Monks give, receive blessings, farewells

With spiritual blessings for Hood River, the Gorge and the entire world, six Tibetan monks brought the beauty of sand mandala art to Hood River’s library this last week.

With earthy and eerie horns sounding and the low vibrations of throat singing, the monk’s visit was brought to a close in a dissolution ceremony on Saturday.

“This is how the monks offer prayers to God and make this a sacred ceremony,” said Tenzin Sherab, a Tibetan microchip process technician from Gresham who is serving as the monks’ interpreter.

According to Sherab, at the closing ceremony, the painstakingly intricate but ephemeral mandala is first broken and then whisked away into an undifferentiated swirl, symbolizing the impermanence of this world. The ceremony hopes to remind us all that a focus on compassion and peace creation are the path to enlightenment.

Hundreds of visitors from the Gorge dropped in to experience the “mindfulness” practices and teachings of the monks, who now live in exile from their Tibetan homeland, in southern India.

On Saturday some visitors received a gift from the Buddhist followers — half of the sand (which had been laid out grain by grain) in the vibrant mandala symbol, was given to those present at the ceremony to share blessings for a more peaceful world.

The other portion of the sand from the monks’ 40 hours of art work was hand-carried to Husum Falls and scattered into the White Salmon River, returning the sand to the earth and simultaneously offering a blessing for the restoration of the river to its natural state.

For those unfamiliar with Tibetan Buddhism, the faithful within this religion follow the guidance of H.H. The XIVth Dalai Lama.

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Following is an excerpted teaching of the current Dalai Lama:

“Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to have woken up, I am alive. I have a precious human life. I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others, to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others. I am not going to get angry, or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.”

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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