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Cultural baggage

(To whom it may concern:)

So you took this ancient Buddhist tradition, and made it accessible by stripping out the cultural baggage, throwing away the encrustation of mystical, oriental trappings. Well done!

And now you present to us its pure and beating heart, its true essence, free from those trappings, beating in the middle of a fresh, clean, white plate. How kind!

You what? It stopped beating? Do what?

New Lhakhang

Once upon a time, centuries ago, it was an animal pen. It has also been a cellar, and more recently a bedroom. Now it is a lhakhang. A close translation for this would be “god-house”, so possible English equivalents would be shrine room, chapel or oratory. In any event, it’s the place where you have your most meaningful images, make offerings, do your daily chance and perform some of your meditation practice.

It is almost as quiet as the grave, although I do sometimes hear the neighbour going past up and down to his chicken shed. It is isolated enough to use some traditional “musical” instruments without disturbing the neighbourhood or attracting too much of the wrong kind of attention.

It is, of course, the same idea as the little quiet corner of the bedroom that we might have reserved for meditation practice, but it is a wonderful thing to have.

New lhakhang (outside)
New lhakhang (outside)
New lhakhang (clean inside)
New lhakhang (clean inside)
New lhakhang (not far from ready - 1)
New lhakhang (not far from ready – 1)
New lhakhang (not far from ready - 2)
New lhakhang (not far from ready – 2)

Karmapa now allowed to visit Sikkim

Rumtek Monastery

HH Karmapa XVII is now at last going to be able to visit Sikkim, though not Rumtek. The problem will not be over until he is allowed to go there, but if he can at least see his followers in Sikkim a lot of people will be very happy.

17th Karmapa
17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje

Read about it here, though they all say much the same:

The Statesman: https://www.thestatesman.com/cities/mla … 14179.html

News18: https://www.news18.com/news/india/karma … 03391.html

Tribune India: http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himach … 66296.html

Phayul: http://www.phayul.com/news/article.aspx?id=40306&t=1

Tibet Sun: https://www.tibetsun.com/news/2018/04/0 … sit-sikkim

The Northeast Today: https://thenortheasttoday.com/india-fin … ot-rumtek/

Disease is karmic – or not?

Jamgon Kongtrul

I’ve touched on this before, but just came across Jamgon Kongtrul’s list of four main types of disease:

  1. Imaginary, like demonic posession
  2. Suddenly occurring diseases (no long run-up)
  3. Serious diseases that shorten life
  4. Diseases dependent on past actions

Once again, karma is seen as one possible cause of disease, but there are plenty of other reasons for getting sick.

(See Jamgon Kongtrul’s “Treasury of Knowledge”, Book 6 Parts 1 & 2, p. 328

Happy Losar

Happy Losar 2018

Happy Losar (new year) of the Earth Dog, Feb 16 2018, to everyone near and far. (That’s in the three times and the ten directions, so to speak.)

I’m late with this! I just didn’t get time yesterday – sorry. But I did get round to tidying up the shrine. I’ve been polishing up some of the metalwork for the last week or two. And seeing as how new year has a “new start” feel about it, I did also manage to get round to some extra refuge and bodhisattva vow practice. So not all was lost!

Tidy shrine losar 2018
Tidy shrine losar 2018

Best wishes and hopes to everyone. Let’s have a good year!

Baudha stupa from the air

I came across this astonishing shot. Perhaps taken from a drone? I don’t know. The picture has been shared around, so I don’t know who may own it. (Contact me if you think it’s you!)

Baudha stupa at night from almost directly above
Baudha stupa at night from almost directly above