Sunday, October 29, 2006

October 30th....Aspirations and Intention...

Take one last look at that bare concrete base! Construction will begin on the retaining wall tomorrow! Posted by Picasa

We worked on trying to turn another of the small Stupas in the gardens. Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful (don't fret, we'll keep at it until we get it done!). One bolt was extracted by cutting a new slot in it, but the same technique didn't work on the others...too rusted so the heads fell apart. For now, with the sun setting even earlier, we decided to regroup later, hoping for some insight to arise that might help us get this done more easily.

Tomorrow is the big day though, so please do come out and visit the Stupa if you can! Weather looks to be sunny and pleasant for a fall day, great day for a walk to the Stupa! You can check out Brook Lee and his crew as they begin the long awaited wall! We won't be around to take photos (but we've begged everyone else we could think of to for us), but will try to keep you updated as it progresses! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 26, 2006

October 26th....Getting Closer

You may recall that a few weeks ago we resumed our hunt for options in constructing a wall around Migyur Dorje. This is a shot I took at Standard Supply in Gaithersburg. I had a long conversation with Kurt there, who was very attentive to the needs of this project (pretty awesome considering how odd and small it is).

After weeks of discussion, painful calculations for Ani Yeshi and I, we called to ask Kurt if he had any advice to offer. He brought out a contractor/supplier to help us get a firmer estimate, and what do you know! The contractor and Kurt (we weren't present for their exploration of the Stupa alas) examined our situation and determined it best if they build the wall for us. Brook Lee, the contractor, has offered to build the wall for us for just a bit more than it would have cost to buy materials! He's ready to start work on Monday!

All along I'd harbored secret hopes we could get the wall up in time for the upcoming elections, so perhaps the tides of war and greed might be subdued by compassion and solid moral conduct. Now, it seems, it may actually happen! If you'd like to participate in this amazing opportunity to help complete the wall, we need $3300 by the middle of next week! Yikes! But we can't put this's been over 10 years since we were first informed of the need to do this, and we've finally found a solution that will get the job done, and that we can reasonably hope to afford. If you'd like to contribute, please use the donate button on this page, and make sure you put a comment at the bottom of your paypal page indicating what it's for. If you'd like to help backfill the earth around the Stupa once the wall is up, we'll let you know when that starts right here! Posted by Picasa

The wall won't be super attractive. We've received instructions from our teacher however, as to how to make it beautiful once the wall is up. She wants it covered with amethyst and rose quartz! Whew! We're looking forward to figuring that out, but right now our focus is getting through the construction of the wall. Keep it in your prayers, obstacles can happen!

Of course, there's no need to wait for the wall to be there to enjoy the blessings of this amazing structure. Stupas benefit all who see them, whether they know what they are or not. So please do come out and enjoy the fall weather! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 22, 2006

October 22, 2006 Orientation

We usually end our days by going around the stupa while making wishing prayers. Today, our new cinematographer, Ashley, captured this event on video. Click the link below for a virtual circumambulation!

click here

Photos today courtesy of Ashley Banana, our newest stupa team photographer...most of you probably already know Norbu Tashi. Posted by Picasa

It was brought to our attention that the small stupas in the gardens were not all facing East. Our project for the day was to assess the situation and figure out how to rotate them to the correct direction. Posted by Picasa

And it didnt take long to encounter our first obstacle, but luckily we had the old grinder blade in the back of the truck. Posted by Picasa

We changed the grinder blade and went back to work. Posted by Picasa

My confident teammate watches from afar... Posted by Picasa

Uh oh... Posted by Picasa

The trusty stupa truck... Posted by Picasa

As you can see, Ani Yeshi finally gets to pick a photo that goes on the blog... Posted by Picasa

Clearly we are not able to move the stupa on our own... Posted by Picasa

With Steve's help, we unbolted the feet of the pagoda and turned the stupa to face East. As you can see from the photos, fall has is a great time to come out and walk the trails to see the stupas or just enjoy the land. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 01, 2006

October 1, 2006....Compassion in Action...

Today we took a break from Stupa work to attend a public introduction by the Garuda Aviary team (seen here are Rigzin, full time caretaker of the birds, and Ani Pema, a veteranarian who has devoted her life and career to serving the needs of the animals adopted by the Taras Babies Animal Rescue program). We were introduced to two of the 30+ birds currently being cared for in the aviary. They explained it much better than I could, so I won't attempt to describe their mission in detail, other than to say they're committed to caring for birds who have been abandoned by their owners, and many of whom were severely neglected or abused. The aviary was recently relocated to Poolesville here, from Arizona, in order to be closer to "home base" for the temple. They had been residing in a garage converted to an aviary, and the goal here is create an aviary for them specifically designed to meet their unique needs. You can find out more about them at their website: by Picasa

This is Chico, pulled from an attic in New Orleans last year nearly starved to death. Now he's chubby and happy, living in the loving care of one of the nuns that went to New Orleans to help rescue dogs abandoned after the hurricaine. He is one of 130 dogs our organization took care of, finding either their owners or homes for all but 10 of them. Those 10, who were ferrel and totally inappropriate for adoption, are currently being rehabilitated in Dakini Valley, Arizona. An emergency operation had been set up there to care for the dogs coming out of New Orleans, and the committment was to see every single one returned to a state of security and safety, in a loving environment.  Posted by Picasa

You can see there was quite a turn out for the talk. Rigzin conveyed many stories about the birds, revealing their personalities and the unique challenges associated with caring for creatures whose lifespans often exceed those of their caretakers.

The Garuda Aviary is one branch of Taras Babies, an animal rescue organization started by members of our temple in response to hurricane Katrina. Once the majority of the rescue dogs were placed, the reality that many beings are out there suffering all the time. Work has begun to transition the facilities erected in an emergency into structures that can not only serve the needs of beings over the long haul, but can grow to embrace even more beings! This is one tangible way the principle of compassion we've been taught has been put into practice. I'm a poor spokesperson for these amazing folks, as they work day and night to support the animals---literally. Our own task of keeping up the Stupas is more forgiving, as these folks have beings who rely on them totally every day for ongoing care and in many cases, rehabilitation. If you'd like to learn more about it you can visit their website and see all the plans they are attempting to implement to create a permanent refuge out of the temporary shelter started for the Katrina dogs.

If you're a Stupa fan, the Stupas benefit animals tremendously. Animals have few opportunities to accumulate the causes for spiritual awakening (since they don't really have a way to learn the principles), but merely seeing a Stupa, or having the great good fortune to walk clockwise around it (even if by accident) plants the seed of Buddhahood in their minds! Of course, that goes for people too! You don't have to be Buddhist to enjoy the blessings of the Stupas, or to join in our efforts to bring peace and comfort to beings of all species! Posted by Picasa