I was going to write a column about being single on Valentine’s Day—buy yourself some chocolates, stiff upper lip and all that. All of that fell away on Saturday when I read about a program at the Wainwright House by the who are on world tour. I picked up the phone, made a reservation, and drove over.
This is the Valentine I truly wanted and wished I could share with everyone. Part of the program would be the monks chanting prayers for world peace and harmony, and I had to go, especially on the heels of recent events in Egypt. I wasn’t alone; the event was sold out, with nearly 40 people in attendance.
When you’re a certain age, there’s a growing awareness of the interconnectedness of all of us and of the desire for harmony that’s deep inside all of us. The Buddhists say to think beyond mankind and to all “sentient beings” (loosely means all living and feeling beings). I’m working at being more patient, more compassionate, more…everything. I’ve got a long way to go.
Gomang is one order of the Drepung Monastery founded in 1416 near Lhasa, Tibet. When China invaded in 1959, of the 5500 monks studying at the monastery, only 100 were able to follow the 14th Dalai Lama into exile in India. The monastery was reestablished in southern India by 60 monks 10 years later on land donated by India.
Part of the Wainwright program was a “Cultural Pageant” offering glimpses of the Tibetan monks’ presentations.
Of the many gifts the monks brought us, here are two Valentines to you. One is The Snow Lion Dance. The literature explains, ”The snow lion symbolize the fearless and elegant quality of an enlightened mind…[it] has a youthful, vibrant energy of goodness and a natural sense of delight…clear, joyful, and confident.” I'm hoping for a spill-over effect.
Concluding the afternoon was Monlam Prayer, a prayer of truth, composed by the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet on September 29, 1960 in Dharamsala, India. It is a prayer for restoring peace and freedom for the Tibetans, and the restoration of their homeland, and for world peace. “It is also an invocation of compassion towards all suffering sentient beings: oppressor and oppressed alike.”
(In my videos, I’ve shortened the presentation and prayer.)
It's a privilege to be able to bring the messages of love and peace from the monks to you and to wish you love and peace this Valentine’s Day.
The Gomang Monks are in Middlebury, CT, this week. For the Gomang Monks Tour 2011 schedule and more info, gomang.org. For Wainwright House, www.wainwright.org