Friday, November 25, 2011

Sands of Time

Much has happened in the last week.  My husband's company shut their doors for good last Friday, and he joined the ranks of Americans struggling to find work and security in these turbulent times.  But, as the universe is wont to do, it sent some monks my way to help me keep perspective.  The Gaden Jangtse Tibetan monks are traveling throughout the country for a year, building medicine sand mandalas and educating us about the ongoing plight of Tibetans who are denied religious freedom in Tibet.

So the monks came to our church and seven of them spent a week building the mandala.  They used small brass tubes and amazing technique which takes 6 years to learn.  We joined them mid-week and Luke pronounced the whole process "awe-inspiring."  Indeed.  On Sunday, they joined our service and it was quite fun to watch our minister metaphysically arm wrestle with the lama for control of the service.  I learned that lamas are pretty good at metaphysical arm wrestling.  At the end of the service, the lama blessed both of my children.  What a gift.

That afternoon, there was a formal ceremony where the monks undo all that they have done in the previous week.  The chanting and music was beautiful, and we all left with some of the sand.  It is quite auspicious for your next life to have the sand placed on your corpse.  I'm in.  Several of my non-Buddhist friends have asked about the meaning of the ceremony...why sweep away such beauty?

The first noble truth of Buddhist theology is that life is suffering....we can't escape it.  Suffering is caused by attachment.  Attachment to a job or a way of life.  It will change and end and you must flow with those changes.  Be in the moment but don't cling to what was.  Scott came over mid-week and watched the mandala being created.  He also joined us for the ending ceremony.  He and his coworkers were doing good work, building solar panels and trying to move the world closer to renewable energy as a viable energy alternative.  It is a great sadness to see that work swept away.  But just as the monks travel on to a new city and create new energy and patterns, so will the engineers/technicians of Evergreen Solar.  Here is to the journey:)

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful way to put everything into perspective.