Monday, August 24, 2009

One Thing Leads to Another

Well, we all know how one thing leads to another. And, we all know there are certain matters that transcend the on again off again nature of human affairs.

The stupa in the above photograph is a case in point.

In one way, it was a gift from somebody -- a true friend actually -- with whom I don't always see eye to eye; however, about some things that doesn't necessarily matter.

In another, much more important way, it wasn't a gift to or from anybody. Some things are as they are, and don't need a lot of tinkering, or fiddling with the dials.

People are at liberty to bicker, tinker, or fiddle all they want, but there are some occasions when enough is enough and serious thinking needs to get done. Stupas are inexpressibly sublime and powerful representations of the Buddha's mind, and sometimes, to remove the obstacles to their appearance takes a lot of mopping, sweating, sweeping, and clearing away of the stage scenery.

Maybe everybody can see eye to eye on that.

When this stupa arrived, it immediately changed the weather patterns, and those changes have been continual and profound. Snow of this magnitude, in the context of where this stupa is placed, is highly unusual. I can also say that many, many personal obstacles, such as health and so forth, began to resolve.

Now, people can stand around waiting to grin, and take credit, and produce charts and graphs, and congratulate each other, or people can stay busy. You cannot break your arm patting yourself on the back every time you do something commonplace, like wash off a statue, or keep heathen regions safe for western democracy. In that regard, I have enormous respect for Tarthang Rinpoche's students, who have built an incredible mandala, yet left it unsigned. You might want to stop and think about that for just a minute.

Usually, when people discuss projects of this nature, they say, "Oh, well, we have this yet to do, and that left to do," but I do not see it like that. These things are not a series of obstacles to be overcome or challenges to be met. These things are a series of opportunities for relaxing into what is already there.

The stupa harmonizes with the natural stupas that are present everywhere in its immediate environment. It is on a line with the one pictured above. I have had experts out there and they tell me that the site is ideal.

As site sweeping continues, the mandala walls go up, and new stupas arrive. The crates in the foreground, at left, contain the first three of the eight types that have already been made. You can see components of one sitting on the middle crate.

I would like to briefly explain something interesting about these eight. They have all been manufactured in their entirety on correspondingly auspicious "ten million" days. For example: the three crates above contain enlightenment, stacked lotus, and parinirvana stupas, respectively. These were manufactured on Saga Dawa Duchen. The others were manufactured on their corresponding "ten million days," as well.

The mandala walls around twilight. I can't comment on the various ways that people like to spend their time and energy. I can only say that this is how I enjoy to spend mine.

Now, I cannot drag all of these things along with me to the grave. Nobody can. These things are devoid of personality, so to speak, and operate to larger purpose than that of individual human beings, no matter who those human beings might or might not be.

I think I want to emphasize that, in case anybody misses it: these are not "gifts" that we "give." These are not "things" that we "do." These are the continuous display of Buddha's mind, in which our "role," if we may be said to have a role, is that of stewards at best and joyous witness at least.

Oh, well...

We have already got a consecration ceremony laid on, starring the obligatory world-famous lama about whom everybody can agree, and another little surprise ceremony that I expect will pretty much answer all questions. On that day, the "Uh Oh!" line will form on the left, and crow will be served along with the tsog. In the meantime, I don't see any reason to rush things.

Above: Stupa factory in full swing.

Got a whole lot of rope left to give out, and a whole lot more broncos.

In addition to the nine stupas already discussed, we have one hundred and eight (108) more enlightenment stupas in various stages of manufacture, warehousing, transportation, and delivery status. We also have a really heavily engineered "surprise" stupa (a type you don't often see) under construction. They are like an armada on the ocean, to the extent that we now must have a full time logistics person.

Naturally, we also have the continuously diverting issue of what goes inside all of these stupas. The "outside stuff" like the site and the stupa are the smallest part. The "inside stuff" just goes on forever. We have got rinpoches from all over the world sending in precious things, and there is not a day goes by that we are not amazed by what comes.

What has been most moving to me has been the response from Tibet itself.

You know, they say that if -- for whatever reason -- a person takes even the smallest, blindest, most hesitant step in the direction of obstructing such activity, the eventual result will be like hitting a tree at 100 mph. Conversely, if you take even the smallest, blindest, most hesitant step in the direction of encouraging such activity, the benefits are so great as to be numberless like stars in the sky.

If you can do neither?

Well, in the military they have a saying: "Either lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way!"

Also, and I think it was Marc Antony said this -- maybe I am wrong -- but it was a quote to the effect that everyday, we meet with obstacles and opposition from people who do not have the same facts we have.

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1 reader comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Rinpoche, Until I saw this I had no idea about the extent of your activity and I just want to say how fortunate I feel that you even take the time to write this blog and share everything.