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A Journal of Eastern Medicine, Himalayan Adventures and Meditative Encounters

Personal musings of Mark Sobralske

Himalaya Project: Upcoming Fundraisers and New Advisory Board!

September 25, 2012
Himalaya Project needs your input for our next event, and we welcome Diane Testa to our Advisory Board!
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Upcoming Fundraiser and New Advisory Board!

Introducing Diane Testa!

During the month of August, Diane Testa was asked to join the Himalaya Project as a part of their Advisory Board. Thankfully, she eagerly accepted our invitation!

Diane is a Leadership Coach and a Business Consultant from KOI Consulting Group. She will be assisting us in making the most beneficial marketing and financial decisions possible. Diane has already been a big help in the past and we are glad to have her officially be a part of our team and get the recognition she deserves!

The Board of Directors are all very excited to join forces with Diane and grow as both a team and an organization. Look forward to hearing more about our journey with Diane in the near future!



Diane Testa


Meet Jampa!
The Board Members decided to adopt a mascot into their family at their last meeting. Jampa will be helping to liven up our facebook and twitter activity. Jampa will also attend monthly meetings and all future fundraising events to see that everyone remains productive.
We hope all our supporters are just as excited as we are about this fuzzy, stuffed snow leopard that is full of pure encouragement!

Himalaya Project supporters tell us what our
next fundraising event should be!  

Jampa came up with pretty great ideas during our last meeting.  
Your opinion matters, help us decide by voting for your favorite event from our list. 
Please click on the link below to take our fun poll.
We are all very excited to see the results.

  Let the voting begin!


We thank you for your continued support!

    Be a member and sign up for your monthly donations by clicking donate    
Copyright ©|2012|Himalaya Project NFP, All rights reserved

Our mailing address is:
Himalaya Project NFP
925 W Huron St, #118
Chicago, IL, 60642

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Himalaya Project Kick-Off Party and Fundraiser, Revolution Brewing – April 29th!

April 13, 2012


We are working to bring education and health care to an entire region of the Himalayas. You can help us by drinking beer!
Learn more about Himalaya ProjectFundraiser/tickets $30 at the door or pay in advance at our website.
Space is limited, so purchase your tickets in advance through our website if you can! Event includes:

  • Photography sale! — photography of the Himalayas by Mark Sobralske
  • Silent auction! — Purchase items from around the world donated by our board members and friends
  • Raffle prizes!

Integrative specialist, Dr. Maker Clark, MD, will speak about the importance of preserving traditional forms of medicine.

Mark Sobralske will give a short talk on Himalaya Project and our mission of preserving Tibetan medicine in the Himalayas by providing health-care to thousands.

Dance party will ensue following the event. DJ Shang will officiate.

If you cannot attend in person, we could still use you support. You can attend virtually by donating on our website with PayPal. Even a $20 donation goes a long way in supporting our cause!

Casual Procession Towards Gakar Gompa

March 27, 2012

Here are two short videos of procession of locals to Gakar Gompa in Tarap Valley, Dolpo, Nepal.

In the first video, Children, lay men and women, monks as well as nakpa lamas, all walking towards Gakar Gompa.  Behind are the mountains on the southern end of Tarap Valley, near Dho.

From a different vantage point in the second video, passer-byers stroll casually to the next event, while a prayer flag flaps in front of them and the camera.

Towards  the end of the second video, the camera pans towards Gakar Gompa to view the line of observers and attendees awaiting Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche.

Meeting with Local Doctors and Lamas

February 26, 2012

Journal Entry, 09/15/2011

This morning we had a successful meeting with the local doctors.  Lama Namgyal, Amchi Pema and Lama Karma met with me from 9-11am at the Tibetan medicine outpost to talk about our shared project of starting a school to train a future generation of doctors of Tibetan medicine for the region.

I opened the meeting by asking them to offer a prayer to Sangye Menla, which lasted 5 minutes or so.  Then I introduced Mingmar who video taped the meeting.  I mentioned that I am the representative of an American contingent and that we would tape the meeting so that the rest of our board of directors could also take part in the meeting, throug hthe video.

I shared our mission statement and core values with the leaders and they liked it very much.

I explained my role of overseeing the project, arranging for the teachers, choice of students, connecting donors to the project and fundraising in the West so that our project leaves the realm of mere ideas to that of reality.

I repeated how much I respect them as doctors and lamas but that at times I must be cutting and straight forward.

We talked about whether or not we would include our school to match the government curriculum for a school for Tibetan medicine.

The meeting ended on a positive note and they offered me a beautiful yellow silk katak with the auspicious symbols of Tibetan Buddhism along with their blessings.

In my last 4 days of Dolpo I will meet with thm two more times to continue making our plans.

I should also write that Phurba, my friend and translator for the meeting, did a fantasitc job.  I was happy to have him by my side facilitating the meeting.  Our communication was effortless as a result of his skill.

Amchi Pema Preparing Medicine

Old pechas (Buddhist texts) on medicine, and antique medicine pouch

Amchi Pema, taking a pulse in order to diagnose a patient's condition

Himalaya Project: Enter the Dragon New Year

February 22, 2012

This afternoon, 02/22/12 marks an end to our first chapter in Himalaya Project’s book, the beginning of the Tibetan New Year, and the start of our second major phase of activity.

Along with 50 some-odd pages of paperwork, attached answers, copies of all our incorporating materials, bylaws, financials and of course, $850 USD, I walked into the post office in Evanston, Illinois on this sunny day to send a package of love to the IRS so we become a recognized tax-exempt organization.

Sending a form off to the IRS with a stack of hard-earned cash (well, ok.. it was a check) doesn’t sound like most people’s idea of a good time, but it felt great to me.  My eyes watered a little in the sun on leaving.  Thanks to an amazing volunteer board of directors, family and friends, we pulled together the money and the energy to get us to this point.

This is only the beginning.

This new year, the year of the Dragon, “gives rise to celebrations and grandiose projects.” (Quoting Philippe Cornu).

This auspicious start to our second major phase of our activity was unplanned.  We were ready to submit last week, but one obstacle after another prevented us from submitting until today.

We now move away from the inward-looking, administrative paper shuffling and brainstorming  towards the outward expansion of throwing fund-raisers, parties, and increasing awareness through other public events.

Teeth and claws bared like the dragon, we will tear through any obstacles in our way and we will succeed in providing an entire district of Nepal with health care through education.

I’m looking forward to our kick-off party, coming to Chicago in early May.  This will be one party you won’t want to miss if you’re in the Mid-West.  More details to come in my next post.

To all my friends, to all my family, I wish you the best this year.. that you are happy and have the causes for future happiness.

To all my Dolpopa, Nepali, Tibetan and Bhutanese friends reading this,

༄།ལོ་གསར་བཀྲ་ཤིས་བདེ་ ལེགས།།

Your friend,


Hidden Treasures and Hail

February 13, 2012
tags: ,

Journal Entry: 09/14/2011

Awaiting Rabjam Rinpoche to preside over a ceremony for the people of Tarap, all the pilgrims from around Dolpo and even further away.

I am very happy to be writing again on pen and paper as my friend Phurba gave me this notebook and a pen from Crystal Mountain School to take notes during meetings and for my own journaling along the way. Before I had been taking notes in my iPod but the batteries from that were already dead days before arriving in Tarap and there is no electricity here for at least 3 days walk.

Yesterday I had tea at Jampa Gonpa, a 1,000 year old temple built under the rule of Mustang by Lo Amapal, with Dolpo Tulku, a well-known Lama of the region. We talked about the temple itself and how the wall paintings were made with original paints ground from stone and jewels, rather than the new pigments which are of a chemical, man-made base, that don’t last as long.

As I said I am waiting for the event to begin, seated next to the board members of Action Dolpo, the principal of Crystal Mountain School and some other guest diplomats and government agents from far away. The Nepali diplomats and development agents look totally out of place here in the context of these wild surroundings.

The locals from Tarap are seated back about 40 yards from the lamas on the ground, exposed to the sun. They are all wearing their finest jewelry and clothes for the event and have brought with them enough food and supplies for one day to feed a small army.

The most interesting piece of jewelry I’ve seen with the ladies so far have been these silver hats that look sort of like their wearing a piece of curved sheet metal on top of their heads as hats. These are not worn anymore on a daily basis as they once were, but are only brought out during ceremonies such as this. They must be very old. I’ve never even met a blacksmith in Dolpo. I’m not sure where these metal objects were made. Perhaps they traded for them with the Tibetan drokpa (nomads on the Tibetan plains) or perhaps they had their own blacksmiths at one time and the tradition and family knowledge died out.

I wonder why they have to sit back so far while I and the other westerners sit so close. I feel strange about getting special treatment during the festivities.

During the ceremony, right after a rather poignant moment of cymbal crashing, horn blaring, drum beating, Rabjam Rinpoche sat still and upright in what looked to be his samadhi, a state of awareness and mental equipoise and seconds later it began to hail. Not the large damaging baseball-sized variety, but roughly the size of a pea.

During this time all the locals who were seated outside during the ceremony rushed to find shelter.

Lhakpa’s youngest sister, Karma Yingzin found me in my sheltered corner with next to Marie Claire Gentry. We lifted her and her best friend, Niger up and out of the crowd up over the people to us to take them out of the hail.

The interesting thing about the hail was that it was only over the school, where the event took place and did not move north or south through the valley. If it would moved, the crops would have been destroyed as the barley already was ready for harvested.

This environmental participation in the event was quite something.

I asked Dolpo Tulku afterwards what he thought of it and he said that since the outer phenomena of the world and the inner phenomena of the mind are ultimately not separate.

Big changes in Mind such as what takes place during an empowerment such as this may cause drastic changes in the physical environment as well. This type of occurence is not something special to focus on or get wrapped up in. The true power still lies in Mind itself.

Dolpopas at Opening of Ribum Festival in Tarap Valley

January 25, 2012

Two short video clips here of the Dolpopas making their way to the Crystal Mountain School for the opening ceremony of the Ribum Festival in Tarap Valley, Dolpo, Nepal with Rabjam Rinpoche presiding.

Of interest in these videos is the beautiful women’s jewelry passed down from grandmothers and great-grandmothers worn only for occassions such as this.

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