Wednesday, August 31, 2005

August 31...Impermanence...

We have been praying for those impacted by Katrina since Sunday at the temple. Practices have been frequent, Sunday through Monday they were ongoing. That's in addition to our constant 24 hour prayer vigil. Last night I turned around 2 miles from my proposed astrology reading when I was told we were gathering for a tsog at the Migyur Dorje Stupa in order to offer the benefit to those suffering from the terrible storm. At least 20 people gathered, put together a full tsog offering and practice out at the Stupa. That meant moving food, tables, cloths, chairs, cushions and a Dharma Drum, not to mention persevering through the rain and thunder. It all happened again tonight (without me, as I worked at the hospital and got out too late), minus the rain.

Before posting about the Stupa Renovation, I wanted to remind all that the Stupas, temple and lands are all open to anyone, everyone needing a place of peace, or a place to pray. We don't care what kinds of prayers you say, or who you pray to. If you have no idea how to pray, but feel like you want to do something, we can help you if you wish. Simply making offerings to the Stupas (can be as simple as one apple or candle) and walking clockwise around them and offering that merit to all those suffering in the world will have tremendous impact. Maybe none you will see, but it will definitely be there. Even if you are uncomfortable with the whole concept of praying, the Stupas are here for you....

I've finally gotten around to posting images I took on this day (the 25th...last week). While up there I took a series of detail shots of the relief to help prepare for the restoration of this fine detail work. Here's a wide shot of the relief, with almost no detail visible. You can see the stripper on there, but it's off now. Unfortunately not all the paint is, so we'll working on that some more. Some folks have come forward expressing an interest in helping the restoration of this artwork, so I'm trying to provide them with a sense of what they're up against. Keep in mind, as well, this Stupa is 38 feet tall, not including the 3 to 5 foot rise off the ground! We're going to build a platform for the fine art portion of the restoration though, so don't worry, we won't make our artists dangle from rope and harness....well...maybe in addition to the platform. : )  Posted by Picasa

The red held up pretty well, but many of the other colors are fading or faded off. His face, though hard to see here, is splotchy due to areas of paint peeling off... Posted by Picasa

Here's a close look at his arm and clothing. You can see the paint really faded, gone in some places... Posted by Picasa

Here's a look under Migyur Dorje's right arm. That faded circle looks like it might be a patch over a hole placed for the screws....You can see paint is faded almost completely away in areas of his clothing and belt... Posted by Picasa

Patterns in the blue surrounding Migyur Dorje.. Posted by Picasa

Further down on the left side is where one of the screws that holds the relief on the Stupa has had some damage...You can see the pattern in the blue which looks like it was once gold is now faded pretty much... Posted by Picasa

Close up of crossed legs...You can see the layers of cloth all have patterns and details in them... Posted by Picasa

Snow lion and corner detail... Posted by Picasa

The Vajra at the center of the throne on which Migyur Dorje sits... Posted by Picasa

Here's a detail of the flower garland around the gau. The goal of posting some of these details tonight is to provide artists interested in participating in the repainting a sense of what is there. You can see it is not simply a bunch of solid colors (like a coloring book), but requires mixing and blending and all those things artists do...I'll post an image of Migyur Dorje (a scan of a print) tomorrow, to give an idea what they were working from when this relief was first done. The Stupas are here, 24 hours a day, every day.

We here at KPC have been out at them praying for the victims of Katrina since Sunday evening, and have even had practices out at this very Stupa (Migyur Dorje Stupa) the past two evenings. I was there last night (alas, without my camera), but was working tonight and unable to attend. Rest assured, they're out there. We weathered a thunderstorm and tornado warnings last night to be there praying!

If anyone sees this blog and feels helpless to do anything about the state of the world please do come out to the Stupas!! That is why they are here! We will be placing offering bowls out at them for donations to relief efforts. Any prayers you make here, guaranteed, will make a difference. Our sangha is working to coordinate with other religious groups (Buddhist and non) to most effectively provide aide those in need at this unfortunate time. But you don't have to be in Louisiana to be suffering...the Stupas are here for all beings needing relief. They are here for you, and all you see on these pages is devoted to keeping them here for generations to come, Buddhist or not, we offer these precious sources of blessing to all. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

August 30th...the Line Up....

Here she can clearly see she's about ready to have her baby! Amber came out today, insisting on not only letting us use her truck, but on helping haul the water! Ani Rene initiated this last night, and we all met this morning. When I got to the temple, Amber and Ani Rene were already at Migyur Dorje picking up the empty barrels! Posted by Picasa

We filled the barrels at the temple. It takes a while.. Posted by Picasa

While the barrels filled there was time for catching up with each other... Posted by Picasa

After filling the barrels at the temple it was out to Migyur Dorje to transfer the water... Posted by Picasa

The plan had been to use the sump pump to transfer the water from the barrels on the truck to barrels on the ground. Ahhh plans. It feels like a sport sometimes, strategies drawn and plotted, thwarted, on the fly reworking, success with perseverence. When we hooked up the sump pump, nothing happened. I went down to trouble shoot the wiring, and when I flipped the braker I heard a pop and saw smoke coming from the outlet. I didn't consider that a good sign...No one was hurt, but we weren't going to be using the sump pump....Here Ani Rene ponders the situation. Keep in mind it was the three of us (which gave KT great delight), Amber who is 3 weeks from giving birth, Rene who has been doing this for a looong time, and myself, who ain't no spring chicken, and am certainly no beefcake. We were working with 55 gallon barrels full of water. We did, however, find a system that worked... Posted by Picasa

Our method, developed in the absence of Norbu (our muscle power) was to tip the barrels to transfer the water. This involved Amber pulling her truck slowly forward after we tipped, to help more water empty before us old ladies tried to lift the bottom of the barrel to complete the transfer. Here Amber gets a sense of what she needs to do. By this point Norbu had joined us, but we kept using the system, it worked... Posted by Picasa

It took a few hours to restock the water at Migyur Dorje, but we all had fun...

While we were out there Gabriel called, and he's eager to work! He'll be available Friday, and maybe the weekend! I was thrilled to hear it, as Norbu works the weekend, so having Gabriel around means we can actually continue the stripping out here!
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After getting enough water up to Migyur Dorje, Amber was still game, so we hauled two barrels up to the Stupa Park, so it's now ready for power washing! Posted by Picasa

So take a long look won't look like this much longer! We've got the water out here to power wash, now all we need is the paint! The stage is set, we're now ready for action. I work the next few days (don't know what Norbu will be up to...we'll see...), but with Gabriel on board for Friday we can work out at Migyur Dorje. He'll have a chance to see the road, and decide if he's okay with using his truck. If not, we have water, and Amber is willing to keep this up until she's in the hospital! KT is also around this week as well, so keep us in your prayers! We're almost there! Posted by Picasa

We were happy with all that had happened already, and when we were wrapping up we heard the UPS truck coming up the drive. Norbu was eating, and I was circumambulating, and we both had the same it here??? Sure enough, after all the research, emails, delays and worries, here it is! Posted by Picasa

It sure doens't look like much now...but we're hoping it will be stunning applied!  Posted by Picasa

And this is a shot of the primer. Whew! One huge hurdle crossed! So, basically the road is now paved...all we have to do is walk it.

Water on site at the Stupa Park, for the final power wash before painting. Water at Migyur Dorje, for the continued stripping in prep for painting.

We're going to actively avoid spraying the reliefs, so the whole stripping process should take about 3 or 4 more days, depending on logistic issues. If we can arrange to haul water while stipping is going on (totally dependent on truck availability), that will make it go much quicker. I'm seeing the astrologist tonight (Keleigh, the one who recently did a fund raiser at the temple), and am now curious as to what shifted in the skies since yesterday! Boom, everything lined up all of a sudden! : ) Of course, maybe it wasn't the planets, maybe it was all the prayers we did any case, we're really entering the home stretch!

If you'd like to jump in and help you're welcome to join us! And if you prefer to stay clean, dry and smelling good, you can always just visit. We'd love to have you. We're easily avoided these days as well, so if you prefer solitude the Stupas are here 24 hours a day, every day, offering blessings endlessly. Remember, no special knowledge, affiliations or commitments required. They are here to benefit all. So come on out and see them for yourself! Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 29, 2005

August 29th...purpose....

Although I was up late, I awoke early, ready to work. When I called Ani Rene to find out if she had arranged for a truck, I instead found out that the hurricaine was making landfall with a vengence. I got dressed in my robes so quickly I forgot my cellphone when I left the house! When I got to the temple there were quite a few folks already there, Rene had spent almost the entire night there praying. This may sound weird, but we really do believe that prayer can change the world. We're not talking about instant miracles here, but the course of events is influenced by the positive or negative aspirations of beings. So when ugly things start to happen, we get to work cultivating positive aspirations for the benefit of all. I had hoped to work on the Stupa today (really, really wanted to), but knew immediately it was time to set the agenda aside, and use the Stupas for what they were built for. So even though the renovation had a day off, we still spent the day with the Stupas... Posted by Picasa

Thus, we set aside the day for prayer and practice for those suffering the impact of the hurricaine. The Stupas are a center of attention on such days, as they exist to bring benefit to all beings. We spent a good part of the day circumambulating, practitioners made offerings, and recited prayers as they went around the Stupas, all for the relief of those suffering. So though no "maintenance" work was done today, we spent the day with the Stupas.

They are here for you always for this purpose, whether we're getting dirty around them or not. When sickness, strife, war, or distasters strike, there is somewhere to go. There is a benevolent force manifest in a form you can see, touch, and relate to. They are open to all, regardless of whether you have faith in them or not, whether you know what they are or not. It is our sincere hope even seeing them on these pages will bring you blessings for countless lifetimes. You don't need to wait for disaster to visit them though! Their power is that of unbounded compassion, unlimited kindness, they offer Enlightenment to all who encounter them. So do come out and spend some time with them, even if just to see what all this fuss is about! While you're here, it wouldn't hurt to say a prayer that all forms of suffering may come to an end, and all beings be placed in unending joy...but that's not manditory!Posted by Picasa

This is Migyur Dorje from Friday. The plan is up in the air. I just got home from the temple (yes, I worked at the hospital today too!) after a long tsog (prayer and practice) for those in the path of the hurricaine. When I left Norbu and Ani Rene were planning on using Amber's truck to haul water (I was suppose to get an astrology reading tomorrow but it's post poned). Since my reading is being post poned, I am hoping to actually get the stripping done tomorrow. Could work...So, I'll have to leave you in suspense tonight! : ) There are still quite a few folks at the temple tonight, praying to avert harm from the storm heading for landfall. It was truly inspiring to see so many come together this evening (there were at least 15 people there or more, from 9 pm until almost midnight). But as you know if you've been following the blog, the temple is open 24 hours a day, with 24 hour prayer. So this is just a larger than usual group. ; ) Thus, it is there and waiting for you any time, day or night, in good weather or bad. The Stupas are always open, ready to offer their blessings as well! So please do visit if you can, whether in person, or here online! Posted by Picasa