Tashi Delek (Hello/Greetings)
I spent today with nine Tibetan Monks from the Drepung Gomang Monastery of India who were sponsored by Unity of Greater Hartford. It was a full day program and this is a prayer flag I made for DKos. I know that our quest here for world peace will blow from this flag on the winds circling the planet. DKos was written in the middle with SMGB (Saturday Morning Garden Blogging) friends on the left and my screen name "Missy's Brother" on the right. I put a pootie on the left and a woozle on the right. (I know my drawing was horrible but there were others waiting in line!)
Above is the 14th Dalai Lama. I won't get into the history of Tibet and the invasion of Communist China as there are many diaries that have been posted here on the subject. Instead, I just want to show some pictures and the fun time had by a very diverse group wanting to spend time with the monks and learn about their culture.
We were first served a meal by the Monks. (They use crock pots!)
The mushroom soup was incredible.
Then we were treated to a beautiful chanting ceremony. During a question and answer session, they explained how each of them had been selected by the Drepung Monastery to represent them in a fund raising trip to the United States.
Their Monastery was founded in 1416 near Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. At the time of the Communist China invasion, they had more than 10,000 monks. Only about 100 escaped with Dalai Lama when he fled in 1959. Their mission during this trip is to raise funds for their present settlement of 16,000 refugees which includes the monastery, a nunnery, a hospital, medical center and other important groups.
After the Opening ceremony, it was time to participate in their culture. These are groups waiting to begin the famous Expressive Arts Healing Mandala. The Mandala, a Tibetan sand painting, is an ancient art form of Tibetan Buddhism. The Mandalas are created whenever a need for healing of the environment and living beings is felt. The monks consider our present age to be one of great need.
The instructor at my table demonstrating the use of the "chakpurs" tools which are said to symbolize the union of wisdom and compassion.
When finished, to symbolize the impermanence of all that exists, the colored sands are swept up and poured into a nearby river or stream where the waters carry healing energies throughtout the world.
Tradional Butter Sculptures are an ancient Tibetan Buddhist artform. They are traditionally made with yak butter and are usually destroyed in a timeframe anywhere from a day to a few years to symbolize impermance, a main tenet of Buddhism. For today though, Play-Doh was used!
There was coloring for all ages....
By far the prayer flags were the most popular activity. For centuries, Tibetan Buddhists have placed these flags outside their homes for the wind to carry the beneficial vibrations across the countryside. They are said to bring long life, happiness and peace to all beings in the vicinity.
The flags were hung together around the room. There's our DKos flag.
Later the flags will be hung outside as an affirmation of our collective wishes for peace.
The day continued with Laughter Yoga and Dance for Universal Peace. I did not take any pictures of these. After closing ceremonies and blessing for world peace, the Mandala Sands were returned to the Earth.
Tuje Chay (Thank you)
and oh yeah.....PEACE