Monday, March 5, 2007

Dalai Lama Ringtones

We've all endured the unconscionable. You're in the movie theater, a funeral service, a Tibetan Buddhist prayer ceremony when the inevitable happens...a cellphone chimes out with Zippadee-doo-daa, the Chicken Dance or Ooops I Did it Again. The offending cell owner scrambles to muffle or mute the thing, but instead increases the volume or by extracting it from a pocket or purse assures that everyone can hear it. Is it so hard to turn it off? Yes.

And if you've ever wondered "What would Buddha do?", the answer is simply ignore it.

On Sunday, Ma-Le and I attended a Buddhist prayer ceremony in Miami Beach where 3Tibetan monks and 2 lamas offered ceremonial blessings for a gathering of about 50 people. (Followed by a birthday celebration for Ma-Le's brother, a friend of the monks). I must confess any knowledge I have of the religion comes from 8 year old future Buddha Max (from Vermont) and wikipedia. I was quite impressed at the monks ability to chant through not one, but three cellphone interruptions. Where I may be distracted, the lamas and monks were focused and showed no sign of irritation. Unlike me. And thus more opportunity for my enlightenment. Near the end of the chanting, I noticed Ma-Le scrambling for my cell phone in her purse. She had been waiting for a call and forgot to turn it off and although it was on vibrate, she panicked, looked at the display screen, said "it's for you" and stuffed it my shirt pocket. If it's going to ring, better it's in my pocket! Thank the lamas it didn't. (Sorry I didn't pick up Amy)

After the ceremony, the monks presented a "mandala", which is a sand painting of geometric designs intended to symbolize the universe. They had created it over the course of 7 hours, a process that is intended to focus attention and helps aid meditation. It was then "destroyed" and cast into the bay.
In a disparate display of celebrations, the monks blessed the birthday cake, which was followed by the eating of the cake and a belly dancer. One monk, seen enjoying the show, proves he may still have work to do to achieve Dharma, I mean Dharma, I mean Dharmic enlightenment! I know I do.

After most guests had departed, I took one final photo of the offerings to Buddha and look who I caught stealing a grape! Thanks to Max who not only inspired my interest in learning more about Buddhism, but also sent me the best drawing the other day! Nice! He also reminded me of how much I miss teaching the kids in Vermont which led to the decision to volunteer at one of the nature education centers here soon.


  1. Wow, 7 hours to create something so pretty....What the heck did I do in seven hours? Let's see, I bought a telephone wire and hooked up my phone, folded some clothes, picked up my kid at school, went to work for 5 hours and ate a kit kat. Thanks to the monks for showing me up!

    Lion of Fire

  2. The Kit Kat definitely was the path to enlightenment! (At least it sounds enlightening as I sit here in my office reading Pete's blog instead of actually working!)

    Was the belly dancer a Buddhist Belly Dancer or nod to, ahem, "production values"? Enlightened minds want to know!

    Further, I've got a book to send you Pete, but do I have your address?

  3. The belly dancer was all about the birthday. I'd guess she was not a Buddhist! Nor was the grape thief. (and if you look closer at the grape thief - she also has a gigantic pineapple tucked under an arm like Walter Payton with a football.)