written by Rainie Evans

Last week if you happened to enter the Net Loft you may have heard constant rasping sounds of two funnels or chakpas being rubbed together to produce a delicate stream of sand which slowly built a complex, colourful design with elaborate details. Lama Losang Samten produced the 21 Tara Sand Mandala in six days to the delight of the daily visitors, some of whom were invited to try their hand.

Mother Tara is also known as the Mother of all Buddhas. She embodies fully awakened wisdom and compassion and lovingly guides us through our suffering to a more peaceful existence. Lama Losang explained how many Tibetans start their day with prayers to Tara to encourage successful undertakings, heal illnesses and help overcome many of life’s hurdles.

45 people attended the weekend retreat, during which Lama Losang incorporated the Mandala into our practice by giving each one of us an opportunity for reflection and healing from one or several of the 21 emanations of the Mother Tara, so exquisitely rendered on the table. This was a profoundly moving experience to be in community, together, loosening our knots or negativities with the grace of ceremony. We all felt lighter and more joyful as we chanted her mantra of universal love and compassion. We understood, by training our minds, we can see her as an emanation of all the good qualities we want to cultivate.

This gives us a new perspective and builds our capacity to love ourselves and others.

The retreat ended with the dissolution of the Mandala, returning well wishes and prayers to the water. This ceremony was open to everyone with over 75 people attending.  The symbolism of this ancient ritual was not lost, it seems, on anyone. The poignancy and power of the collective mind elevating each other and the environment brings to mind the expression “feeling is believing”.

Thank you Lama Losang and Soo Kyong for your visit to our island!