13 November 2007

Holy Fowl Watching Birdfans‏

[Tibetan Monks at Oak Lake] James Ed. Ducey

While on an outing at Lincoln on a recent chilly Tuesday, my route went to Oak Lake Park.

Usual autumn fowl present included a bunch of Ring-billed Gulls and more Canada Geese.

The most interesting part of the visit to appreciate was an unexpected ceremony by a group of seven Buddist Monks, from the Drepung Loseling Monastery in Tibet.

The men were finishing a ceremony started earlier at the Lentz Center for Asian Culture. For several days the visitors had created a vividly colored mandala for peace, made of a multitude of tiny grains of sand.

Before coming to the lake, the closing ceremony at the center included chants, songs and music to mark the completion of the sand art masterpiece. The sand art was destroyed - in a slow, methodical manner - to convey the message that life is temporary, and how nothing is permanent. Some sand grains of the former mandala were given to people at the building ceremony.

According to the translator for the group, the remainder of the sand was thrown into the lake since water is part of a great cycle of continuity. The water of the lake flows into a stream, down the river and on to the great oceans. The sea-water transpires into the air to then fall to the earth as rain or snow.

At the lakeside, their guttural chants and glorious foreign song had a musical accompaniment using Tibetan horns.

Two-three gulls flew above, winging their way around this little bit of the lake during the brief ceremony.

The serene setting was enjoyed by a small group of solemn, human observors.

Other birds at the holy lake scene were the American Kestrel, Mallard and Northern Shoveler.

It was certainly a blessed place. [Tibetan monks at Oak lake Park]

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