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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