Sunday, August 13, 2017

I'm Happy To Have The Venerable Lama Konchok Sonam For Our Wedding Ceremony

U.S. Jowo Rinpoche Statue: Drikung Meditation Center at Jokhang Temple, Arlington, Massachusetts
I'm blessed with so much joy and awe after my visit this evening with the Venerable Lama Konchok Sonam at the Drikung Meditation Center at Jokhang Temple., Arlington, Massachusetts.

 I'm very happy that he has agreed to offer us blessings, purification and puja ritual for our wedding. 🕉️.

Lama-la is a lovely and happy, kind human being with a beautiful heart and I'm so excited about the wedding ceremony.  It's going to be beautiful and amazing.

. Venerable Lama Konchok Sonam is the Spiritual Director of the Drikung Meditation Center. Born in Lhasa, Tibet, Lama Sonam began his Buddhist training when young within the Drikung Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. At the age of 18, Lama Sonam took full ordination and became a monk (Gelong). Lama Sonam then went on to complete a retreat on Ngondro (Common and Extraordinary Preliminaries) and the Five-Fold Path of Mahamudra under H.H. Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche and Gelong Yeshe. Lama Sonam received teachings and blessings from more than twenty-five great masters, including Nyedak Rinpoche, his beloved main teacher, and the Most Venerable Pachung Rinpoche, the renown scholar and retreat master at Drikung Thil monastery. Lama Sonam served as disciplinarian at Jang Chub Ling monastery, in Dehra Dun, India. This difficult position required an extremely vast knowledge of the Dharma, and inspirational deep inner qualities. Lama Sonam has also served as the personal attendant to H.H. Chungtsang Rinpoche, H.E. Drubwang Rinpoche, Tongkar Tulku, and H.E. Thritsab Rinpoche, and tutored American tulku Thadag Rinpoche (Jack Churchward).

On June 9, 2003, Lama Sonam arrived in Boston to be the Resident Lama at the Drikung Meditation Center. Lama Sonam has shown himself to be expert in both the theoretical and practical aspects of training the mind through meditation and Vajrayana methods for awakening our Buddha Nature. In the fall of 2005, Lama Sonam started the Jowo Rinpoche Statue Project to benefit the Boston area, the United States, and the world. Lama Sonam began to realize his vision of bringing the blessings of Buddhism, from Buddha Shakyamuni and countless other enlightened masters from the East- India, Nepal, and Tibet, to the United States by creating a pilgrimage site. Arriving in May of 2008, the centerpiece of the pilgrimage site is an eight foot tall gilded, jewel-encrusted bronze, the U.S. Jowo Rinpoche Statue. The magnificent U.S. Jowo Rinpoche statue is a replica and spiritual emanation of the most revered Jowo Rinpoche statue that was made at the time of the historical Buddha and brought to Lhasa, Tibet in 641 AD.

OK, so Lama Sonam isn't a Gelugpa Gesha like we initially originally thought we we're going to have do our wedding, but is of Drikung Kagyu lineage, part of the red hat schools of Tibetan Buddhism, whereas Gelugpa is yellow hat, the lineage of His Holiness Dalai Lama XIV.  I love learning all these new and interesting different things about Tibetan Buddhism, and I'm so blessed for all of the teachings and many things I'm learning along every step of the way.  I love Tibetan Buddhism, It's enrichening my life and teaching me so many wonderful new things.  I love this so much and I am so grateful to Tenzin and Sangpo from Tibet Arts & Healing for putting me in touch with Lama Sonam.  This is very special and I'm so blessed for the all the experiences had thus far, and for those yet to come.

Oṃ muni muni mahāmuni śākyamuni svāhā Om muni muni mahamuni shakyamuni svaha

Saturday, August 12, 2017

My Fiancée & I Went Out Shopping For My Wedding Dress

      Amanda & I took the train into Boston today to get on the subway ,so that we can get to Somerville & Cambridge, Massachusetts for a shopping trip to find the perfect wedding dress for our wedding.  Amanda already found hers, and she loves it, and we also found a beautiful all white dress for my daughter Julia.  She's not into dresses because she's only 11 and is an active girl, but she absolutely loves her new dress and is so excited to wear it in our wedding in October.  I however, have not gotten my wedding dress yet.

    I did browse around online for several months, from traditional wedding bridal dresses to the exotic, I checked out a huge variety of styles and although I found so many beautiful dresses, I just could not make up my mind, nor was I confident about buying online, because, what if it doesn't fit, what if it doesn't arrive in time, what if it needs alterations and so many other what ifs drove my anxiety through the roof, and to say it was fairly overwhelming for me is a huge understatement.

     While shopping for wedding dresses online, I came across an Indian bridal shoppe called Chabra Bridal located in Cambridge, so that's our first stop after we visit her cousin David in Boston.

  I loved meeting Amanda's cousin David and we all had so much fun on the roof and that gorgeous Boston rooftop view, wow oh my, it was so amazing. 

  Here's some low res, low quality panoramic views of the City of Boston skyline, overlooking Haymarket, North End, Waterfront, Charlestown and other neighborhoods and landmarks, from high above Canal Street on a beautiful mid August summer morning.   Clicking the photo will open it to the larger image so that you can see it better.

 panoramic views of the City of Boston skyline, overlooking the Haymarket, North End, Waterfront, Charlestown and other neighborhoods and landmarks while high above Canal Street.
 panoramic views of the City of Boston skyline, overlooking the Haymarket, North End, Waterfront, Charlestown and other neighborhoods and landmarks while high above Canal Street.

     The beautiful woman on the far right of the second photograph is my beautiful wife to be, Amanda.  I'm so blessed to have met her, and I'm so happy that she wants me to be her wife.  She has brought so much love into my life, and I'm looking forward to our wedding day, but I'm also scared too, because I never had a wedding before, nor has she, so, we're both on edge a little with our own anxieties and concerns, the list goes on, and I'm 100% sure that almost every single ever bride to be can attest to it, it's stressful planning a wedding, especially if you're on a shoe string budget.

    In an earlier post discussing wedding planning, I mention briefly some of the reasons why I don't want a traditional wedding dress.  I'm unique, far different and out of the realm of societal norm, I'm different, in many ways, with a vast amount of different interests, so, my dress should reflect that, as well as my personality and style.  I want to be colorful and bright, not plain.  I'm anything but ordinary, I'm extraordinary. I want to look and feel like a princess. Our wedding is going to be fabulous, our own special day, in our own unique ways.

        I love Indian fashion, among many other things to do with India, but I also love all about everything throughout the nations and people of the Himalayas, and Asia in general too.  I'm a complex, not so easy to define kind of girl, with a long and complicated life experience that I'm learning to share, one page at a time.  If you read enough, you;ll get to know me better.

  To get to Chabra Bridal we had to endure a lengthy, but amusing adventure underground in Boston's subway system  We took the trains from Boston's Haymarket station to Somerville's Davis Square, and we walked from there. to Chabra in Cambridge, and yes, it was a nice, long walk.    Once we finally arrived, I was happy, full of glee, browsing around with a smile inside the shop, I was overwhelmed with color and glitzy shiny things abound, I was giddy with excitement and couldn't wait to try some dresses on, and the staff were so helpful, but in the end, I didn't buy a dress from them. 

      Chabra's dresses are absolutely AMAZING, and so colorful too, and I fell in love with this beautiful maroon lahenga choli bridal set with matching dupatta, but there was no way in hell I can afford a dress that costs $1400+, and although there's a huge selection of various styles and bright colors, I just didn't find what I wanted in the price range I could afford.   My heart was set on orange, or maroon, or saffron yellow.  There was a beautiful saffron yellow skirt I liked, and it fit decently, but it was around $700 just for the skirt, and although Amanda said she has $700 in the bank, there was just no way I could do something so stupid like spending that much money on just a skirt.  That's absurd!

  We decided to walk from Chabra down Massachusetts Avenue,  to explore the amazing variety of international markets and shops.  Just to explore and see the all the various sights, enjoying the beautiful day together, taking photos and having so much fun..  Our plans were to visit some Tibetan shops I know of,  One of them associated with Tibet Arts & Healing in Salem, a Tibetan Buddhist shop I love very much and visit very frequently.  That's where Sangpo & Tenzin work, they're the ones that put me in touch with a Tibetan Buddhist monk to do our wedding for us.

    On our walk down Mass. Ave. I was in awe over all the variety offered, having an amazing time with the woman I'm beginning to spend the rest of my life with.    I loved stopping in the shops, one of them a Bengali market, and wow, so many various Asian restaurants,  Cambodian, Thai, Chinese & Japanese, and all the different ethnic markets, oh my, this is a multicultural mecca and I'm loving every single moment of it, and I really think I would LOVE to live here.  This is my kind of place, and because I love cooking Asian, Indian and so many other kinds of international foods, this is just so perfect for me and it would be so much more convenient than having to spend hours traveling by grueling and cumbersome trains to get into the larger metropolitan cities.  Yes, someday I hope to live here, and hopefully soon, although it may not happen, and even so, if it does, that too will be temporary, because I have other plans as well.  Everything is always a constant state of change, but I still have other plans for the future, and I'll eventually write about them here, just not now.  You'll have to stick around to learn more.  

I'm running on and on with all of this, so I'll dwindle down to the end.  We ended up walking the entire length of Massachusetts Avenue from Davis Square station, all the way to Kendall Square.  Along the way, we visited each of the few different Tibetan shops and picked up some items for the wedding ceremony among other things, including an off white skirt from India, and a maroon dupatta.  Utso Tibet had a beautiful maroon lahenga skirt that I thought was just so gorgeous, and within my price range too, but, unfortunately, it didn't fit my fat ass..  All the beautiful, , happy, wonderful people we met at all the shops we visited.  Today has been an amazing and beautiful day.

So now I have a pretty skirt that matches the off white top I got awhile ago in Sangpo & Tenzin's shop, and this beautiful maroon dupatta adorned with beautiful brass toned threads, sequins and shiny glitz.  I'm so excited, I can't wait to put it all on and see how it all looks.... but you're gonna have to wait until after the wedding to see it.  Nobody's going to see my dress except for Amanda and Julia.

Love and happiness, and I'll write more again soon.