Letter from Ian Baker, author of “The Heart of the World: Journey to Tibet ‘s Lost Paradise ”
In an age when the human connection with nature is increasingly threatened by ignorance, greed, and short-sighted goals, sacred places such as Pemakö remind us that our survival as a species depends upon our preserving the eco-systems of all living beings. In the same way, our spiritual lives only have meaning when we honor the physical matrix – our bodies and the ‘body of the earth’ – that gives us life.
Through the living practice of beyul, or ‘hidden lands’, Tibetan culture has kept alive a relationship between human beings and nature that was largely lost to western cultures. In hidden lands such as Pemakö, even our thoughts and intentions are seen as having an effect on the external landscape. The whole environment thus serves as a mirror, reflecting back to us the qualities of our minds. To visit such places can have a profoundly transformative effect, but even just to know that such places as Pemakö exist can refresh our vision of what it means to alive and embodied on this earth.
The work of Tulku Orgyen and other Tibetan lamas in the Pemakö region fulfills the Buddhist vow of respecting all life and doing all that we can to free the world of suffering and discontent. The construction of temples and places of meditation reminds us that our relationship with both the outer and inner worlds should be one of reverence and appreciation. These prophecies given by Padmasambhava and other realized beings help us to recognize that the world that we inhabit depends upon our collective actions. Prayers and ‘good works’ offered in sacred places such as Pemakö can thus have a far-reaching effect and positively impact the quality of human existence.
The innermost parts of Pemakö are ultimately inseparable from the innermost parts of our own being. In honoring and developing Pemakö’s full potential as a ‘paradise on earth’ (sachod shingkam) we simply bring forth that same quality within our own mind-streams.”
— Ian Baker, 28 September 2012