Wednesday, December 27, 2006

December 27th, 2006---Late updates!

This shot is from almost two weeks ago. Ani Yeshi and Ashley are applying our concrete stain to the lotus petal! What was amazing is we had a 75 degree day here in Maryland in the middle of December! Just what we needed to get this done!

The posting is a bit of a challenge right now as blogger is switching over to google, and I'm having issues with access to this account, but I think I'm working it out...I hope...: )

In any case, there's lots of activities heading our way this weekend and we're hoping some of you out there might be curious enough to come by and check it out! You can just watch if you want, don't worry!

Of course, the temple and Stupas are available to you 24 hours a day every day, whether you're Buddhist or not. It is our sincere hope you will take advantage of the tremendous blessings offered here, all you see on these pages is dedicated to keeping it all here for you!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Youth Program, 12.17.06

As Buddhists, we begin all activities, classes, and practices with opening prayers. We use this time to set our intention to be of benefit to all sentient beings.

Once our intention is set, we all get to work!
Each child chooses a box for an adult male or female & a child male or female. Then they set to work filling them with gifts.

Next, they made cards for each gift…

Everyone worked hard at making each card and gift just right.

Now it is time to take the gifts outside.

Where are we going? To the stupa of course! We include the stupas in our practices as much as possible.
We all go to the stupa to make wishing prayers with every gift box that they might be of benefit to those who receive them.
Finally, the boxes are ready to go! The kids load Ani Samten’s car with their gifts of compassion and love.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

December 16th, 2006

Yeah...we haven't really kept up on the blog I know. But we're back at trying to! The project we worked with today was the lotus petal in front of the temple. Tara and I spent last Saturday grinding (with our beloved angle grinder!) off layer after layer of paint. The last layer had begun to completely flake off, forcing us to seek better solutions.

Our ultimate goal is to recast the whole thing using glass aggregate in concrete, which will never flake off, even with foot traffic. After much investigation (and some darn high hopes) we ultimately surrendered to our time frame and devoted ourselves to an intermediate step (something clearly had to be done now). The weather, quircky as it is, supported us by bringing us a 60 degree weekend in mid-December. So we took up the task of applying concrete stain on the medallian (more durable than paint...though the color choices are very limited so forgive the lack of punch in the final colors).

In this shot you can see we went for the whole system when we purchased the stain, from prep to topcoat...
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The first step in the process (after many hours of research, discussion, and finally a walk through Home Depot to evaluate options) was a thorough wash of the medallion. We used products specifically designed to prepare for the stain... Posted by Picasa

After the wash was etching, which involved a pretty toxic smelling chemical (we're pretty use to that now...) Posted by Picasa

After washing, etching and thorough rinsing we sped up the drying process a little...
Once it was dry we applied a bonding primer to facilitate adhesion since we were applying over paint (recommended method). The primer needed 8 hours to dry, so we'll be finishing up the stain tomorrow...
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We utilized what sunlight was left in the day to fix the brocade in the Long Life Stupa gau. It had come loose in places, so we brought our handy JB Weld and made sure the fabric adhered to the velcro. So the goal is to complete the staining of the lotus petal tomorrow, on a sunny, warm December day! We'll be contending with some traffic out there...

As always, it is our hope that you will come see these amazing sources of blessing for yourself. The Stupas, temple, and land are all here for any being that seeks a refuge or place to unwind. No need to be Buddhist---and we won't make you work either! Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 11, 2006

December 11th, 2006

It was a long time coming I know! This is a photo of Migyur Dorje with the wall completed---totally!! It's been a busy month for your Stupa crew, we've both moved into a new house in Poolesville (well, new to us). We've been working out at the temple as always, but the move has taken up all our "spare" time! Now we're settling (it's still an evolving process) but we're back online and ready to keep you all up to date.

Our responsibilities at the temple have expanded, so we'll be sharing all our adventures with you here! Of course, you can always come out and participate in person! We all love what we do, and we'd love to share the opportunities! Of course, you don't have to work to enjoy the Stupas and temple, they're both available to everyone, whoever you are, 24 hours a day. It is our sincere hope you'll come out and see it for yourself! Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 17, 2006

Retaining wall fun

With the retaining wall finished, we needed to backfill with aggregate and dirt. Pete stepped up to fill in the aggregate and impressed us all with amazing bobcat skills!
Unfortunately, he could not make it to the site in the morning so we looked around to see who would take his place. Wait a minute...
No, no, no! I don't want to drive this thing...but Norbu and Ani Sonam would not give up on me.

Norbu watches as I try my first scoop. Yikes!

After receiving directions and a demonstration from Norbu, I manage to transport the dirt across the street to the Migyur Dorje stupa.

All of my buds are there to support me...Beth watches and makes sure I dont get too close to the stupa.

Pete continues filling the wall...

Uh you can see our bobcat has more than one purpose! Norchu's vehicle rolled down the hill into a creek...Pete and Sandy help her pull it out with the bobcat.

This was my first scoop behind the wall...can you tell I was a little bit nervous?

Ani Sonam cheers me on with Ani Dawa and Ashby there for support as well.

While waiting for the bobcat to return, sangha members pitch in with their shovels. Thanks Marilyn and Ashby!

Ani Sonam joins in on the fun.

We are always inviting you to join us at the stupas and circumambulate and pray...Ani Pema's dog did just that! Adorable, huh?

Okay, now that the dirt has been filled in, what is the next step? Mulch... we unload into the bobcat for Pete to transport...cuz they are heavy!!

Ani Sonam and I cant believe how much is left to heft into the bobcat...must take break...ugh.

Did I tell you this guy has skills or what? Thanks Pete!

We finished the wall before the election (which was our goal). Unfortunately, we were so focused on finishing that we did not take a picture of the finished product. I promise we will get that posted soon.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Okay, this is just between us...I really enjoyed learning how to drive the bobcat (dont tell Norbu and Ani Sonam or they will raz me) whats next? Maybe I can learn how to drive a forklift? Yeah!

By this effort may all sentient beings be free of suffering.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

November 2nd....Guru Yoga and following instructions...

Many years ago, when the Stupa was completed, His Holiness Penor Rinpoche informed us that we had a problem. (We are now use to such information) The bottom gold area should be touching the ground, it is called the "earth hugging layer". For many years folks puzzled over this and finally.... Posted by Picasa

Here's the solution we conceived...well...actually it wasn't our brainchild. We simply heard the instruction, and worked on finding a way to implement it. His Holiness had suggested some sort of wall with now you get to see concept become reality! This image is the one Ashby cooked up for us once we got a handle on actual solutions, meaning decorative concrete block. After many months of research and effort... Posted by Picasa

Monday the foundation for the wall was laid. Ani Yeshi and I (obsessed with this project!) each visited the Stupa in the dark to see it. This photo was taken Tuesday morning early, living in Poolesville has great advantages! Posted by Picasa

This was the status of the wall by the end of the day on Tuesday. Each of those large blocks weighs over 70lbs! Ani Yeshi and I were pretty relieved to not have to place them all! Not to mention the reality hitting us at how difficult it would have been to cut all the corner pieces and keep everything level....whew! Posted by Picasa

This is one thing we did notice that will need to be addressed. The path around the Stupa became pretty narrow in the southwest corner (the others look okay). We (or our grounds crew preferrably...we harm plants...) will need to move that flower bed back to make the path more uniform.... Posted by Picasa

Nothing drives a Stupa gal (or gals) crazier than activity that happens in our absence! So we both got up early and met at the Stupa to check out the progress this morning. The wall was finished, with the exception of a few capstones (shipping error....don't worry, our faithful contractor fixed this shots though, as it was dark when I left work). We were both overjoyed at how it turned out...but.... Posted by Picasa

Here's a shot of what she was looking at...that's a pretty big hole actually. We've been busy today scrambling for a plan to fill it in with aggregate and dirt, so we can finally get earth up to the earth hugging layer. We have bobcat fantasies...but we'll have to keep you posted as to whether we are that fortunate! But I'm guessing you want to get a glimpse of the wall! Posted by Picasa