Monday, February 04, 2008
Year of the Earth Mouse
Yesterday, I headed off to Jampa Ling in Co. Cavan with my trusty sidekick Dave. We went for Losar which is Tibetan new year and the day when all Tibetans (and, also, Mongolians) celebrate their birthday. It began with a fire puja outside the big house. Rinpoche said prayers as the boughs of cedar burned. In circumambulation around the fire, we walked through the clouds of white scented smoke (for purification), chanting OM DUM SWAHA, OM AMRITA AYUAR DADE SWAHA, the mantra of Ush Nish Vijaya, Goddess of Victory. We also tossed cedar into the fire ourselves and threw rice into the air. Then there were prayers in the shrine room and everyone gave Rinpoche khatas (silken scarves). Then we ate the food offerings of sampa, dried fruit and nuts, and these yummy curly bread twists. After that, we had a big feast in the dining room - everyone brought food to share - and there was a proper Irish hooley, with musicians and people singing and children dancing. Here's what I bought from the shop: a blessing to hang in my car, Folk Tales of Tibet by Norbu Chophel, gorgeous silver earrings for Finn (for her upcoming birthday), and a red-and-gold box of Lhasa incense. It was a great day!