Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Saturday, June 4, 2011
Recently Lama Yeshe gave a talk about the items in the sanctuary. She described leaving ‘the dust of the world’ behind as we take off our shoes and enter the temple through the outside red doors.
In entering the sanctuary, Yeshe pointed out that the doors can never make noise as people come and go. These doors were created by Dougal Haines of Terrebonne, Oregon. People prepare their minds upon entering, often looking towards the Buddha and bowing. At the same time, participants enter the space of their own hearts to find a calming, "not ordinary" presence.
A bell rings to announce the arrival of the teachers. As the Lamas enter the room, those who wish to will stand and hold hands together in a sign of respect. Only when the teachers are seated does everyone sit. There is a relaxed environment of mindfulness, as thousands of years of blessing, intentions and aspirations join together. Recalling the Buddha, we also recall our own Buddha potential. Everything in the room is designed to help us focus our heart and minds.
First seen is usually the image of the Buddha in the front of the room . We remember that thousands have made the same journey that the Buddha made. Each of us has the seeds of awakening inside.
Small windows look out to the hills and there is a view of the wetlands, bringing restful reflections of nature inside. The lighting is effective and calming.
The ceiling has red beams separating sections of beech wood . The red dolor is a prevalent theme in Tibetan sacred architecture, and is seen again in the four decorative pillars, which represent the large structural pillars common to shrine rooms in Tibet.
The altar contains representations of the three jewels (Buddha, Dharma and Sangha) and three roots (Lamas, Yidams and Dharma Protectors) of our refuge. One example of these aspects of refuge is the statue of the Buddha on the top area of the shrine. He sits in an immovable triangular posture, metaphorically seated on a lotus flower. Using that as our example, we are reminded of how our body can support our mind in sitting quietly.
The right hand of the Buddha touches the earth. On the night of his enlightenment, the Buddha's serenity invited animals to surround him. The entire planet resonated to indicate his achievement of realization and the limitless quiet mind he had developed. We are reminded in that gesture, that the whole earth is our support for the quest toward realization and limitless quiet mind.
The dungchen (Tibetan: དུང་ཆེན།dung chen) is a long trumpet or horn used in Tibetan Buddhist ceremonies. It is the most widely used instrument in Tibetan Buddhist culture. It is often played in pairs or multiples, and the sound is compared to the singing of elephants.The silnyen is a Tibetan percussion instrument in the form of a cymbal with a small or no central boss. The silnyen is struck by horizontal movement and is used in Buddhist rites.
The rolmo is a horizontal ritual cymbal used by Tibetan monks in Buddhist rites. It has a broad central boss and is struck vertically, in contrast to the Silnyen.
Monday, December 13, 2010
of bronze with gold leaf.
Ted Sundin organized the fund raiser for this project.
Eventually a special platform will be built
for them in the front of the room.
The largest statue is of Sukhasiddhi, who arrived at Buddhism late in life. She lived as an impoverished housewife and mother of six children until the age of fifty-nine. She was thrown out of her home by her husband and children, who were irate at what they considered her misplaced generosity to a stranger who came begging at their door. She wandered westward to Oddiyana (Swat Valley in modern Pakistan), where she acquired a measure of grain, with which she made alcohol. Her business proved a modest success, and she allowed herself to again be generous, this time to a female adept. Sukhasiddhi's gift of free alcohol intrigued the adept, Virupa, who asked whether his surprising benefactor wanted to receive Buddhist teaching. She did
Upon receiving empowerment and instruction from Virupa, Sukhasiddhi, then a sixty-one-year-old, attained full enlightenment that very evening. Like Niguma, her body became rainbowlike. Niguma is remembered as a wrathful, dark-brown woman who wore bone ornaments, whereas Sukhasiddhi is portrayed as a peaceful, light-skinned sixteen-year-old.
Sukhasiddhi is one of two women teachers credited with providing founding teachings for the Tibetan Buddhist Kagyu lineage. She is known as a ‘wisdom dakini’, and is still considered exceptionally kind, empowering and aiding any who call upon her as part of their spiritual journey.
Origins of Tara According to Buddhist tradition, Tara was born out of the tears of compassion of the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. It is said that he wept as he looked upon the world of suffering beings, and his tears formed a lake in which a lotus sprung up. When the lotus opened, the goddess Tara was revealed. White Tara displays serenity and grace. Together, the Green and White Taras symbolize the unending compassion of the goddess who labors day and night to relieve suffering.
Green Tara, above,
with her half-open lotus, represents the night, and White Tara, with her lotus in full bloom, symbolizes the day. Green Tara embodies virtuous activity while White Tara displays serenity and grace. Together, the Green and White Taras symbolize the unending compassion of the goddess who labors day and night to relieve suffering.
In Buddhist religious practice, Green Tara's primary role is savioress. She is believed to help her followers overcome dangers, fears and anxieties, and she is especially worshipped for her ability to overcome the most difficult of situations. Green Tara is intensely compassionate and acts quickly to help those who call upon her.
White Tara (Sanskrit: Sitatara; Tibetan: Sgrol-dkar), above, is sometimes called the Mother of all Buddhas and she represents the motherly aspect of compassion. Her white color signifies purity, wisdom and truth.
In iconography, White Tara often has seven eyes – in addition to the usual two, she has a third eye on her forehead and one on each of her hands and feet. This symbolizes her vigilance and ability to see all the suffering in the world. The "Tara of Seven Eyes" is the form of the goddess especially popular in Mongolia.
White Tara wears silk robes and scarves that leave her slender torso and rounded breasts uncovered in the manner of ancient India. Like Green Tara, she is richly adorned with jewels.
White Tara is seated in the diamond lotus position, with the soles of her feet pointed upward. Her posture is one of grace and calm. Her right hand makes the boon-granting gesture and her left hand is in the protective mudra. In her left hand, White Tara holds an elaborate lotus flower that contains three blooms. The first is in seed and represents the past Buddha Kashyapa; the second is in full bloom and symbolizes the present Buddha Shakyamuni; the third is ready to bloom and signifies the future Buddha Maitreya. These three blooms symbolize that Tara is the essence of the three Buddhas.
In religious practice, White Tara is believed to help her followers overcome obstacles, especially those that inhibit the practice of religion. She is also associated with longevity.
FIRST ANNUAL BODHISATTVA NIGHT was last night.
This was an event put together by the children. A Bodhisattva is one who vows never to abandon another sentient being and aspires to bring about the benefit of others above even his or her own. One aim was to help children and others see that the Bodhisattva ideal is in some way present in most of the world's religious traditions and is a key method in our own tradition for overcoming the causes of suffering. The children explored this theme through story telling.
There are grand, mythical, larger-than-life (even canonized) Bodhisattvas, and there are ordinary folks like us, moving along in that direction as best as we can --and everything in between.
The Middle Way Youth Group asked for donations of canned goods for the emergency food shelter.
In the photo above the children are singing with Lama Yeshe and Lama Pema.