A Video Captures Our Story
Our community needed healing. Three weeks before the Tibetan monks were to arrive from the Drepung Loseling Monastery, our city was devastated by a”100 year flood.” Extremely heavy rains caused our rivers to overflow, which caused many dams to break, which caused huge devastation throughout our community. Homes were destroyed. Our water supply was compromised. Our roads collapsed. It was catastrophic. Our community pulled together to support one another but the damage will take years to repair.
The monks arrived November 1st to create a Medicine Buddha of Healing Sand Mandala in honor our 20th anniversary. We were paying tribute to the courageous cancer survivors who had participated in our offerings. Midway through the week, Bill Grant of Cinema Couture Film wandered into Vista Studios/Gallery 80808 during his lunch break. He was beyond surprised to find a crowd gathered around a couple of Tibetan monks who were creating a sand mandala. WHAT? He was so “wowed” by what he saw, he asked if he could quickly put together a video story for us. YES!
But wait, I am getting ahead of myself. It had been months of planning and fundraising and logistical details to nail down. We had lots of support from our community! Baker and Baker, Lexington Medical Center, Blue Moon Pet Sitters, White Rose Artisans all pitched in. The newly opening Hyatt Place, right next door to the studio, gave us a terrific rate so now the monks could walk to “work.” Our local health food establishment, Rosewood Market, donated lunches for the monks. One of our community sponsors, The South Carolina Dharma Group, provided them with scrumptious dinners. We received lots of publicity and now I could not wait for arrival day!
Drizzly rain welcomed the monks who were driving in from another “gig” in New York. Standing in the street in front of the Hyatt Place parking lot, I was thankful the driver for the monks had a cell phone. He had gotten a bit turned around. A large van pulling a trailer behind it passed by me. The bumper sticker LOVING KINDNESS IS MY RELIGION on its backside gave them away. Delighted, I ran into the street waving them down.
A dozen or so red robed monks hopped out of the van, excitedly chatting together as they swooped toward the back of the trailer. As they unloaded boxes, I was introduced to the two monks that would be staying with us. Since neither one spoke English, I was given a phone number in case emergency translation was needed.
As the monks entered Vista Studios/Gallery 80808, they were clearly pleased with our exhibition and the Mystical Arts of Tibet photographs. After a few minutes, there was a serious conversation that occurred around the mandala table. The monks leaned on the table. They shook the table and their heads. After much hand gesturing, I realized that the table was not sturdy enough.
Fortunately, David Yaghjian was working in his studio, over heard us and came to our rescue. No, he does not speak Tibetan but he had some ideas on how to make the table sturdier. After about 30 minutes of this and that, David rolled his metal flat files out. We dismantled the tabletop and secured the flat chalk board surface to the top of the flat files. Problem solved.
That ordeal worked up a fierce hunger so we walked around the corner to pick up some lunch. While we were waiting for our order, I wondered if I dared to ask if I could take a “groupie.” Would that is disrespectful? We had just met and since we could only communicate through facial expressions and hand gestures, I was hesitant. I wanted to share a step by step of this experience with our community so I decided what the heck. My intentions were good and they were delighted.
After lunch arrived, we walked back to the hotel and I checked them into the hotel. The mandala table was set and we were ready for our opening ceremony the next morning.
Susan Lentz, one of the 13 artists at Vista Studios/Gallery 80808 created this wonderful video of the “sweeping” on the mandala sands.
This remarkable experience helped bring our community closer together. Everyone who attended felt an incredible sense of UNITY.
What did witnessing this Tibetan Tradition inspired in you? Share a word or two with us all.