#1714 - Sunday, February 22, 2004
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Photo by Richard Burnett
music: Within_you.mid from http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Panhala/
Khorov Kelley ~ DailyDharma
There is a goodness, a Wisdom that arises, sometimes gracefully,
sometimes gently, sometimes awkwardly, sometimes fiercely,
but it will arise to save us if we let it, and it arises from within us,
like the force that drives green shoots to break the winter ground,
it will arise and drive us into a great blossoming like a pear tree,
into flowering, into fragrance, fruit, and song . . .
into that part of ourselves that can never be defiled,
defeated or destroyed, but that comes back to life,
time and time again, that lives - always - that does not die."
~ China Gallard ~
"The Bond Between Women"
From the magazine, "Parabola," Spring 2003 edition, published by Joseph Kulin
#1714 - Sunday, February 22, 2004 - Editor: joyce (know_mystery)
Amrita ~ DailyDharma
Life is, by nature, constant flow and interaction of numberless
elements. Nothing ever stays the same, even from one moment to the next.
Everything is on its way to becoming something else, and therefore,
nothing can be held onto. If you see this clearly, if you consider and
examine this deeply and fully, then letting go is the only thing left to
do. How can you hold on? What is there to hold onto?
So the art of spiritual surrender is really the art of not knowing.
Then it doesn't make any difference at all whether you are walking down
the street or eating lunch or responding to your email or making love or
sitting alone on your couch. This is the first and last time you will
ever be doing this. If you truly understand that, it changes everything.
~ Scott Morrison ~
Stupa With Prayer Flags
photo by Marischat
Tibetan New Year
by Frances Kai-Hwa Wang
Tibetan New Year, or Losar, begins on the new moon in February or March, the time of the first spring thaw on the high plains of Tibet. It is usually close to, but not necessarily the same day as, Chinese New Year. The Tibetan calendar runs in 60 year cycles, each year represented by one of the twelve animals (same as Chinese) and one of the elements (water, fire, wood, metal, and earth).
For Tibetans, the start of the new year is a sacred time, a time to be with family and with one's faith. It is also a joyous time of feasting and celebration. However, because it is a time of transition, the ending of one yearly cycle and the beginning of a new one, it is also an uncertain and ambiguous time, a moment of great danger. Careful attention and the common exertion of all positive forces in the community are required to ensure that the passage into the new year will turn out fortuitously. Ian Baker writes in Tibet--Reflections from the Wheel of Life (Abbeville Press, New York, 1993): "With the same attention that would be given a newborn infant, rites are performed in the last days of the waning year to dispell obstacles and ensure a harmonious transition into the next cycle....One's actions on the first days of the new year set the course for the ensuing twelve months, and during the parties, feasts, and gambling events in which Losar abounds, Tibetans take vigilant care to avoid negative encounters or states of mind. As one Tibetan explains, 'To quarrel, cry, or lose one's temper is regarded as most inauspicious, unlucky, and a sure sign of bad times to come.'"
The celebration of Losar begins in the days leading up to the actual new year's day. During this time, debts are settled, quarrels are resolved, new clothes are made, houses and monasteries alike are cleaned from top to bottom, walls are painted, stone steps are rubbed and oiled, and dozens and dozens of kapse (fried Losar twists) are made. The family's best carpets and finest silver are brought out. Good luck signs are placed in strategic locations. Butter lamps are lit. Flowers are placed on altars. Piles of juniper, cedar, rhododendron, and other fragrant branches are prepared for burning as incense.
On the night of the dark moon, new year's eve, the family gathers around a steaming hot dumpling soup called gutuk, which literally means ninth soup. Everything must be nine. There must be at least nine ingredients and everyone must eat at least nine bowls. Some of the dumplings have surprises wrapped into them. As the meal begins, each person opens one of these special dumplings. The object one finds will indicate, much like a fortune cookie, that person's personality. According to Rinjing Dorje's Food in Tibetan Life (Prospect Books, London, 1985), if one finds salt, that is a good sign and means that one is all right; the one who finds wool is very lazy; coal indicates maliciousness; chili points out the one who is rough spoken; a white stone foretells a long life; sheep pellets are a good sign and means that one is very clever; and butter says that one is very sweet and easy going. Some families also insert slips of paper with more explicit messages, making the dumplings true fortune cookies.
At the end of the meal, everyone takes what is left in their bowl and dumps it back into the wok, as well as a piece of hair, fingernail, and old clothing. The chimney is cleaned and the dirt from that is also put into the wok. A dough effigy which represents the collective evil and ill will of the past twelve months is made and put in on top of everything else. The wok is then taken out late at night and deposited in the middle of an intersection of roads or paths with much shouting, ringing of bells, and beating of pots and pans so that the contained evil can be dispersed in all four directions. This ceremony, called lue, is done to get rid of all the negative forces at the end of the year so that the new year can begin unencumbered.
On the morning of the first day of the new year, Tibetans rise before dawn, bathe, put on their new clothes and finest jewelry, and then together make offerings at the family shrine of barley flour mixed with butter and sugar which represents a plentiful grain harvest in the coming year, and yogurt which represents a plentiful supply of animal products in the coming year. Each family member receives a derka, a pinch of freshly made butter placed at the top of one's forehead, a plate of kapse or fried Losar twists, and a cup of thick Tibetan butter tea. Then the family goes to visit monasteries and nunneries to offer white greeting scarves called katas, food, and other donations to the monks and nuns. Monks and nuns make offerings to the heavens by burning great piles of fragrant juniper and cedar branches as well as by throwing handfuls of toasted ground barley flour called tsampa up into the air. People visit relatives and friends, feast on rich holiday foods, drink homemade barley beer called chang and distilled homemade liquor called arag, gamble at dice and card games, and sing and dance around huge bonfires at night. The feasting and festivities continue for six or seven days.
This is also the time that households erect new prayer flags. Prayer flags are square pieces of fabric with prayers printed on them, strung together to hang on a rooftop or from a large bamboo flagpole. Each flutter of a flag in the wind is another recitation of the prayer printed on it, for the benefit of the family.
~ Frances Kai-Hwa Wang ~Shirley ~ Dzogchen
Please go to the web page:
Lotus Net, Happy Losar 2004
Shirley in Utah
Small Prayer Wheel
by tsMore About the Year of the Wood Monkey
Eric Ashford ~ TrueVision
Jim Cole & Spectral Voices
"For centuries people in many parts of the world have developed harmonic singing traditions (overtone singing, overtoning, toning, harmonic chant, subfundamental chant, multiphonic singing, khoomei - throat singing, vocal fry, etc), and nowhere has it reached greater refinement than in central Asia. You may have heard the high whistling melodies, expressive warbles, and intense low croaking tones of Tuvan throat singers. A similar folk tradition occurs among the herdsmen of Mongolia. Certain groups of Tibetan Buddhist monks practice a deep subfundamental type of sacred harmonic chant..."
Photo by Richard Burnett
Panhala ~ Joe Riley
What We Need Is Here
Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here.
~ Wendell Berry ~
Web version at www.Panhala.net/Archive/What_We_Need_Is_Here.html
Web archive of Panhala postings at
To subscribe to Panhala, send a blank email to
(left button to play, right button to save)
Minister for Exams
When I was a child I sat an exam.
This test was so simple
There was no way i could fail.
Q1. Describe the taste of the Moon.
It tastes like Creation I wrote,
it has the flavour of starlight.
Q2. What colour is Love?
Love is the colour of the water a man
lost in the desert finds, I wrote.
Q3. Why do snowflakes melt?
I wrote, they melt because they fall
on to the warm tongue of God.
There were other questions.
They were as simple.
I described the grief of Adam
when he was expelled from Eden.
I wrote down the exact weight of
an elephant's dream
Yet today, many years later,
For my living I sweep the streets
or clean out the toilets of the fat
Why? Because constantly I failed
Why? Well, let me set a test.
Q1. How large is a child's
Q2. How shallow is the soul of the
Minister for exams?
~ Brian Patten ~
[Editor's Note: In this New Year, the Year of the Wood Monkey, let there me no more tests... This means you... and you... and you, too.]If the graphics do not display in your email copy of this issue, read it online at the NDHighlights yahoogroups web: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NDhighlights/message/1714
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