This week began with some unexpected free time. Since HHDL was to conduct some teachings by the request of the Russian Sangha, my classmates requested the time to attend. Those days were this previous Tuesday through Thursday. I was rather happy to hear this news, though I know that it means that our lectures will get rushed in the end, because I really needed to dog some serious downloading of our root text. I was about to fall behind. So I used that time as best as I could by re-listening to some lectures and general reviewing of the material.
Wednesday night was the b-day of Je Tsongkapa, the founder of the Gelukpa sect. Every year on that day there is a ritual performed at night in all Gelukpa related institutions, in which at a specific time in the ritual, offerings are distributed amongst the participants. At Sarah this is done by the students. This it seemed like there was an excess of offerings this year because the amount of stuff that was given out was quite a lot. The offering stuffs are all eatable though some more palatable than others. A lot of junk food tends to be passed out at these things. I felt that this was the closest thing to Christmas around here, receiving all these goodies. Normally the responsibility for organizing and conducting the ritual called Lama Chöpa falls on the monks of the philosophy course but this year other monks, from IBD probably, conducted the ritual while the B.A. students did the grunt work. I assumed none of the monks from my class knew the ritual well enough and that since they went to the teachings that also they did not have the time to get everything set up. The main characteristic of this ritual is the placing of candles all around campus and a candle light procession circumambulating the temple with a chant in the praise of Je Tsongkapa. This makes everything rather nice glowy for the otherwise indistinguishable campus.
This was quite an uneventful week and in truth probably all weeks at Sarah is like that, but usually I can write about something. Unfortunately, that is not the case for this week but I wanted to give it a try to see what came out of my fingers and the above is about it. But I hope that this little bit finds you in good health, spirits and that you are staying nice and roasty toasty in whatever part of the globe that you inhabit.