Thursday, April 15, 2010

Sand Mandala in Birmingham

I had a difficult time posting yesterday after seeing the news and receiving messages regarding the 6.9 quake on the China/Tibet border. Several hundred have died and thousands reported injured. Scores of buildings, including houses, schools and monasteries, have collapsed or been extremely damaged. It wasn't that news of the quake necessarily affected me on a different level than news of any other quake or community calamity would. But it was another stark reminder of the fragility of lives and our place in the world.

On a personal note, I spent my childhood in southern Florida, no stranger to hurricanes. Several of my later adolescent years were spent in Southern California, accustomed to earthquake drills and the occasional deep Earth rumble in the night, propelling me out of bed to the door frame. My parents later decided to move from one of the most earthquake prone region in the States to the most active volcano region in the States. The reality of potential natural "disasters" has always been in my awareness in these places I lived. While some locations on Earth are simply more geographically hazardous than others, the basic truth is that none of us is immune to things changing drastically in a moment of time.

There is no state I call my "home state," but the state in which I am currently at home is Alabama. I am present in Southern Alabama where I'm guessing tornado warnings are not so infrequent and we experienced our first warning recently. It barely grazed a nearby region but I hovered by the window wondering if I would witness the havoc this phenomenon could wreak.

Today's virtual visit was to the website of a center about 3 hours north of my current location and may likely be the next dharma center I visit in person.

The Losel Maitri Tibetan Buddhist Center in Birmingham Alabama has been spiritually directed by Ven. Tenzin Deshek since 2002. Lama Deshek, who was born in Tibet and studied at Namgyal Monastery in India, has several times shown the spiritual artistry and skill in creating the sand mandala. The following photos are from the Ten Days of Tibet, 2006 photo album on the Losel Maitri website, showing Ven. Tenzin Deshek creating a sand mandala at the McWane Center in downtown Birmingham.

Source: Losel Maitri

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