August 12, 2007

8/12/07 Lavaur France

Nalanda Monastery

For the last eight weeks, Shashi and Sonum, have been painting the Buddha in the shrine room of the new monastery gompa. One of the last things to paint are the eyes. Shashi tells us that once the eyes have been 'opened' it's as if the Buddha has been brought to life. So, you can imagine, it is a significant time for the whole monastery.

Dates where checked to see when would be an auspicious time, and Sunday the 12th of August was picked. So while Shashi and Sonum were working overtime to complete their painting, the rest of Nalanda was preparing for a huge celebration for the event. And we were fortunate to have as our guests, Geshe Tenzin Dorje, Geshe Tengye and Yangsi Rinpoche. Zopa had a team of people in the kitchen, including Darwin, Losang Gendun, Luis, Fabiane & Yves, helping him cook up a feast for fifty people invited.

Shashi working hard [smile]

A feast was prepared

Our honored guests
Geshe Tenzin Dorje, Geshe Tengye and Yangsi Rinpoche

Lots of monks

And nuns

Everyone loved the food

Some like Losang Thubten and I went back for 2nds

After everyone had finished eating, it was time to clean off the tables and head toward the new gompa (gompas are Buddhist temples, typically forming monasteries or nunneries).

The Geshes and Rinpoche see the completed Buddha

Mantras (prayers) were said

A special thank you to Shashi & Sonam

Everyone was amazed

Toine presents Sonam & Shashi a stupa

The Buddha before

And after


Luis closes the celebration with mantras flamenco

But there is still a lot more work to do to complete the whole shrine, including all my gold leafing. Shashi hopes to return in October to continue with the project.