Tuesday, February 28, 2006

February 28th...Happy Losar!!!

Happy Losar!

It's wicked late for this working class Ani, so I will have to update you all tomorrow. We worked hard at the temple today, and I boldly shot the day in RAW format, which entailed a tedious, unplanned evening of plug-in errors. I did finally work through the bug (by downloading another application for the processing) and now have some images to show you! Whew.

This is a view of the Enlightenment Stupa with prayer flags now streaming from the spire. We've wanted to do this for a long time, and today we finally got it done! We also got the Martin Houses up, but as the technical difficulties took all evening to work out, those will have to wait for tomorrow.

For now, it is our hope you will come on out and see this amazing place for yourself! The Stupa and temple are here to benefit all, regardless of your faith or preferences. On this first day of the New Year, we wish all those in existence peace, joy, and lasting happiness! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, February 26, 2006

February 26th...Preparing for the New Year...

Yesterday we started a weekend of teachings from two Lamas visiting from Monglia, and as head of the AV crew I had to be inside during the day, but we did duck out to measure out and determine proper locations for the martin houses. The birds evidently need wide open space, which, fortunately, we do have at KPC! Posted by Picasa

The martin houses arrived on Friday, and yesterday, between teaching sessions, Pema and I couldn't resist opening the boxes and seeing what we'd be up against assembling them... Posted by Picasa

This weekend two special guests arrived from Monglia. Here Lama Basaan prepares to give a Dharma talk, while Konchog provides an introduction... Posted by Picasa

This is Lama Basaan, visiting us from Mongolia. You can see Konchog's blog for all the details, but this Lama was the only Buddhist Lama amongst the 13 that initiated the peaceful liberation of Monglia from communist rule! He and Lama Kuntuzangpo are visiting us here for the week, sharing their experiences in Mongolia from the perspective of Buddhist practitioners. They'll be joining us for tsog on Tuesday night, and more than that, Lama Kuntuzangpo will be offering teachings on Thursday evening, so if you want to meet a real life peaceful revolutionary, come on out! Posted by Picasa

The Stupa folks stepped out of the Dharma Room for the afternoon to tend to long neglected business...Amber joined Norbu, Lisa and Ed continuing the cleaning out of the trailer. She even hauled a load to the dump in her truck! Posted by Picasa

Meanwhile Pema (James) and I got to work assembling the martin houses... Posted by Picasa

Lisa, Norbu and Amber all headed off to the dump, continuing our work on the trailer... Posted by Picasa

Had to grab a Stupa shot while I was out there... Posted by Picasa

Okay, so it took hours to get this done...but we did it! Sure, it's only one of two, but heck, we finally got there! Posted by Picasa

Pema kept his cheerful attitude despite the tediousness of the task... Posted by Picasa

No sooner had James and I finished the 1st of two martin houses then Norbu and Lisa burst in getting us together to finally transport and place the altar piece Philip had made for the Long Life Stupa. We've been waiting for the right combination of good weather and manpower (and willingness) to all come together... Posted by Picasa

So, we wrapped up the day by getting the granite altar stone on the Long Life Stupa (at long last!). Here Pema (James has adopted his refuge name as his primary name) and Lisa dedicate the merit. I know Norbu is devastated that I wasn't able to get him in the shot! : ) Tuesday is Losar, the beginning of the Tibetan New Year. We've all managed to get the day off, so we'll be continuing our work then! This is a fantastic time of year to come out to the temple to say prayers or make offerings, or just come see the roots of Buddhism in the west with your own eyes!  Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Tuesday February 21...Guru Yoga!

Here's another glimpse from Sunday's performance by the Khan Bogd Ensemble. As promised, here's a link to the whole set of photos:

http://www.sonam.phanfare.com/album/37991 Posted by Picasa

Well...shooting stunning Monglian performances one day and hauling old insulation and debris the next. The life of a Stupa dude(t) is never predictable...Norbu worked on demolishing the interior of one room of the trailer yesterday (a holiday for some, not for me!) with James, while Beth and Lisa drove the contents to the dump.

So, today Norbu and I pulled up the truck and started hauling this nasty stuff.

We're feeling that hint of spring in the air...we know what that means! Lot's to do! Posted by Picasa

Just to show us Stupa folks aren't without a sense of humor! : ) Norbu found this sign when working on the demo on Sunday and left it for inspiration! Our projects are getting varied, with trailer demos and now Purple Martin Houses to erect (anyone out there know about attracting these birds?). In addition to that stuff, we've got high Lamas from Mongolia coming this weekend! Whew....but don't worry. We have plenty of room out here in Poolesville for you to be alone with your thoughts if you prefer. We have Stupas nestled deep in our wooded land, or right next to the parking lot, whatever your mood or need there's someplace here for you. So please do come by and see us in person some time! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, February 19, 2006

February 19th...Transitions...

Today the temple hosted a Mongolian Ensemble of performers, who offered us a chance to share the traditional song and dance bringing in the new year. Tonight my post is short as I must work in the morning, but I'll post a link to a full set of photos from this amazing event tomorrow (once I've actually uploaded them!). For now, I'll share a few just to give you an idea... Posted by Picasa

The musician uses his throat, indeed, his entire airway as an instrument. If you've never heard this form of singing, it's hard to describe. But they use their voices to mimick their environment, the wind, the rivers.  Posted by Picasa

The event included a shaman dance with song...don't have the audio to upload, but I'll see if I can get some video one day soon!

We'll be hosting some more Mongolian guests next week, including a high Lama! I'm a poor reporter for these events, as I am pretty ignorant about the whole culture. But you can follow the link on this page "An American Monk in Mongolia" to go to Konchog Norbu's blog, our resident monk who has actually spent time in Mongolia, and has been the resource arranging all these wonderful opportunities! Please do try and come out next weekend! It promises to be a rare opportunity to be in the same room with some people who have changed the world.

Finally, whether you are interested in Asian culture or not, the Stupas and temple are here for you 24 hours a day. We're praying around the clock every minute of every day to end suffering for all beings. Our doors are open, and the Stupa is illuminated all night long, and all day, so you will always have a place to go to find peace...
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, February 18, 2006

February 18th...Offerings...

I attended an astrology workshop today, led by Eleanor Kibric. While I hung out indoors and listened to discussions about Saturn and houses and transits (still need a translator), Philip accomplished something that's been on our list for months...an altar for the Enlightenment Stupa! You can see from this photos, taken after the workshop (when I realized he not only worked on it today, but FINISHED IT!). You can see it is subtle enough not to distract from the Stupa, but large enough to accommodate many offerings... Posted by Picasa

Here's a closer look. Thanks so much Philip!! The weather was wicked chilly today, around 30 degrees, not an easy day for this. Philip carried on, building the entire thing by himself! Finally, the offerings can be placed in an appropriate place. Of course, you don't have to make offerings to enjoy the blessings of the Stupa. It is here for you always, ready to offer it's peace, healing and spiritual strength. So please do come out to Poolesville when you can! Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

February 14th...Perception

Looking at the day ahead it is clear I won't have time tonight to update, so I'll get to it now. : )

All the activity of recent weeks has left me with some mundane errands to run, and then I'll be hooking up with James this afternoon to see if we can get in a dump run. I'll give you a view of what we accomplish on another day, but today I've decided to continue with my integration experiment, giving you all a chance to view video from this blog. I'm going to post a link:

VideoPosted by Picasa

And in theory, you should be able to click on it and see a short video from our trip to New York when we received some traditional instruction on statue filling. In this clip Khenpo Norgye discusses why statues and Stupas are important in our practice.

We're continuing to press on with our statue work, and are in the process of developing a better process so we don't end up with so many waiting for so long to be filled.

For now though, I'll leave you with the usual invitation to come on out to Poolesville, Maryland if you can, and check out all the amazing blessings waiting here for you! The Stupas, temple, prayer vigil, all of it are offered to all beings, regardless of your beliefs or practices, and are open to you 24 hours a day, every day. Please do come check us out if you're in the D.C. Metro Area!

February 13th...Patience...

I started the day pulling on my snow boots and gathering the dogs for a trip out to photograph the Stupas in the snow. I worked during the best part of the storm yesterday, but wanted to offer you at least some of the beauty of this season. So here you go! This trip was cut short, however, as my father is in the hospital once again, and I needed to go see him... Posted by Picasa

After visiting my Dad in the hospital, I made my way back to the temple for the evening tsog. It's a ceremony where we make food offerings, but by the time they're really offered the prayers have transformed them into wisdom nectar.

In any case, we offer this practice at the temple twice a day. We offer it for the benefit of all suffering beings, but we also read aloud the names of anyone who has been entered in our prayer book (you can request prayers online at our website too! See the link to KPC Maryland on this page.). So I kept Dad in my prayers as we practiced... Posted by Picasa

Here's a glance at the offering plates for the audience (first plates are always offered to the Guru and Teacher)... Posted by Picasa