[Pilgrimage to Nowhere] • With the beautiful view, all meals provided, and the programmed group activities, it almost felt like a resort. But the only sport here was pantomime walking; the only relaxation, brute force sitting… With its rough lodgings and reveille at 4 a.m., Doi Suthep felt more like a Buddhist army barracks – a boot camp for the mind. But what army would make head-shaving optional?
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During my years traipsing around the Amazon, I had the opportunity to study with shamans and healers. Some were masters who worked with the ayahuasca vine. One of them, don Ramon, during his nighttime healing ceremonies, would load his pipe with jungle tobacco and turn to a patient and "sing his jaguar down from the tree."