The “Paradise” of Beyul Pemako (The Hidden Land of the Blossoming Lotus)
It can be heaven or it can be hell…
Either way, be prepared to lose 25 pounds and be under constant siege of blood sucking leeches.
Well, the countdown is on…. I leave on January 2nd to escape to my generously donated beach cottage on Whidbey Island to begin my book. Over the last few months I have been busy gathering notes, digitizing slides and phone conversations, and reading the wealth of information that has been written on the “Hidden Lands of the Blossoming Lotus” and its exploration since our trips in 1994, 1995 & 1997. In fact, the “Gillenwater Brothers” and our expeditions are discussed in each of the nine subsequent books listed below.
I find it interesting that each book has its own agenda and many times, self-serving claims. I’m starting to understand that this is the nature of exploration and its concomitant rewards. And it is the grasping nature of the human mind - a flaw endlessly addressed in the Tibetan Buddhist teachings. What an odd paradox for this most sacred landscape!
On the other hand, on our journeys we weren’t seeking fame or financial gain or a place to conquer. We had only one agenda. As one of the most spiritual and last unexplored places on the planet, our expeditions were motivated by a life-long interest in Tibetan Buddhism and a lust for the adventure and magic of the natural world. And I believe it was traveling with this intention that compelled the “Hidden Lands” to uniquely reveal themselves to us.
After 20 years it’s our turn to tell our story.
And what a story it is!
Earth’s Mystical Grand Canyons
The Last River: The Tragic Race for Shangri-la
Courting the Diamond Sow: A Whitewater Expedition on Tibet’s Forbidden River
Frank Kingdon Ward’s Riddle of The Tsangpo Gorges: Retracing the Epic Journey of 1924-25
The Siege of Shangri~La: The Quest for Tibet’s Legendary Hidden Paradise
Hell or High Water: Surviving Tibet's Tsangpo River
The Heart of the World: A Journey to Tibet's Lost Paradise
Last Seen in Lhasa: The story of an extraordinary friendship in modern Tibet
Tibet Wild: A Naturalist’s Journeys to the Roof of the World
In addition to many articles, the following books and films provide updated information on the area.
Namche Barwa Grand Canyon: Revealing the Secrets of a Green Canyon
Secrets of the Tsangpo Gorge - A National Geographic Special for National Geographic TV
Into the Tsangpo Gorge: The epic first descent of the Everest of rivers…
The Yarlung Tsangpo Great Canyon: The Last Secret World
Water: Asia's New Battleground
"Spirit reveals itself to those with a higher purpose."
Oh how I would love to be an atheist!
*On our 1995 expedition, Troy, Todd and I followed Trungpa’s arduous 1959 escape route from Tibet to India over the Doshung-La Pass.
According to Trungpa, Drala is a quality of “vividness” where our phenomenal world actually comes alive to speak to us. This is the “living” quality of the natural world.
Post Note: I’m a left-brained guy – a real pragmatist. I recoil at the philosophical platitudes so bantered around these days: “Just live in the moment, Everything is energy”, blah, blah, blah and so on ad nauseam. Yet what you will read on this Blog and in my book actually happened. These were our experiences – backed by photographs, journal entries and recordings. I can’t begin to explain them other than in the context of the Dralas I describe above. Though grounded in Buddhism, the lessons I learned and will convey in my book are not esoteric gobbledygook. They are practical realities that can be implemented in our own lives to help each of us on our individual journeys.
“Gil…. You have to write a book!”
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