Wednesday, October 1, 2008

On the way through Bloomington to Nashville on our first day, we stopped for a bite to eat and visited the Wandering Turtle art gallery. I have this thing about turtles, so it was not to be missed! What an ecclectic and fun art gallery! I did make a couple small purchases...!
Bloomington, Indiana is a surprisingly diverse community, due in part to the presence of Indiana University, which has attracted faculty, students and visitors from around the world. Specifically, Bloomington enjoys a Tibetan connection that many are surprised in find in Indiana. The Tibetan Cultural Center was founded by Indiana University professor Emeritus Thubten J. Norbu (brother of the 14th Dalai Lama) in 1979. It strives to preserve Tibetan and Mongolian cultures and Buddhist philosophy through education and philanthropic endeavors, and to support Tibetans and Mongolians both in their homelands and in exile.

The following is a prayer of a bodhisattva (a person who has compassion for others). It is a favorite prayer of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

As long as space endures

As long as sentient beings remain

May, I too, prevail

To dispel the misery of the world

This is called a ger. The nomadic mongols lived in these and they could be completed taken down and moved to a new area very easily.

These are the two chortens(or stupas)--traditional Buddhist monument reliquaries--on the grounds. This one can be entered on all four sides and contains a sand mandala. This chorten commemorates the Kalachakra Ceremonies for World Peace which took place at the Tibetan Cultural Center in 1999. The Kalachakra, or "Turning of the Wheel of Time", is the most revered of all Buddhist rituals because it is dedicated to creating world peace and harmony.

This chorten is the Jangchub Chorten, which was dedicated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 1987, and stands as a monument to world peace and a memorial to the estimated 1.2 million Tibetans who have perished in the struggle to maintain independence.

This sand mandala is inside the chorten, encased in plastic. Yes, it is all sand and created by monks.

This is the Chamtse Ling Temple, consecrated in 2003 in a ceremony hosted by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Muhammad Ali, and is dedicated t interfaith understanding and world peace. The Center offers classes in Buddhist philosophy and meditation, as well as a variety of other special topics.

Our 2nd stop of the day was at the Dagom Gaden Tensung Ling Monastery. It was founded in 1996 and is nestled at the edge of Lower Cascades Park in a beautiful natural setting. It is a traditional monastery for monks of the Gelugpa lineage of Tibetan Buddhism and also serves as a community resource offering a wide array of religious, cultural and educational programs to the public, including the bi-annual Taste of Tibet. Here is a new friend, a very informative Monk we happened to come a cross during our visit.

The outside of the monastery building is hand-decorated with traditional Tibetan colors and designs and is open to anyone who wishes to visit.

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