Thursday, May 10, 2007
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
We are in our third year of gardens here, and it's wonderful to see how things have finally gotten well established and are coming up bigger and stronger than ever. We were surprised to see how well the shade garden is coming back. My anemone is finally doing what it's supposed, to being big, white, and showy early in the garden.
We have one Jacob's Ladder that is weeks ahead of it's kin in a shower of delicate periwinkle buds.
The columbine have budded out and the bleeding heart are already blooming. I love how they capture moisture within their luscious petals. You can see the drops when the sun shines through.
I was thrilled to spot our lone trillium which my sister picked up for me at a native plant sale. I didn't really believe it would make it back, but it made it's ephemeral debut this week. These are one of my favorite flowers. They're so simple in essence, but their elegance is enhanced by the smooth green leaves that frame the three white petals. They remind me of the big ruffs that English queens sometimes wore--or the big headresses of vegas showgirls! I hope you enjoyed the walk through our garden today.
Saturday, May 05, 2007
As we joined the massive crowd waiting to enter, we found ourselves next to a group of individuals I believe to have been Tibetan. I felt a surge of emotion as I was torn between happiness and sorrow from the old woman, who perhaps remembered leaving Tibet, to the young girl, who perhaps never would, and also the joy in them being able to see the great spritual leader from their native country.
Amazingly, arriving 45 minutes late because of the crowding, we were seated (far, far in the back but with a decent view) and only minutes later His Holiness entered the arena. I knew I would be overwhelmed by the emotion, and I was. Tears started running down my face as I saw this "humble Buddhist monk" who radiates peace and calm. He waved to everyone, even comically peering up into the highest reaches of seating and getting laughs right off the bat. As he was introduced, he removed his shoes, exposing his maroon socks and then tucking his feet up under him as he settled comfortably into a seat that was part throne, part victorian setee. I have read hundreds of pages of text in the words of HH, studied his teachings and learnings over the years, most recently about neuroscience, and to hear him speak still ignited a spark in my heart. He spoke at first in Tibetan, with a translator, but mostly in English. As I've heard, he will sometimes be so into a thought as he teaches that he switches to rapid Tibetan and his translator explains the end of the thought. He also checked words occasionally with his translator. Their relationship was so smooth and easy that you didn't miss a beat, and the nature of it was charming. His Holiness has a very strong accent, but is easily understood when you pay attention to him--easy to do when he is mixing comedy and lightheartedness with his teachings.
The nature of his teaching was Compassion as the Source of Happiness. He spoke about how humans by nature have a biological need for compassion and affection from the time we are born. He described how in consciously choosing to be truly compassionate towards another individual, we gain self-confidence and strength, dispel our fear, and are able to be more peaceful and calm. Later he described how having this underlying calm and compassion can help us not only to have a higher level of happiness day-to-day, but gives us the serenity to handle more difficult situations and even tragedies when they arise.
When his lecture was over, His Holiness spoke about his optimism for Our World--peace and sustainability. He drew wave after wave of applause when he said firmly that prayer and meditation was not enough, that we must work for change, and then we can see the next century as one that is known for it's peace, and our environment can survive. He also spoke about parenting compassionately, with affection, joking that it was easy for him to advise because he was a monk. He said that if he had to be with children he would be very kind--maybe 3, 4 hours. Then, maybe not so kind. He also spoke about being a vegetarian. He said that because many monastaries are strict vegetarian, they do promote a vegetarian diet. However, he said that he eats mostly vegetarian, but then, once maybe one or two weeks, a little not-vegetarian. He spoke about how monks are supposed to fast from solid foods after the noon meal, but that if he is very hungry, he'll have a biscuit or two. You see, His Holiness teaches us that greatness doesn't come in some abnormally Divine individual, it comes through people just like you and me. We all have the ability to be compassionate, and to actively develop that compassionate to be happier and to make a difference in the world. We are all Divine. We all have the ability to pray, meditate and move our feet as we do.
Biography of His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Dalai Lama Teaching Webcasts
Books by His Holiness (I highly recommend "The Art of Happiness".)
Thursday, May 03, 2007
One thing I've been finding time for is taking pictures. If you're in the mood for browsing, feel free to check out my Flickr account. I'll keep it updated with my latest favorites. You can also subscribe to an RSS feed of my Flickr photos if you're interested. Just click on the picture to go to Flickr, or visit my homepage at http://flickr.com/photos/sproutsmom/. The link for the feed is at the bottom. Of course I'll continue posting photos here as well.