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June 24, 2007

i had a dream...

Anyone who knows me knows I don't remember dreams very often. Like, almost never. So when I do, it's very notable. This is probably the first dream I've remembered in over six months. Many people have said to write them down, but we'll see how well that works.

I was sleeping on the couch yesterday morning when my sister woke me up, "Daniel," she said calmly, "I'm pregnant." I'm like, "whaaat? you should take a pregnancy test."

She reaches behind her and shows me the pregnancy test... the blue line is vivid and visible.

I wake up on the couch. She's several feet away in her nun's robes, practicing dharma.

June 20, 2007

the chalzay done right

My sister says that the little butter and oatmeal sculpture (called a chalzay) she did yesterday wasn't quite right. For one thing we used oatmeal from my kitchen and it's better to use supplies just for the offering. Then, evidently, on the little disks, the colors are supposed to go from light to dark with the white dot in the middle. So, she fixed it:

NewChalzay 002

She's very satisfied with the new chalzay. What is a chalzay? It's just meant to be some kind of pretty food offering. Those little things at the bottom are supposed to represent jewels, but who knows what the rest of it is supposed to signify. Usually everything in vajrayana buddhism means something, so I was a little surprised when she said, "Those disks are just for decoration. It's supposed to be pretty."

Then, you throw it out for the animals to eat when you're done. I bet we'll have some very happy butter eating raccoons by the end of retreat.

June 19, 2007

chöpa nadun

ChopaNadun 015

After my sister and I went downtown, I went to a business meeting, and then we had a wicked Italian lunch at the Pink Door.

Then, when we got home, our retreat started. We are not leaving the hood until Thursday.

She said it would be nice to clean the shrine and do a nice offering, so we did a traditional offering called a chöpa nadun. It's a symbolic offering you do in the bowls normally used for water offering. They represent the eight offerings you'd make to an honored guest in ancient India: drinking water, water for washing the feet, flowers, incense, light, perfume, elegant food, and music.

ChopaNadun 002

So, I meticulously cleaned the shrine table, infused the water with saffron and made a little flower arrangement in one of the tiny bowls. While I was doing this, she made this traditional food offering sculpture made out of outmeal, food coloring, toothpicks, and mostly butter. It was pretty cool to watch her sculpt the butter and mix all these colors in ice water. It was a great effort and it came out looking so pretty.

ChopaNadun 008

Now my shrine looks so authentic and we can have a little retreat.

June 17, 2007

the prodigal sister

Wangmo n Me

It's very late, and I am doing my normal computery thing and Wangmo / Elisabeth my sister / lama is doing the practices she needs to do before she goes to bed. She read to me for almost an hour from a cool book, and we ate mini-raviolis and also a peanut butter and jelly sandwich that was very drippy. She's here until the 4th of July and she will be staying at my house.

Starting Monday, we're going to do a three day retreat here at the house. I still will be having work periods, but the rest of the time we'll be practicing and watching a teaching she has on DVD. I won't be available by IM or phone, just email. Then, on Thursday we'll end the retreat and be out and about.

We've made plans with several people to have dinner in the evenings and such. I had thought to organize some kind of little public talk but didn't have a fantastic time coming up with a venue... there are a lot of people I know that wanted to meet her so I'm thinking about having a little BYOB BBQ at my house on a weeknight... probably on July 2nd or 3rd. Anyone have any preference?

I'm glad she's here. I've been pretty lonely in the house and it's nice to have family here. There's certain cultural contexts that just me and her really understand. Even before she got into buddhism she was a sweetheart. Now she's a tough sweetheart

Anyone not see the photos of her coming out of retreat? Or didn't read my article about her going into retreat? I didn't think so.

Wangmo n Me