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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Two Malas Made Like Rosaries

My friend is a nun in South Korea. She recently made a lovely set of prayer beads that follow a rosary-looking pattern. She kindly said that I could try making it for a customer. (Thank you, friend, and thank you, Return to the Center, for the photo!) So I made these two. They have a green aventurine Kuan Yin...you can't photograph the detail of it because it's carved. But I like it. It uses a barrel knot that I learned off a Catholic rosary-making website.

So these malas are coming closer and closer to that broad-based spirituality I love, where different traditions are learning from each other. Many of us are realizing that when you dive into center, into the holiness of prayer, it doesn't matter what your religion or language, just that you intend to be whole and helpful. Still, for me, it helps to follow one tradition carefully. That way you can absorb as much as possible and develop some sort of cohesive and strong practice.

I found a lovely description in Sogyal Rinpoche's book, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, of a compassion practice. The term "heart of compassion" figures prominently in it. It talks about practicing compassion with the dying:

"Working with the dying, I have experienced again and again, gives all who do so a direct opportunity to practice compassion in action, and in the situation where it is probably most deeply needed of all.

Your compassion can have perhaps three essential benefits for the dying person: First, because it is opening your heart, you will find it easier to show the dying person the kind of unconditional love I have spoken about, and which they need so much. On a deeper, spiritual level, I have seen again and again how, if you try to embody compassion and act out of the heart of compassion, you will created an atmosphere in which the other person can be inspired to imagine the spiritual dimension or even take up spiritual practice. On the deepest level of all, if you do constantly practice compassion for the dying person and in turn inspire them to do the same, you might not only heal them spiritually, but perhaps even physically too. And you will discover for yourself, with wonder, what all the spiritual masters know, that the power of compassion has no bounds."

Powerful words. Hope you enjoy them. That's really where I'm coming from with this name, "Heart of compassion". It's so big that it holds infinite possibilities! And it's attainable in this life.

Lots of love,
Laura

2 comments:

Mare said...

This is so beautiful...Thank you for sharing my friend...

elsiee said...

those are lovely and with a Kuan Yin - mmmmmmmmmm.... wonderful quote from the book of the dead, very inspiring!