Compassion in the 306
by Lori Petruskevich
Our task must be to free ourselves… by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.—Albert Einstein
Saskatchewan, area code 306, will be home to a series of events cultivating compassion in Saskatoon, the City of Bridges. From May 3 to 18 the Venerable Lama Losang Samten, a Mandala Master, returns to Saskatchewan to provide artistic and spiritual nourishment at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market, alongside the lovely heartfelt offerings already available there. Losang is a world-renowned Mandala Master and part of the legacy he will leave in the USA and Canada is the creation of these sacred mandalas, an ancient and sacred practice intended to uplift and benefit not only every person who sees it, but also to bless the environment. We are incredibly fortunate that Losang, also known as the Mandala Man, will create the Mandala of Compassion for two weeks in Saskatoon.
The Mandala of Compassion is one of a few mandala images not created by the historical Buddha Shakyamuni. This design was created 2,000 years ago by a Buddhist nun, named Pema (meaning Lotus), who meditated on compassion while on retreat for many years. When she emerged from her retreat, she brought with her the image and profound teachings on compassion. When Losang creates the mandala, he too will pray on compassion as thousands of grains of coloured sand descend from the metal funnels, called chakpu, into the intricate design of the mandala. Each person who lays eyes on the mandala receives the blessings and healing emanating from the image, which also radiates peace, harmony, and compassion for individuals, communities, and the world. As you observe the mandala in the process of creation or upon completion, it awakens the potential for perfect Enlightenment, that exists within all living beings.
If you have never seen the creation of a mandala or met Losang Samten, this visit will be a rare gift. Losang has created mandalas at prestigious museums, galleries, and universities in the United States (view at www.losangsamten.com) and in Canada, and was the spiritual director and sand mandala advisor for Martin Scorsese’s film Kundun, as well as an actor in the film. Aside from being an incredibly talented artist, Losang is an incredible human being. In his presence, people feel the embodiment of joy, peace, acceptance, and love.
Upon completion of the mandala, in accordance with the teachings of impermanence, there will be a dissolution ceremony, at which time the sand from the mandala will be swept together into the centre of the design. Those present will be invited to participate in the ceremony: to sweep the sand, to collect a small portion for themselves, and then to join in walking with the remaining sand to the river. The environmentally-friendly sand, filled with the blessings and prayers of compassion, will then be carried to the river to offer the blessings of the mandala to the source of life, water. By creating this mandala in Saskatoon, Losang will contribute to increasing “Compassion in the 306.”
In addition to the mandala, there will be a series of events in which you can participate to cultivate compassion within yourself. These activities include yoga, meditation, a slide presentation of the making of the movie Kundun, and a meditation retreat at St. Peter’s Abbey in Muenster, SK. Everyone is welcome to attend these activities and to share in the experience of loving-kindness in Saskatchewan: Compassion in the 306.
For more information on Ven. Lama Losang Samten or on the Mandala of Compassion, visit his website at www.losangsamten.com or contact Lori at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on upcoming events, see the Calendar of Events (p. 7 of the 19.6 March/April issue of the WHOLifE Journal) and visit the FaceBook page: Compassion306 or the website: www.compassion306.com.
Lori Petruskevich has worked with Lama Losang for seven years, assisting him with organizing events, developing teaching resources, and has also transcribed and edited his book Ancient Teachings in Modern Times. In addition, Lori is a holistic wellness and educational consultant who travels extensively and works primarily with First Nations, Inuit, and other indigenous communities around the world, honouring ancient wisdom and helping realize our collective potential for peace, love, joy, and compassion.