Saturday, February 15, 2014
Today is the closing ceremony for the Sacred Arts Tour and the Peace Sand Mandala. It is exquisite. I hope that some of you will be able to come and see it. Breathtaking work! The monks worked all day on it yesterday and will finish it early this morning. It has been a formidable challenge to get this mandala constructed. Icy roads forced everyone to stay home for two days, yesterday the ceiling at the Artscenter started to leak and the mandala had to be moved several times, it seemed that one thing after another came up, every day plans changed, we stayed fluid and accepting of the circumstances we could not prevent.
This morning I learned to make Tsampa. This is a staple of the Tibetan diet. Traditional tsampa would be made with yak butter and yak butter tea, don't happen to have that so we settled for some smart balance butter substitute and PJ Tips black tea. Basically you melt the butter into a cup of tea, add barley flour and mix until you have a ball of dough. Add some sugar and it is a sweet bread like food. You pinch off small balls of it and enjoy. It was very tasty. When I was a kid, I would pinch off a piece of bread, roll it into a little ball and eat it, this tastes very much the same. A filling breakfast food, I think it would be great for camping!
Yesterday I gave my kids little boxes of Valentines candy. I am slowly moving away from the commercial gift giving holidays, I get so annoyed, today if I went into Walmart there is a good chance I would see the employees putting out the Easter candy next to the Valentines clearance table. We are being drowned in candy holidays and I'm growing tired of it all. But it was fun to explain why we do this to two monks, and so we had a Valentines Day with them.
Tashi's uncle sent him a Samsung phone yesterday. It was more like Christmas around here than Valentines. For two days Tashi has said, "I get Samsung, Samsung very good." Last night as soon as he got home, he pulled it out and said, "Samsung!". I wish I could show you how excited he was to get a phone. All of the monks communicate with their phones, it cracks me up to see three or four of them sitting around together, all with their smart phones. Wesley and Jamphel are texting constantly now and that is how we are staying in touch when we need to pick them up or find out what the schedule is. Wes has a Tibetan dictionary on her phone now and can easily translate.
Yesterday I looked out and Gerry had walked around and spelled out goodbye outside the bedrooms the monks are sleeping in....... awww.......... they saw it first thing this morning.
Today we start the process of deconstruction. Deconstruction of the mandala and of the way we have been living for the past two weeks. I told them this morning we would not say goodbye, only say until we see you again. This is the Buddhist way, impermanence, letting go.....
Last night I felt the detachment beginning. I sensed a pulling away, as it should be, it felt right. They did not spend the evening with us watching the Olympics. Tashi took his phone to his room and played with it, Gerry and Jamphel moved photos to Jamphel's hard drive, Wesley wrote, I watched the Olympics sometimes alone, sometimes with someone briefly. Today we go to the ceremony, then the monks are making momos for us, we will all sit down for one last meal together, and then in the morning the van comes for them and they leave for Richmond Va and then other stops along the tour.
One stop is huge. Our monks will offer the opening invocation at the benefit concert for Tibet House at Carnegie Hall. They have no idea how big this is. Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, The National, and many others will be performing and my cho chos (sons) will offer the opening prayers. So proud!
If the tour comes anywhere near you, please go and support the Drepung Gomang Monastery and say hello to my boys!!!