Monday, November 09, 2009
The other day I went with my good friend Mary to see a documentary at the queer community center about gays in the Holocaust. It was one of the most horrifying things I ever sat through. And we were wiped out, physically wiped out from watching it. Then Mary remembered that Losang Samten, the Tibetan Lama was down the street making a Wheel of Great Time sand painting.
There're few times I can point to where I've experienced something so horrible, visceral as that documentary, then a few minutes later find myself whiplashed 180 degrees!
Mary at one point got a call and had to go deal with that. And I sat on the bench, completely alone with this amazing man Losang Samten while he calmly, quietly took different colors of sand into his brass horn to make the beautiful mandala. For about half an hour I sat in the beautiful world he was making, and I felt calm and a little clearer about all of the paranoia and angst that the documentary had churned in me.
At one point he looked up and welcomed me, and I thanked him. I told him that I had just been upset before sitting down, and that I was calmer now, and he said "GOOD, it is working then."
I'm so suspicious of religion, coming from a family where religion is a crippling weapon. But if I were to ever HAVE to choose one, it would have to be Buddhism. And I think I say that only because I strongly believe in the activist element to it, actively setting about the business of bringing some calm and clarity to a world enraptured by the sight of its own innards and wounds.
I'm looking forward to going to sit on the bench while watching Losang Samten create his beautiful mandala again this week. It's hard to believe that after his month long work on it, he and others will carry it to the river and toss it into the current.