Wednesday, April 25, 2012

More With the Monks

I took Tom to see the Buddhist monks yesterday for him to have a pulse reading, and then we stayed for afternoon prayers. Tom was a little hesitant to stay for afternoon prayers (fear of the unknown?) but told me as we left that he enjoyed it and was glad that we stayed.

The monks had just finished the sand mandala, and were packing away their containers of colored sand when a seven or eight year old boy walked right across the outside edge of the mandala.

He just wasn't looking down at where his feet were walking - he was looking straight ahead. The room let out a collective gasp, but then the monks just laughed and brushed it off and brought out the colored sand to do a quick repair job.

And this is how the mandala looked this morning when I arrived for morning prayers:

I'm not sure if you can see it in these photos, but there is amazing detail in the little piles of sand used to construct the mandala.

I've decided that I will go to the ceremony on Saturday where they destroy the mandala and carry the sand down to the river. Someone told me that it's sort of like a funeral, and not that I enjoy funerals, but I would like to see the ceremony.

I took some more photos of the main gallery at the Cultural Center this morning, too.

This is the main altar set up with the sand mandala in front of it. The mandala was flat on the ground before it was finished yesterday, and then they placed it on a sturdy table.

These are some of the Thangka paintings that have been hung in the Cultural Center. A Thankgka painting is a Tibetan silk painting done with embroidery, usually picturing a Buddhist deity, scene or mandala. I've seen them before in the collections at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and they always move me. I might not always understand exactly what's being depicted (the same as I don't understand exactly what's being said during prayers), but I am moved by the work and the colors and the textures that I see.

Last, but not least, we brought a deity home with us last night, too.

Ganesha has always been a favorite deity of mine. A sort of balance-keeper in the universe, he places obstacles where they are needed and removes them when they are a hindrance. To me, he is a reminder that I should keep a steady pace - not too fast, not too slow. We found this one in the Tibetan Asian shop on Margaret Street in downtown Plattsburgh while we waited for afternoon prayers to start.

Tomorrow morning will be the last morning that I can attend prayers and meditation with the monks before they leave, so I am looking forward to it very much. It's been worth the early rising and crazy cost of gas to get to and from Plattsburgh every day. Being able to sit so near these monks and listen to them brings me much-needed calm and inspiration. When I think about their lives, I think more about my own and it reminds me to bring good intentions to all of my actions.

To be continued...

1 comment:

Courtney said...

Looks wonderful. I have also seen the monks create and it is amazing!