Monday, May 21, 2007

Some Things May Last a Long Time

Congratulations Lee and Chokey!

Lee and Chokey Rostosky, friends who were married last week. Lee is from Philadelphia, Chokey is from a Tibetan family in Nepal. Congratulations, Tashi Delek Bumsumtsok!

Me with local activist Sakya Suren and the historian/retired politician Bhuwan Lal Pradhan. I have sponsored a translation of Bhuwan Lal Pradhan's history of the Vajravarahi temple in Chapagaon, which we will edit and publish in English this summer, for the sake of the local tourists, volunteer workers and researchers who cannot read Nepali easily (like me!)

Some Tibetan Art:

One of two similar thangkas (Tibetan scroll paintings) that I had commissioned recently from a family of Tibetan artists I know. The central figure is Samantabhadra/Kuntu Sangpo (All Excellent One), who represents the Dharmakaya Buddha, the truth body of the Buddha. The bottom left image is of Vajrasatva/Dorje Sempa (Adamantine One), who represents the Sambhogakaya Buddha, the psycho-cosmic body of the Buddha. The bottom right image is of Padmasambhava/Guru Rinpoche, who represents the Nirmanakaya Buddha, the emanation body of the Buddha that is physically born on earth to help people. All three images are in "playful union," representing the inseparability of wisdom and compassion, or wisdom and method, or emptiness and appearance.

The monk Rabjam Sangpo holding up the veil curtain to the thangka painting. The thangka is typically matted in stylized silk, with a veil to cover it if desired. I usually keep the thangka veiled, since it is esoteric in subject.

There is a beautiful simplicity to the beginning stage of the thangka painting, basic line drawing.

View from the roof of the monastery in Chapagaon of the himalayan mountains to the north, shrouded in clouds.

Burnt Offerings of Various Sorts:

Here Lama Wangdu and the monks and ngagpas (lay Buddhist tantric adepts) are circumambulating the fire where a great variety of various substances were ritually offered to the peaceful and wrathful deities on behalf of the deceased.

Lama Wangdu wearing a black bird hat. I think this has something to do with a death ritual where there were symbolic offerings made of the ego of all present to the birds, but I'm not sure at all on that point, I'd have to do a little research.

A particularly nice burnt offering chimney at the Norling Resort, where Lee and Chokey were married. On many occasions (before rituals, on holy days, at high places like passes, on the roof, etc.) various fragrant herbs and auspicious substances like white flour will be offered to the buddhas, bodhisatvas, protectors and local spirits who either enjoy the flavour or can gain sustanance from the fumes, oftentimes to placate beings who could possibly have malicious intentions.

Lee Rotosky, the groom, offering fragrant herbs (like juniper) to the burnt offering fire.

Some Work, Some Play:

Me on my Royal Enfield Indian Bullet 350cc motorcycle in my suit after Lee and Chokey's wedding.

A few days ago one of the older monks arranged a football (soccer) match against a local team in Chapagaon. We drove about 4 kilometers down to Sunakothi town, where there was this fantastic field (large flat open spaces with grass are quite rare in Kathmandu), with a beautiful panorama of the Kathmandu Valley rim mountains. I played sweeper, because in Nepal I am the huge guy with the strong kick, compared to the skinny short Nepalis. It was fun, we tied 2-2.

Cute Monk Photo of the Week:


Dan Tierney Smith said...

on the bike you look like uncle jimmy

Buddha said...

Nepal is really a great to travelling on a bike...