Showing posts from August, 2009

July at Gampo Abbey

Prayer flags at sunset
Hi y'all,

Another full and action packed month as summer rolls into Cape Bretton island. We have just recently said goodbye to the last batch of In House Retreatants who have been staying with us over a period of 5 weeks. This has been an opportunity for people to stay for one or two weeks and get a taste of Abbey life. They all seemed to enjoy themselves and it adds a different flavour to the Abbey having new faces appearing every seven days or so.

The tourist season is now in full swing. At times we must have 20 or more tourists a day visiting the Abbey. I have enjoyed giving afternoon tours to groups around the Abbey, explaining about Tibetan Buddhism, the historical Buddha, protector deities, the history of the Abbey, why I am the only one dressed in blue and so on.

The latest batch of recruits took temporary monastic ordination this month. This begins with a hair cutting ceremony the night before. Two of us were doing the barbering. Dennis was my first vi…

Torma Night

Just one of the many and varied community activities we take part in at Gampo Abbey. Torma Night is a winner with all the monastics - well, it is compulsory, but I like to think we'd all go anyway.

Torma is an offering gift in Tibetan Buddhism. The Tormas we make on Torma night are used in our main shrine room and presented to the local protector deities by being flung into the garden at appropriate moments during our chants.

These are made from barley flour dough and butter. The central pinacle represents Mount Meru - the centre of the Buddhist cosmos and the four points on the base represent the four continents - one of which is our home - Jambudvipa. Hence we offer up the whole universe for the benefit of practicing Dharma.

When sticking the continents onto Mount Meru it is important to get them on the right way up - with a flat side on the top - otherwise all the people are liable to fall off. It also makes the job of building Ikea even more difficult for the people of Jambudvip…