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Apr 19
Featured Stories, Mountain States
Global Mandala Joins in Prayers for Quake Victims
Boulder Shambhala Center hosts vigil for earthquake victims, photo by Marv Ross

Boulder Shambhala Center hosts vigil for earthquake victims, photo by Marv Ross

The shrine room was packed to overflowing when the Shambhala community in Boulder came together with local Tibetans for an evening of prayers and candlelight vigil on Sunday night. As the global mandala listened via Shambhala Online, the atmosphere was rich with poignant and heartfelt aspirations for those suffering. Letters from His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche were read aloud, and the period of tonglen did not begin and end with the gong — the practice was carried in our hearts throughout the event, and will follow many of us into our lives this week.

Pat Johnson spoke to us on behalf of the Vajra Vidya Foundation, sharing passages from a letter by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche. His monastery, Thrangu Tashi Choling, sustained massive damage, lying just miles outside Jyekundo. Apart from the main assembly hall, most other buildings collapsed.
He made this request: “Please think of this and make good prayers on the behalf of all those who passed away. If you gather merit by helping with the relief and restoration, it will be helpful for the world in general and in particular prevent the Dharma from disappearing. It is important that the lineage of teaching and practice not wane: Without a lineage of teaching and practice, the Dharma would perish.”

Devastation at Thrangu Tashi Choling following the earthquake in Jyekundo.

Devastation at Thrangu Tashi Choling following the earthquake in Jyekundo.

Proceeds from the Boulder event–approximately $7,500–are being shared equally between the Konchok Foundation and Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche’s Vajra Vidya Foundation. Thanks to the generous outpouring of support, to date the Konchok Foundation has raised more than $45,000 toward its emergency earthquake relief fund to support the relief efforts in Jyekundo by Surmang monks.

Tibetan girl holds candle during vigil for earthquake victims in Boulder, photo by Marv Ross.

Tibetan girl holds candle during vigil for earthquake victims in Boulder, photo by Marv Ross.

Prayers for the Dead
As the Shambhala sangha gathered, in Jyekundo, the leaders of Surmang were conducting their own prayers. The Twelfth Trungpa Rinpoche, Aten Rinpoche and Khenpo led prayer services for the dead in eight or nine locations in Jyekundo on Saturday, with several hundred families participating altogether, not just those from Surmang. The practices that they were doing included a Samantabhadra aspiration prayer, an Amitabha prayer, and others. Wherever possible, families wanted them to practice directly with their dead family member and do phowa (the transference of consciousness). The teachers met personally with dozens of the two hundred families they know in Jyekundo who have a connection to Surmang.

Monks from Dutsi Til are continuing to help families dig for missing loved ones, as is happening all over the city. Although the chances of people still being alive in the rubble are now small, even so, people want to recover the bodies of their family members so that proper pujas can be performed. Since this is not really possible amidst the rubble and chaos in Jyekundo, Trungpa Rinpoche, along with a number of monks, will return to Surmang Dutsi Til today to lead a three day Amitabha puja for the dead. The Khenpo will remain in Jyekundo doing relief work.

Aspiration Prayer
In Boulder last night, Acharya Judith Simmer-Brown shared a heartfelt aspiration, which she composed for the evening. We offer it here so that the aspirations may carry forward in the hearts of the mandala:

Aspiration Prayer for Tibetan Earthquake Victims

May the warmth of our hearts expand to support our
dear brothers and sisters in east Tibet.
May their sufferings be relieved; may their hunger,
cold and physical pain be alleviated;
May their grief and fear be a cause of greater faith in the holy dharma.
May their care and compassion energize their efforts
to help their friends and neighbors to rebuild their community.
May our care extend to those who have perished in this disaster;
May they be immediately awakened and join the minds of their gurus.
If that is not possible, may they be held by the compassion
of Amitabha in Sukhavati.
May their conviction in the truth of dharma be deepened in their crossing.
May our care extend also to the Chinese rescue workers
who are aiding the relief efforts.
May their hearts be opened by this direct experience of impermanence,
And may their kindness and service be rewarded by a greater sense
of human caring and connection.
May our common care for our dear Tibetan friends and teachers
Bind us more closely as a community—Tibetan and Shambhala,
Buddhist and non-Buddhist, spiritual and secular—
And may our love and care deepen and strengthen.
May all beings without exception—human, animal, unseen beings—
in every quarter of the world, be happy and at peace.

Acharya Judith Simmer-Brown
Boulder Shambhala Center
April 18, 2010

View slideshow of the Surmang region before and after the earthquake:


Watch video of the Boulder event, courtesy of Centre Productions:

View a streaming video recording of the Boulder event, courtesy of Shambhala Online:

How can I help?
Donations may be made to Konchok Foundation for earthquake relief.
Read more news and updates on the earthquake.

Thanks to Marv Ross for photos of the Boulder event and James Hoagland for a video of the evening.

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1 response to “ Global Mandala Joins in Prayers for Quake Victims ”
  1. Linda V. Lewis
    Apr 21, 2010

    It was very inspiring to be present in Boulder for this event. I really appreciated the opportunity for Shambhala to work with VajraVidya in the joint effort to help the Tibetan survivors of the earthquake. We owe so much of our lineage wisdom to all the practitioners of the buddhadharma in that area.

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