Sunday, August 27, 2006
Okay, okay...I was scolded today for not updating this blog. I apologize. The past week or so has been consumed with what seemed an impossible task....finishing the Stupa Renovation! Yikes! Every single spare moment was devoted to this request (from our Spiritual Director) and with the timely assistance of Kay here (she spent an entire day out there with us) and Chris from Alexandria (I wasn't around the afternoon he came out to get any photos of him) we did get it done!
Though we ended up working LONG hours, we're talking sunrise to sunset for several days, Ani Yeshi and I both loved every minute of it. Heat, insects, no matter. It was amazing to be able to bring this artwork back to life. For myself, it was the discovery of a new interest...the focus and patience of painting with tiny brushes was surprisingly enjoyable. For Ani Yeshi, it was a chance to put her training to sacred use!
You can't see it up close, but trust that we did indeed finish all the detail work on the relief! Whew! It was a huge challenge, and forced this ani to tap into ancient hobbies (I use to draw a lot as a youngster), but we were indeed able to restore Migyur Dorje completely in time for the visit! After these photos were taken Holly, our diligent gardener, finished the whole Stupa off by replanting around it and Ashby set up an altar in front of it (offerings were being left on the step of the Stupa, which damages the paint and is actually not the ideal, either from the practical view of maintenance or the spiritual view of practice---but if there's no altar go ahead and make offerings where you can!).
This brocade was the last hurdle. I can honestly say it has motivated both Ani Yeshi and myself to possibly take sewing lessons. The way it worked was we had NO time to get the pattern to anyone, it was a measure -cut-place all in one day, part of a day actually (since we were wrapping up Migyur Dorje as well). Thanks to contact cement and an old fashioned needle and thread we were able to get a passable drape for Amitayus, but we already have plans on how to create a more fitted solution.
The rest of the week was occupied with the visit from His Holiness Penor Rinpoche! A rare opportunity to receive teaching and empowerment from the supreme head of our Palyul Lineage. I apologize to those of you who check in to the site, but I left my camera in it's bag for the events. In this kind of situation my role as an ani (nun) takes over and I focus on the teachings and practices.
I'll be back to give you all a look at the now completed Stupas this week though! As always, it is our sincere hope that you will come out and visit the Stupas and temple for yourselves! Our Spiritual Director, Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo has returned to her residence in Maryland, so many activities are in the works. It was her vision and aspirations that were the foundation for the temple and Stupas, which are open to all beings, all species in fact. So you are always welcome. And of course, the Stupas offer their benefits to all, whether you know anything about them or not. Though the "renovation" has now technically been completed, it is clear to us Stupa folk that the job will never really be done. So don't fret, you can keep checking in here and we'll keep you in touch with these sacred structures!
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Okay...back from retreat at last. We've been wicked busy, jumping right into preparations for a visit by His Holiness Penor Rinpoche right here in Poolesville! I've quickly uploaded a few photos from the retreat though...so you all can get a glimpse of it. I took very few photos while there actually, focusing instead on practice, but I have some that other sangha members took which I'll share over time. For now, here's a few...
This is Lama Socho (spelling is no doubt wrong), playing with me while I tried to take photos of Lisa before her ordination. He lives at the center in New York all year, and maintains the temple with unrelenting diligence and loving kindness. We were told he goes up there every day without fail, despite snow so bad you can't drive the long road from the houses to the temple, to open the altars and maintain the temple practices. You can see he is playful here, but he is an inspiring role model for us ordained types...
Well, here's how the retreat ended...our bud Lisa took the leap and is now Ani Yeshi Lhamo!! She took the hair cut like a sport, even let me take photos! We're back online finally, though crazy busy preparing for the visit next week by His Holiness Penor Rinpoche!! I'll get images up as I can, but please do come out and see the temple and Stupas for yourself if you can! Any artist types in the D.C. area can contact us as well, since we're working on completing the painting of the relief out at Migyur Dorje by next Wednesday! Alas...the life of a Stupa chick....the luxury of leisurely timelines remains a fantasy...no regrets though. Every effort you see on these pages, from the physical labor to the prayers and committments represented by the robes, it is all devoted to ending the suffering of all beings without exception. The Stupas, and temple, are open to people of all faiths, and the Stupas, out in the open air, are open to all species of beings, offering ceaseless blessings. So come on out and see them for yourself! If you aren't in the area, we'll keep you in touch with them here!