Monday, June 18, 2007
Quick post tonight...we just put a coat of burgundy paint on the lotus petals around the bumpa! We were able to finish the white this weekend...photos of the players to be posted tomorrow. Tonight, however, I wanted to share something very special with all of you.
In the Buddhist tradition the time of death is considered exceptionally potent, a time where our confusion can be transcended and we can accomplish some level of recognition of our true nature.
For most of us, we haven't encountered the teachings or had the opportunity to practice them in order to utilize this opportunity, and instead often find the time of death to be a frightening one.
It is taught the the Buddha Amitabha made fervent prayers before he attained awakening that when he became a Buddha any being who heard his name or saw his face would be reborn in his pure realm where they would dwell with all the supports for awakening until they too became Buddhas.
Prayers to Amitabha are found in most if not all schools of Buddhism as a result. In our own tradition, Vajrayana, the practice of Phowa exists as a way to prepare for one's death.
Our teacher here in Maryland recently recorded a traditional prayer to Amitabha which she wishes to distribute freely to all beings anywhere completely for free. It can be played for any being who is dying, from insects, to animals to people. It can be listened to by beings prior to the time of death, making that connection with Amitabha Buddha. It brings benefit regardless of one's understanding (the words are Tibetan) and it does not change one's faith (you don't become Buddhist because you heard it, so anyone can benefit from it without worrying they might compromise their own faith). Thus, this prayer has many of the same attributes as a Stupa! It benefits regardless of your species, understanding or faith, it is an expression of unconditional generosity, a prayer for your future happiness whoever or whatever you may be.
To download it for free you can follow the link:
Prayer to Amitabha
You can share it with whoever you wish, play it for your pets, play it wherever beings are dying. We've started to play it as we work on the Stupas so any insects inadvertently killed by our activities can be reborn in the realm of Great Bliss.
Know that this is not an "add", no profits are made from this music, it is a gift for all beings who share the fate of one day having to die.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
So we've changed gears for a while. Some generous donors sponsored the paint for the Enlightenment Stupa and our coordinating committee asked that we make that a priority...so for now the throne is awaiting our return while we spruce up our most visible Stupa!
Yesterday we were able to make some headway with the helping hands of some of our sangha members! Here Ani Ariana works on one of the more difficult stretches...the large flat face of the steps...no easy way to paint that!
Ani Palmo worked down below...
Micheal Brunk, a faithful Stupa Painter, stopped by to throw on a few brush strokes on his way to working on the temple gift store....
Anne Middleton, head of Lama Services here at KPC (big job!) also stopped by to take advantage of this meritorious opportunity!
Yeshe Thomasch spent quite some time painting yesterday!
While folks worked on the throne of the Stupa Ani Yeshi and I worked at the spire (on the top). Not a job we could coax anyone else into! We were able to complete it today though! So one set of ladders is down at least!
Here's a look at the system we use to get that spire painted...looks worse than it feels though...and we did use rope and harness up there.
We couldn't finish the painting today because of the threat of rain. The potassium silicate paint we're using (which does not require scraping or sanding prior to new applications!) does require 48 hours to cure. Unlike regular latex paints it doesn't cover the concrete, it bonds to it. So we'll be back out next Saturday weather permitting!
Of course, we'll always have an extra brush if you want to participate! Even one stroke produces great karmic benefits! Even if that doesn't tempt you, we hope you'll come and enjoy the fruits of our labor and take a stroll around a Stupa! Their blessings are boundless, and it doesn't matter if you know what they are or not, or if you even care...the Stupas offer their blessings without conditions or restraint!