Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Next Workshop on May 15, 2016 the Elements, Part 1 Fire and Clouds

Our next workshop with Dara Juels will take place on Sunday, May 15, 10:00-2:00 PM. Part one will focus on drawing flames and clouds-- among the two most well known Tibetan motifs of the elements used in traditional Thangka painting. We hope to refine these motifs in order to carve them into wood blocks followed by printing on our etching press or to apply embossing the images into our handmade papers. The workshop is offered by donation to the instructor. 

Please join us for a fun day. 

A variety of Tibetan flames

Daria Juels became interested in Buddhism as a teenager and after taking a college course in Buddhism began to study Zen meditation. She lived in a Zen Buddhist community for a few years while attending art school. She met her Teacher, a Tibetan Nyingma Lama, ten years ago and became interested in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition as well as the Tibetan language. Studying scriptural Tibetan with Heidi Nevin, a well-known translator, she developed her knowledge of the written language. Wishing to become fluent in the spoken language Dara travelled to Nepal five years ago where she lived for almost two and a half years studying both language and meditation practices with various teachers in the Nyingma Lineage. When she returned to the United States she furthered her studies at a translator program at Rangjung Yeshe Gomde in Northern California. Dara began doing both written translation of dharma practices and teachings for buddhist teachers as well as oral translation for her husband. She has a passion for both Tibetan language and translating the vast wealth of wisdom within the spiritual tradition into English. Her wish is participate in assuring that the blessings of the path are carried into the Western languages.

There will be no open studios until May 14/15 due to being on retreat. Once the weather warms up we will begin making larger sheets of paper outdoors using our Nepalese floating moulds and 4 x 7 foot screen (see below). We will also be cooking a variety of plant fibers in preparation to our summer papermaking courses.  So stay in touch if you are interested in these activities. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Recap of our April 3 Workshop with Dara Juels on Writing the Six Syllable Mani Mantra

[The Jewel in the Lotus]

On Sunday, April 3, a blustery and snowy day, a small group of us met to explore writing the famous Tibetan mantra--Om Mani Padme Hum Hrih with Dara Juels, a Tibetan translator who is married to a Tibetan and lived for many years in Nepal and studied at Rangjung Yeshe Gomde in California. Dara inspired us with her enthusiasm for the Tibetan language, in particular, this mantra so widespread among Tibetans. We look forward to working with her on other mantras, Tibetan language studies and drawing traditional Tibetan motifs of the five elements. 

We learned a bit about the origins of the mantra brought to Tibet by Guru Rinpoche and its function as a vehicle of Liberation through Hearing, Seeing and so forth. 

[Dara Juels]
                                                                                                                                                                     We also listened to several readings by Dara from commentaries on the famous mantra.   She left us with Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche's commentary on Patrul Rinpoche's extraordinary text. The Heart Treasure of the Enlightened Ones. 

After completing a demonstration of each syllable with brief explanations, we then applied ourselves to write the mantra over and over--each person deeply concentrating. 

[Brenda Lilly, a resident of Conway]

[Sheryl Jaffe who also took Tashi Mannox's Tibetan Calligraphy course last April]

[Here Sheryl is showing us some of Tashi's lettering of the mantra
]                                  Left to right: Amanda, Sheryl, Brenda, Dara]  

This workshop is part of a series devoted to the Lotus as a metaphor with deep meaning in many Buddhist cultures. Our Lotus Project is an international endeavor to preserve the historic schoolhouse in Conway, MA. As a gesture of goodwill, we are participating in the 2017 250th Anniversary of the town of Conway, MA by making a paper lotus float for the town's parade and handing out thousands of our handmade paper lotus blossoms.    

Recently, we began making wood blocks to print on our own paper. Our next project will be to carve the mantra to print for distribution.  

[Dara's beautiful free form mantra in gold on painted surface]

Brenda Lilly, our origamist, upon seeing the mantra written in the Lotus wondered if she could reduce our origami with eight petals to six petals in order to write the mantra on the leaves with the Hrih in the center. Here are the results--what she says, "see what happens on a snow day" when all the schools are closed for the day and teachers and students have the day off. All our members are artists, teachers and/or therapists who bring their expertise and passion to our collective experience. 

[Six petal lotus with Six syllable mani mantra by Brenda Lilly]