Greetings from Paradise on Earth. After years of aspirations, devoted work and planning, today the Monlam begins! Om Tare!
Guided by Lama Sonam from the dharma center in Brasilia, we opened the Monlam with prayers for auspiciousness, blessing and dispelling obstacles. We made many offerings, including Riwo Sangchö, and we danced the Eight Precious Offerings. Myri Dakini and four of her Brazilian students had prepared The Dance of the Five Wisdom Dakinis. Exquisite in their individual choreographies, each one dancing with a small copper pitcher, they empowered us with the nectar of the five purified emotions: white Space Dakini blessed us with mirror-like wisdom, blue Water Dakini empowered us with the wisdom of the dharmadatu, gold Earth Dakini brought us the wisdom of equality, red Fire Dakini poured her nectar of discriminating awareness wisdom and green Air Dakini blessed us with the wisdom of accomplishment. The meditations narrated by Prema on the soundtrack took us deep into the transformation of our five main habitual tendencies into their corresponding powers. The combination of the music, narration and dance transported us into a pure land where we received teachings from the Dakinis themselves, and we share those blessings with you!
Prema also gave us a teaching on the power of generosity that underlies our Festival. What is a Monlam? It is a time of intensive practice that generates a tremendous amount of the refined energy we call merit. If we do not make direct offerings, we can invoke the offering goddesses to make them for us. The idea is to transcend our limited notion of what is possible and give from our heart in physical and visualized offerings.
Prema also gave instructions to the masked dancers to remain grounded within the experience of an elevated state. This is in keeping with the Tibetan tradition of anchoring in presence at all times, regardless of the quality of the experience arising. We can apply these instructions to our daily lives, remaining connected to whatever grounds us and reminds us of our true nature, like a mantra.
Prema introduced the masked version of the Mandala Dance Of the 21 Praises of Tara offering, the first of its kind, as a”herstoric” as opposed to “historic” event. In Asia in particular, women have been banned from sacred dance, so the offering brought with it a precious historical dimension. We have already alluded to the power of the masked dances, and we will offer video asap as well.
His Eminence Tai Situ Rinpoche, one of Prema’s main teachers, told her that given how conservative Tibetans are, the fact she created a masked version of the 21 Praises was a demonstration of her maturity in the dharma–she was taking the teachings in an entirely new direction. It was so exciting to be part of this and see Prema and Mekare’s vision, so lovingly and devotedly created, blossom before our very eyes!
In the evening, we were blessed with a dance by Prajwal Ratna: he embodied Avalokiteshvara, the Lord of Compassion, out of whose tears, according to legend, Tara was born. Prajwal gave us another experience of a deity coming to life, overflowing with the heart of compassion and the calm majesty of an enlightened being entirely dedicated to others. Fittingly, the next dance was a green Tara dance by Vesta, one of Myri Dakini’s students. She inspired us with her grace and sincere expression of the dharma.
We also offered another group of Mandalas as well, practicing the configuration of three turning at the same time. The room sparkled with a sea of gold, and we concluded the evening with profound gratitude for the bountiful gifts of the day and a dedication of all the merit we had generated.
What can you offer today for the benefit of your community, of the world? You can also invoke the Offering Goddesses and visualize vast, golden clouds of offerings, dedicating the merit you create to the realization of peace, healing and joy for the world. Join the celebration daily by touching into this blog, reciting the Green Tara Mantra, OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SOHA, making offerings, and dedicating these gifts to the realization of peace, healing, ultimate liberation. Om Tare!
May all beings be happy!
May all beings be free!