One day is plenty of time to drive four hours, hike a National Forest, tour a neat college town, eat Tibetan food, visit a Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist cultural center/temple, and see the most voluminous waterfall in Indiana, right? It is when that’s your only day off for the month.
So there isn’t any real conservation biology message to this trip, but the temple was pretty awesome and I wanted to share it. A bit unexpected on the outskirts of Bloomington, Indiana, this place was established by the brother of the Dali Lama who live here until he passed away. It’s an extremely beautiful and interesting place to check out if you’re into foreign cultures. It was chock full of cool statues, archetecture, art, and knowledge, all for free. The Tibetan cultural center seems very dedicated to preserving the traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, whose customs are being destroyed about as fast as any tropical rainforest.
Our visit allowed me to reflect on the fact that conservation doesn’t always have to revolve around nature. People also make the world interesting. And while it’s okay for cultures to change over time, it’s unfortunate when they are destroyed by force.
Unfortunately on our trip, there was no time for deep meditation, studying noble truths, or achieving enlightenment. But maybe next visit. In the mean time I encourage you to check out the temple and to educate yourself about the Chinese occupation.