Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Tibetian Sand Art: A Painstaiking Beauty

Just so you know, Pocky made me post this.
What you see at the right is a special kind of Tibetan art called a sand mandala.
Tibetan monks typically work on a week long project sitting cross-legged and delicately swiping sand through an instrument, called a chokpur, in order to make this intricate sand art as a tribute to Buddha and the Dali Llama. You may have seen the video (which brought a lot of people's attention to this type of art) of the young toddler walking through a Kansas City train depot, who stepped right through the art and greatly messed it up.

That's what the sand art is. It's nothing everlasting, the monks will work on it for several days and clean it up. They tend to give some sand as a gift to those who helped them in preparing for their creation, and usually, the extra sand will be spilled into local waterways, in an effort to spread the peace and love that went in to the creation. It is a very awe inspiring moment to see these monks working, and you are very fortunate if you ever get a chance to see them in the process.

I have a special interest in religion and its customs, and I recently had the chance to visit the Tibetan monks from the Drepung Loseling monastery as they were working on one of their mandalas. I even tried my hand at working on a small one they had set up for visitors. As the monks work in near silence, nearby monks will chant and throat sing as the mandala is created.

At the exhibit a few of the monks were selling crafts and instruments to benefit their monastery. That is when Kip encountered:

The Forbidden Cell Phone Charm

Funny story actually. I didn't have a lot of money, but I wanted to support the monks since they came all the way from Tibet to make their art for us locals. So I bought a $3 cell phone charm (see picture). The charm has some significance in the Tibetan culture, so when I asked the monk at the table about it, he politely took the charm and my cell and had it looped through.

Before this I had a Claddagh charm on it, but it had since broken off. So I happily used my new charm for a while. That's when I noticed my phone wouldn't take incoming calls anymore. I could call out, but I couldn't answer calls coming in. So I called Sprint to see if they could fix my phone. They offered to replace my broken old phone with a new RAZR, as long as I send them back my old one. Woo hoo!

So I removed the charm in anticipation of my new phone, and, wouldn't you know it, it works again and I'm getting calls! Coincidence? I put the charm back on a couple of hours ago, but I haven't gotten a call yet to see if it's working. So, will I have to give Sprint my charm too if it means my phone will still be broken enough for me to get a RAZR?

Well, the monks have since spilled the sand in the bay and gone home, so I can't ask them about the mystical properties of my charm, but I did get the opportunity to help sponsor a monk student through their first year of monastery. I am now working with my college so that we can help some of the monks with their tuition needed to become a full-fledged monk at Drepung Loseling.

All in all, the treat of seeing the Tibetan monks here is an experience I will not soon forget.

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At October 9, 2007 at 7:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ooooh. LOL this is hilarious. Kip has been cursed!!

At October 9, 2007 at 8:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Curses! .O.

If I had a cellphone, I'd buy one. ;_;

At October 9, 2007 at 8:59 PM, Blogger Kami... said...

It may seem cursed... but it got him a nice phone upgrade :)

/me shakes fist at my various charms from tsubaki jinja and other places...
All my things got me is the inability to use my keitai in Canada >.<

At October 9, 2007 at 9:13 PM, Blogger Pocky said...

lol interesting charm. Are those glass marbles inside?

At October 10, 2007 at 12:33 AM, Blogger Mudpelt said...

Keitai? What's a keitai Kami?
Kip... I think the monks didn't curse you but helped you. X3 Who knows...

At October 10, 2007 at 8:35 AM, Blogger Kami... said...

Cellphone sorry...
Since it's a Japanese cellphone I still call it a keitai :P
Basically meaning something carried or portable 携帯... but ya, that's the short name which is commonly used except for news reports and such where you would hear 携帯電話(keitai denwa) mobile phone.
...Some things look funny in romanji I know...

My charms include 2 from temples, one korean thingy thing (Looks religious), pink doggy pen cap (lost the pen in my pants) Christmas Koala Mascot from Lotte and some thingy from here... maybe all mine are conflicting with each other?

Although after many calls with au, they told me their Global Passport system does work in Canada, but only in Vancouver >.< and I can't cancel my phone unless I'm back in Japan. T.T

At October 10, 2007 at 11:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ Comments- LOL, I mean wwww.

@ Pocky- Those are clear plastic beads woven in some yellow thread to several smaller beads at the end.

At October 13, 2007 at 2:11 AM, Blogger Yoshi said...

The A900 was never a good phone to begin with. I seen too many returns of people hateing it.

At October 13, 2007 at 2:17 AM, Blogger Yoshi said...

btw the razor isn't the greatest ether but maybe I just got some dumbbell customers.

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