Sunday, January 28, 2007

 

Maui Dharma Center Celebrates Lha Bab Stupa

Today was a very special day. We attended the celebration of the new Maui Dharma Center Lha Bab Stupa in Paia. This memorial stupa in honor of the late Lama Tenzin (the former head of the Dharma Center who passed away in 2001) has been conceived and spearheaded by Georgianna Cook (photographed in white in the following slide show) who worked closely with Lama Tenzin and still sits on the board and manages the Dharma Center.

The Dharma Center gave the public a chance to participate in the ceremonial opening today by asking for items to be contributed to be sealed inside the Stupa-- anything of spiritual, sentimental value...but not anything unclean. As the participants (including us) filed up the stairs, we had to cover our faces with a cloth (which was provided for us) to put over our mouth and nose and another cloth to hold whatever was given to us that had been donated. Our hands could not touch the items we carried up the stairs into the stupa.

Many items had been put on the ceremonial altar, chanted and prayed over. This included thousands of Tsa Tsas--small gold and red relics containing prayers. These tsa tsas had been handmade by members of the Dharma Center over a period of several months. Many precious items had been donated from far and wide-- beside the personal offerings given by the public and handmade by the members.

The dimensions of the Paia Lha Bab Stupa have met the exact Tibetan Stupa requirements. "A Stupa is a symbol of the Wisdom Teachings of all the Buddhas, and represents the Perfect Enlightened Mind." The Paia Stupa "commemorates the Buddha's descent from the God Realm of Tushita and his subsequent return to earth."

We waited our turn in line for over an hour. We had no idea what we would be given to bring up the stairs to put inside the stupa. We left our precious items to be included in the donation basket below. (All of this story is presented in slide presentation at the end of this post.) When it came my turn, I was given a statue of KUAN YIN! As most people must know by know, my real name isn't kuanyin. This is simply my blog name, and I chose the name Kuanyin because I am in resonance with Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Compassion and Mercy. For more information about Kuan Yin (spelled many different ways in different cultures), click here.

It's at moments like this that you realize that indeed There Are No Accidents! There were only a small amount of statues to be carried up the stairs, and the rest of the items were wrapped in cloth. The odds of me having the honor to place Kuan Yin in the Stupa were huge, for there was a large crowd of people and items. My partner received a Buddha to bring as an offering. The photos are below.

For more information, visit the Maui Dharma Center.



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