TIBETAN LOSAR CELEBRATION IN INDIANA
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, February 20, 2010
The Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist communities in Indiana celebrated The Tibetan New Year (Losar) at the Indiana Buddhist Center in Indianapolis and at the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center (TMBCC) in Bloomington with prayers, reflections, and in a spirit of service.
At the Indiana Buddhist Center, the day began by clearing an area of the massive snow of the previous week for the sacred Fire Puja. Following that, the gathered guests moved to an intimate indoor Sanctuary lined with colorful sacred Mandalas, traditional worship articles, and a portrait of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Everyone sat on cushions on the floor or chairs that lined the wall for the traditional Buddhist chants and prayers.
Dr. Larry Gerstein (Member of the Welcome Committee for the upcoming visit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and President, International Tibet Independence Movement), Tenam Namgyal (Founder of Indiana Tibetan Cultural Society), KP Singh (a Sikh American and Board Member of The Asian American Alliance), and others were invited to offer New Year greetings and reflections. KP Singh, Maninder Walia with His Holiness the Dalai Lama
at Bloomington in 2007 (Photo Credit: Craig Lovell)
The Prayer Service was led by Geshe Jinpa Sonam, Spiritual Director of the Indiana Buddhist Center. Special prayers were offered for the long life of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet who will be visiting Indiana for the sixth time in May 2010.
The guest brought, along with their spirit, new clothes for underprivileged children in support of “Children’s Clothing Drive.” The TMBCC Losar prayer service focused on “Benefit for the Homeless.” Many of the guests wore their traditional clothes for the occasion.
PRAYERFUL HOPE AND REFLECTION
The Tibetan prayer flags strung across trees fluttered in the wind against the deep blue winter sky. During the outdoor Fire Puja ceremonies, I felt the prayers floating upwards on the wings of sacred smoke towards the vast heavenly canopy that covers all creation. During the indoor part of the Prayer service, I felt that the sacred sounds of chants are all-transcending; they present no language, cultural, or spiritual barrier to the human spirit.
IAll frontiers and divides are man- created, for faiths only offer a spirit of shared humanity, message of peace, justice, and human dignity for all God’s (Great Spirit’s) Children. For one brief moment the lesson of our unity and universality stood before me and I felt may be the Tibetan Losar and the Year of Tiger could be a new beginning for peace and goodwill throughout the lands, cultures, faith communities, and usher in a more hopeful tomorrow. I felt blessed at the thought of this unimagined possibility and ever more determined to join others in doing my part in this noble dream and future endeavor.