Sunday, May 31, 2009
The Venerable Choeze Lotsel Gyamtso (Lobsang Tsultrim) and me
A day and a half of work on the Compassion Mandala, with plenty of mistakes!
I wore my Gaden Shartse College t-shirt today, which I had gotten from the monks in 2005, hoping it would help me to have more patience. To my surprise, it turned out that Lobsang Tsultrim was the artist who had designed it back in 2001! I was touched that he was the designer, and he was touched to see it worn... a happy synchronicity for both of us. He is not only a Master of traditional mandala sand painting, but also a contemporary painter of Thangkas. I didn't look at his website, www.puremind.org, until after the workshop ended today.
We didn't have time to add color to our mandalas today, but got to see a picture of what it looks like fully colored: overwhelming after experiencing it deconstructed, at the micro level. As performance artist Rachel Rosenthal would say, it was "doing by doing."
Lobsang didn't want to teach certain things about the inner meaning of the mandala, saying this can't be done without initiation and vows, or is otherwise dangerous. On one hand, I would not have learned what little I know of Kabbalah had Jewish Renewal teachers not bent the traditional rules in order to teach people under forty, unmarried, and/or female. On the other hand, those teachers knew me over time. It wasn't hit-and-run. So I appreciate his caution, within which he is most generous.
I'm very glad that Lobsang was granted asylum in the United States in 2002 and is teaching workshops all over the world. I'm happy to be on his email list!