the Bolshevik attempt to use Mongol-Tibetan prophecies to railroad Communism into inner Asia. We meet such characters as Gleb Bokii, the Bolshevik secret police commissar who tried to use Buddhist techniques to conjure the ideal human; and Nicholas Roerich, the Russian painter who, driven by his otherworldly Master and blackmailed by the Bolshevik secret police, posed as a reincarnation of the Dalai Lama to unleash religious war in Tibet. We also learn of clandestine activities of the Bolsheviks from the Mongol-Tibetan Section of the Communist International who took over Mongolia and then, dressed as lama pilgrims, tried to set Tibet ablaze; and of their opponent, Ja-Lama, an “avenging lama” fond of spilling blood during his tantra rituals.

Professor Znamenski also told me that he has dug up some new information about the The Notorious Ja Lama which should shed some additional light on the career of the enigmatic adventurer. 

Some real heavyweights have coughed up very laudatory pre-publication reviews, including Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, author of The Occult Roots of Nazism and Black Sun, a copy of which I have my Scriptorium:
Red Shambhala enters a maze of intrigue with a colourful cast of Bolshevik secret police officers, spies, occultists, Mongolian warlords and Buddhist monks. Andrei Znamenski shows how Soviet Communists in the 1920s sought geopolitical influence over Mongolia and Tibet, projecting their world revolution onto ancient messianic prophecies amongst Inner Asian tribesmen. Inspired by the myth of hidden sages directing the world's destiny, the Roerichs add visionary adventure amid the great game of competing powers, England, Russia, China, for mastery of the East. A first-rate espionage story, all from recently opened Soviet archives.
From all this I gather that Professor Znamenski will present some material about The Roerichs which you may not learn about at the Roerich Museum here in Ulaan Baatar. I can’t wait to get my hands on this book.

Also, See The Video. If I am not mistaken, in this video is a photo of the Shambhala Thangka (see 1:57 of the video) which I acquired in Darjeeling a few years ago. This thangka can now be seen in the Lam Rim Temple here in Ulaan Baatar. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Mongolia | Zaisan Tolgoi | Spring Equinox

Here in Mongolia the Spring Equinox occurred at 7:21 this morning. Sunrise was at 6:55 am and sunrise at 7:06 pm, making for a day of 12 hours and 11 minutes. In theory day and night are supposed to be equal but this does not always work out in fact. Tomorrow the day will be 3 minutes and 29 seconds longer, so we have rounded the corner and are on our way to summer. Next big event is the Summer Solstice on June 22. As usual I will be celebrating the Solstice at the Summit of Bogd Khan Uul
Summit of Bogd Khan Uul (see Enlargement)
The exact moment of the Solstice is at 1:16 am on the 22nd, so you might want to consider spending the night on the summit. See you there. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Mongolia | Zaisan | Super Moon!

As most of you lunar-oriented people know there is not only a Full Moon but also a Super Moon coming on March 19. The Full Moon actually occurs here in Zaisan at 2:10 a.m. on the morning of the 20th, rising at  6:47 p.m. on the 19th and setting at  6:38 a.m the next morning. What makes this a Super Moon is that on the night of March 19–20 the moon will be at its closest point to Earth in 18 years—a mere  221,566.68 miles away from our own beloved orb. 

Some commentators believe the Super Moon will trigger vast floods, earthquakes, tidal surges, and volcanic activity. We have already had vast floods in Australia and killer quakes in Japan, but expect worse, much worse, according to these people. Of course some scientists have Pooh-Poohed the Idea

I will be viewing the Super Moon from my usual observatory, the summit of Zaisan Tolgoi. 
 The Summit of Zaisan Tolgoi (Noblemen’s Hill)

Bird’s Eye View of Zaisan  Tolgoi, summit visible at center, bottom. See Enlargement
Zaisan Tolgoi (bottom, center) in summer, with Ulaan Baatar beyond. See Enlargement.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Mongolia | Zaisan Tolgoi | New Puerh Tea

I just received a shipment of tea from my supplier in Yunnan Province, China. The market has apparently recovered from the Puerh Tea Crash of 2009 and 2010 turned out to be a pretty good year for Puerh. I bought four cakes of the new 2010 Puerh tea, three of the classic “7592” recipe and one Hai Lang Hao ªAs You Like It” cake, all from the famous Menghai Tea Factory. These four cakes I will lay down in My Tea Cave (see bottom of linked post) for further aging. By 2025 they should be perfect. I can only hope that by that time the earth is still spinning as usual on its axis and that I myself have not transmigrated. For immediate drinking I bought one cake of six year old (2005) Jin Se Zhen Min (Golden Treasure) Puerh Tea.
“7592” cakes top; Hai Lang Hao ªAs You Like It”, bottom left; 2005 Jin Se Zhen Min” (Golden Treasure), bottom right.
A cake of six-year old Jin Se Zhen Min (Golden Treasure) Puerh
Leaf detail of 2005 Jin Se Zhen Min (Golden Treasure) Puerh
I rinsed the 2005 Jin Se Zhen Min tea leaves for ten seconds, discarded that water, and then infused the leaves for one minute.
First one minute infusion of Jin Se Zhen Min
First infusion. Note the lovely orangish-yellow color.
A second infusion of two minutes resulted in this gorgeous reddish-orange tea, indicative of a perfectly aged six year-old Puerh. The taste was slightly tannic and smooth as Khotan Silk.
This grade of Puerh is good for at least five or six more infusions. Indeed, when you taste Puerh Tea on Maliandao Tea Street in Beijing the tea ladies usually make ten infusions from each sample so you can experience the entire range of color and taste of the tea before you decide if you want to buy it. Puerh tea, by the way, is renowned in China as a blood and kidney cleanser and women believe it clears their complexions. It also counteracts the effects of overeating and over-indulgence in alcohol. Most important, however, it is a delicious and spiritually uplifting beverage. Louche Coffee Drinkers would do well to sample its benefits. 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Mongolia | Zaisan | Ninth of the Nine Nines | Ерийн дулаан болно

The ninth and last of the Nine-Nines—nine periods of nine days each, each period marked by some description of winter weather—begins today, March 3. This last Nine is Ерийн дулаан болно: “the time when warm weather starts,” signaling the end of winter. We did have a warm spell, with temperatures reaching 32º F / 0º C last week, but the nights have remained cold; at 8:30 this morning it was 20 below 0º F / –29º C. But in the afternoons my finely tuned olfactory organs detect a whiff of spring in the air . . . Remember the Spring Equinox occurs on March 21 at 7:21 a.m. UB time. I will probably retire to the summit of Öndör Gegeenii Uul for the occasion. See you there.
The Birth of Spring: Equinox at Stonehenge