Friday, March 19, 2010
When he was 17, the not yet Venerable Ngawang Chojor began learning the process of making sand mandalas. Not every kind of sand mandala, I should say, only the peace mandala. He has been creating this mandala ever since. Now quite Venerable (at age 75) he continues his work, carefully sifting sand, almost grain by grain, through a little flute onto a pattern. It takes him about a week to complete one of the size he's making at the Sackler Gallery. When he's finished, he sweeps it up then in a very lovely ceremony pours the sand into a body of water so that peace can be spread through the water all over the world.
He was calm and focused the whole I time I watched. No doubt he's always calm and focused while working. I was in Such A Mood yesterday, struggling with new software. I wondered while I watched, does he get frustrated sometimes? Does he ever ask himself why the hell he is drawing the same design over and over? Does he flop around emotionally? He looked to me as if he had learned the lesson Bill Murray learns in the film Groundhog Day. Move through each day doing good deeds. Wow.
If you're in or around DC this weekend, do NOT miss the opportunity to watch him work. Sunday is the sweeping up ceremony. I'll be working, unfortunately. That is something I would love to see.
On the opposite end of the spectrum of active/calm is the Tibetan shrine downstairs at the Sackler. Wow. It is crackling with energy. The same group of kids who are watching the mandala master in the pic below were downstairs at the shrine while I was there. One kid said, "Are there ghosts or monsters in here?" His teacher laughed at him but I decided this kid should be taken seriously. I said, "I feel it, too. But it feels like kind angels to me, not monsters."
I looked up at the teacher and said, "He can feel the energy." The teacher's eyes glazed over. Oh well.
On the way home I realized I don't have to master Photoshop Elements 8 for the Mac all at once. I can learn it little by little, over time. I was able to take it in, the energy of the kind Tibetan Buddhist angels and the peace of the mandala. Fantastic!