I've never done a guest blog thing before, and I don't think this is quite in the spirit of that anyway. This is more to do with the fact that one of my lovely Stonewylders wrote such a hilarious account of her time at Gorton Monastery (see my last post) that I just HAD to share it with everyone. We use "LOL" freely, but on this occasion I really did!
Lisa is a member (a very active member) of the Stonewylde Community, making many posts, blogs and chatting in the chat-room a lot. I met her at Olympia a couple of weeks ago - she's one of those lovely larger-than-life characters that you just take to instantly. She wrote a really funny blog about that weekend, and then she came along to the MBS event at Gorton Monastery this Saturday. There were a huge number of Stonewylders there, all having previously arranged to meet up. Bear in mind these are people who "chat" and converse with each other on the Internet every single day in most cases - and yet they've never met in person. So now they're all trying to meet up at every opportunity, and last Saturday was one such occasion.
Lisa posted this blog today, but unless you're a member of our community (and please do join if you like - there's a link on the side) you wouldn't be able to see this. She's very kindly given me permission to post it here - enjoy!!
"Now for those of you who have met me, on or off the forum, this blog will come as no surprise. My life consists largely of incidents such as this strung together. Willow thought i should share this one LOL .... so ......
On Saturday, I ventured off with some dear and lovely friends to Gorton Monastery. It isn't too far from me: about half an hour, so a few of us "airy fairy" types from Bollington headed off to sunny Manchester, to avail ourselves of purchases and spiritual top ups. The usual chaos ensued ... just as one friend arrived at my door, I turned around to find all 4 hens in the kitchen, merrily shredding a FULL binbag that I was going to put out on the way down the path. The traitors were EATING A CHICKEN CARCASS!!!! Now, it could have been the shock of eating one of their kin, but the kitchen was now decoratively adorned with chicken poos, dotted in an artistic manner amongst the debris.
A full roll of "Plenty/ Bounty" later ... and we were off! I won't need to mention how we tittered all the way in an excitable manner ... most of you will take that for granted! I was taken aback by the beauty of the building, shining out from such mundane surroundings (apologies if anyone comes from Gorton). I have a bit of a "thing" about those pointers: you know the ones? People in high vis vests who direct you to a car parking space? There is scope in that job for much artistic content and imaginative arm choreography, but these didn't even point which direction to head in! Feeling sorely peeved, as this constitutes a large part of the enjoyment of any car parking experience in my view, I demanded imperiously of one that he must point to the door of the monastery.
"Come on then ... now's your chance to point!" I cried.
Looking vaguely scared and bewildered, he feebly waved a hand over my shoulder and said "It's behind you?"
Doesn't take much to make me happy :-)
As Vikki and I walked towards the doors, we both stopped at the same time. I had goose bumps down both arms. The energy of the place was amazing! I'm going to skip most of the day, apart from to say that the venue was stunning, and all the exhibiters seemed to gel with it. It was as though they had been hand chosen for the place. The only puzzling one was "Suzie's Fashion bags and accessories for all occasions" ???????? Maybe I was missing something there, but we felt that it should at least have been "Suzie's MYSTICAL handbags etc"
It was just so lovely to meet all those fellow Stonewylders in such a lovely place, and I hugged and hugged Willow, as we talk on here almost every day, and it was the first time we had met in person. We did the compulsary alarming of Kit and Mr. B, LOL and took loads of piccies. Some are on here, I think most of us posted a few. Anyway LOVELY LOVELY LOVELY to meet you all xxxxx
We all split up and headed off to various workshops:- I won't go into details as I'm sure you've all done some similar and fabby ones. I can't NOT mention Scott Jasper from Dragonfly Moon though ... I have never met anyone with such bubbling and infectious energy. If you ever get chance to attend his drumming workshops, please do. It will lift your spirits for the day. We all managed to meet up in the monastery gardens for more hugs and photos and lunch.
During lunch, I choked spectacularly on a strand of grated cheese. I felt that I was in just the right place for this "Near death experience," but managed to avoid going towards the light by making some alarming and very high volume roars and vomit style noises. This turned into an attack of guffaws, which brought the choking on again ... which brought the guffaws on again ... are you getting it yet? LOL The WHOLE of the manastery garden was now looking at me in awe and horror.
Willow had been for a blessing with a lama, and I had booked in on the last minute as there was a place left, with my other friends. I was incredulously looking at the bit of red wool around her neck which was the result of the blessing. I knew nothing or the event except that Willow assured me it was a great opportunity, and I should go. She did warn me that the ceremony was very solemn and serious, and was looking a little doubtful as I spluttered and giggled my way towards the room containing said Lama....
On arrival outside the room, we were told that the Lama was running very late. VERY late. I had by now deduced that each ceremony was for 15 people, and lasted approx 45 mins. I knew nothing of the Lama himself, as I had not read any of the information, having last minute booked. Now, I can JUST about manage 45 mins of sitting still, but it is very difficult for me. And sitting quietly ...... say no more! All I knew was that I had read some of the books written by His Holiness The Dalai Lama, and thought he was a really splendid bloke. Right up there! Willow kindly told me AFTER the event that it was a Healing Puja and Blessing by the Geshe Lama Ahbay Tulku Rinpoche. And the gist of it is ... he is a very very high ranking Lama, and people wait in line for hours just to see him .... chummy as it were with His Holiness The Dalai Lama. Please excuse my ignorance, as I know practically zilch about Tibetan Monks.
Now ... if only I had known this information, I would have sat right at the very back or something ... however ... We parked ourselves right in from of the makeshift altar. Facing the Lama. He had decided to combine us with the last group, due to the time limits. Hence 30 people and one very high ranking Lama in a tiny room. Mucho chair shuffling ... and we started. The Lama was in his full saffron and maroon robes, and looked stunning. He looked about 20, but was probably 102. I have no idea, but his face was serene, beautiful and calm.
He settled himself in his chair, and asked for water and green tea. His assistant obliged. He declared "Muchas, muchas gracias" when she produced said tea, and his face transformed first into the most beautiful and infectious smiles I have EVER seen (Not unlike H.H.The Dalai Lama). It truly was like the sun coming out. So much so that everyone was smiling and laughing purely at the joy on his face. He captivated his audience by the force of his personality. Everything was spoken at approximately a quarter of the speed at which I speak, with lengthy pauses, thus ensuring everyone was hanging on the edge of their seat to see what he would say next. I could learn a lot from him.
The talk was perfect, the gist of which being if we all practised love, tolerance and compassion instead of hatred, jealousy and intolerance, the world would be much healed. The problem started when he leaned right back in his chair. The hem of his robe lifted slightly to reveal bright purple socks and brown suede shoes. I confess to a small smirk at this point. I then noticed stacked up behind him packs and packs of Tesco Value Malted Milk biscuits. I mean, there were PACKS and PACKS! I concealed my surprise that such a man would have an eating disorder on such a scale, and a slightly larger smirk appeared. I'm not sure of the technicalities, but the next part was the actual ceremony.
He had extended his talk, and we were apparently going to double the time of the whole thing. It was by now going dusk (!) and he requested the lights be turned out. He looked alight with a golden aura of candle flames. He started to read the ceremony in sanskript, whilst all the time incense was burning and he repeatedly rang a temple bell. It lasted a very long time, but the feeling in that room was of great peaceful energy. All were sitting with their hands in the Namaste position. I opened my eyes and peeked ... it looked magic! We were all lulled and swaying slightly, as he was semi chanting ... the bell ... the incense ... then there was a significant pause. Aha! I thought, a new bit is coming! Still a pause, then a swallowing sound ... then a gentle belch. I started to quake in my seat with surpressed giggles, desperately trying to squash them. Unabashed, he continued ....
He did a particularly big ding with his bell, which signified the Blessings were to start. In a nutshell, he chanted the words, which we dutifully copied, as we approached him individually. The "Blessee" stood before him with bowed head and hands in the prayer position. Very solemnly, he tied a knot in each Blessing cord (Willow's red wool LOL) and as we chanted, and blew the Blessing into the knot as he pulled it tight. The cord was then laid over your hair or wrists, depending on where you wished to have it tied. He then inserted a Tesco Value Malted Milk btween the 2 palms of your hands and you walked to a helper, who tied the cord. The Blessed knot was to rest on your pulse point to sent the Blessing into your circulation, and you were then to eat the T.V.M.M.Biscuit to carry it through your digestive system. AHHH! So that's what they were for ...
I approached the Lama and bowed my head. He tied my knot, and made his T.V.M.M. biscuit insertion. I made the mistake of glancing at him ... and caught his eye. The corner of my mouth began to twitch. As did his. We both grinned at each other ... and both began to giggle. And giggle. And giggle. By now he had got my Blessing cord stuck around my malted milk, and this made him slap the table and rock to and fro with glee. The chants petered out ... and the Blessing Ceremony with the Lama tittered to a halt ....... oh dear .......
Anyway, he managed to compose himself and Bless the other 24 or so Blessees. Part way through, he stopped and beckoned a young gent to the front. Honoured, he bowed his head, awaiting some important duty. The Lama paused dramatically and uttered the immortal words ...
"Do you think you could open another packet of biscuits, please?"
We then all had to chant for a while. The lady next to my friend Vikki was by now in some sort of Chi Gung style frenzy, clapping the palms of her hands together frenziedly and "washing" the energy over herself. She was rocking back and to, and stamping her feet rapidly in a running on the spot style. Vikki began to shake with giggles. The lady next to me , who had previously been doing the only operatic style chanting in the room, let out a large snore. This finished me off, and I too sat quaking in my chair. The final "OM" was totally mind blowing. The vibrations just resonated throughout your whole being.
Today I was on chat with Willow and Lizziefaerie, and Willow was asking how the Blessing went.The chat went a bit like this....
W: It was a lovely, solemn and special occasion, don't you think?
W: Oh yes.. (explained fully on chat just who the Lama was)
LF: Sounds great!
Me: Horrified typing silence
W: How did it go?
Me: Well, I stopped the ceremony because we both had the giggles.
LF: LOL LOL LOL
W: You realise how long people queue to see a glimpse of him????
ME: Um well, I do now you' ve said ...
Me (Brightly) but it was OK! He was fine at the end when I hugged him!
W: O. M. G. Lisa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You HUGGED him!?!?
Me: Well he was nice!
LF: LOL LOL LOL
W: You aren't allowed to TOUCH a Lama!!!!!!
( Mortified vibrations run through the type)
LF: LOL LOL LOL
Me: Well, he was holdiing my finger repeating "You very funny" over and over
W: While you were hugging him?????
W: Would you hug the Queen???
Me (Yes, but I daren't say so): Er ...
LF: LOL LOL LOL
Me: Well, they should put a sign up then
ALL 3 TYPE SIMULTANEOUSLY: "Do NOT hug the Lama!"
So there you have it ... how I made a tit of myself with the very very Top Lama .... It was an occasion that I will always remember, for its peace, loving vibrations and the giggling Lama with the smile that could light up the world."
Thank you, Lisa! I bet you made the lama's day, and the world would be a happier place if there were more like you about! And for those who'd like to know a bit more about the lama, Willow kindly enlightened us:
Geshe Lama Ahbay Tulku Rinpoche is a very very high ranking Lama born in India in 1973 and taken away from home to join a monastery at age 7 years. He became fully initiated into monastic life aged 9 years. When he was 13 His Holiness the Dalai Lama identified Ahbay as the reincarnation of a great teacher and hermit Lama Lobsang Tenzin. the Tibetan tradition is that after a reincarnation has been recognised then you must attain the educational level of that person.... and then beyond.
Ahbay then spent several years as a hermit in a cave. people queued for hours to see him and to have a blessing from him. 24 years after the Dalai Lama recognised his reincarnation Ahbay completed his eduction and is now Geshe, Master Of Tibetan Philosophy. Geshe Lama Ahbay Tulku Reinpoche is in sole charge of Yega Choling Monastery in Tibet and its monks. He also has 4 students in India.
Ahbay is currently visiting the UK from India on a mission which has been endorsed by the Dalai Lama, to raise funds to feed and clothe the Tibetan people and ultimately, to build a monastery in Tibet for the education and enlightenment of young monks. The Healing Puja and Blessing are a very solemn ceremony and amazing experience not just for those with health issues but for those wishing to receive spiritual enrichment.