In the centre of the front of this room a Dais rises about 3 ft high, fronted by the brocade of yellow and blue, colours of Medicine Buddha, (see here) blazoned with the double Dorje so common in Tibetan iconography.
The double Dorje, one of the central implements in Tibetan Buddhism, symbolizes, among other more esoteric meanings, a steadfastness of consciousness, stability that is unshakable.
A sudden tingle of memory rings through my body as the air here flows with smoke, the sweet scent of Tibetan incense filling the room. Flowers! Carnations of vivid red, pure white, splashy yellow, two large vases on the shrine full of these flowers. The shrine also supports a three tier elevated statue of Medicine Buddha. To the right, food! Plates of goodies, three rounds of fruit and more flowers.
A large tangka of Medicine Buddha
decorates the right side of the Dais. Tibetan prayer flags, blue, yellow, green, red and white hang around the audience, the centre picture on the flags of a horse running, depicting the Tibetan understanding of energy in the human body. The fact that we are in Owen Sound, a small, redneck community in Ontario gives this event a feeling of having arrived from another planet.
Lama Zazup Rinpoche who will guide us, (see more here) seems at home here as he does most places.
These symbols comfort me, as familiar as they have become through over forty years of attending ceremonies, listening to Teachers, receiving Wongs, and repeating meditation mantras, hours and hours of meditation mantras on my own. What is different this time is this ceremony unfolds as medicine for life force, or as the Tibetans called it, La. This time we're here to experience Soul Retrieval, strengthening and rebuilding life force after it has been weakened. Stay tuned for more.