June 2015 Newsletter

Zooming into Nepal: A Closer Look



June 2015
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Zooming into Nepal: A Closer Look

Nepal is sandwiched between Tibet to the north and India to the south.  Nepal is 500 miles in length and the width varies from 56 to 143 miles. The highest mountain in the world is in Nepal, Mt Everest, measuring 29,029 feet. Eight of the world’s ten highest peaks are in Nepal. There are valleys and ‘lowlands’ with 40% of the land between 200 to 3,300 feet above sea level.

Approximately 29 million people populate Nepal. The 2001 census identified ninety-two living languages, as well as one hundred and three distinct caste and ethnic groups.

Kathmandu is home to 2.5 million people, 2013, growing at 4% a year.  The city measures in at 19.9 square miles. New Orleans is 350.2 square miles, with a population of 378,715 according to the 2013 Census.

What cannot be measured or counted in Nepal is the heart and soul of its people.

Let me introduce you to one of them. This is Lakpa, our dear friend Tsering’s niece. She, like Tsering, was born in a mountain village. She has been living in Kathmandu for a while, studying and working. When the earthquake hit, she was sharing an apartment near Boudha with her three sisters and her mother. Her sisters and mother are now in Darjeeling. Here are pictures of where Lakpa lives now in order to keep her job in Kathmandu. She is an accountant for a construction company, which I am sure is very hard at work.

“I am staying with office’s guard’s family. They are very helpful. My tent is near my office, but sometimes there is a problem of big wind, mosquito, and rain. All people facing same problem.

“My friends are with me now because their houses are damaged in their village. Their family is staying under a tent, but they do not have enough food to eat. Their house is in Dolakha district. Most of the earthquake center is from that district. Some organization is providing food and clothes for them, but it is not sufficient for them.”

“My friends are doing puja for untimely death. Sainted being at Sindupalcho District, Nepal. This place is totally destroyed by earthquake and they are doing puja for peace”

Monsoon season begins in June, which means it has begun. The areas hit hard in the remote mountain regions are extremely vulnerable to landslides and flooding. Flooding has already occurred in Myagdi, causing more evacuations.

For more details about the dire situation in Nepal and the fact that the flow of aid money is slowing down only one month after the first earthquake, click on this site: http://www.humanosphere.org/world-politics/2015/05/post-quake-funds-for-nepal-drying-up/

There will be a New Orleans Nepal Aid FUNdraising event on July 8, in City Park! Save the date! There will be an auction with a real live auctioneer, the well known late night talk show host, John Calhoun, The Goodnight Show! If you have anything you would like to offer for the auction, contact us here at Tibetan House.

For information about effects of the earthquake in Tibet, click on this site: http://www.voatibetanenglish.com/content/article/2794215.html

Meet Three of our Artists and Artisans from Nepal

Ratna, master wood carver from Patan, Kathmandu, Nepal

The art of wood carving has been the pride of Nepal for many centuries. Our friend Michael Smith discovered Ratna, a wonderfully kind, openhearted master of wood carving. After our first purchase, he invited Tsering and I upstairs where he personally prepared the most amazing traditional Nepalese meal. We sat on newspapers in a small room, in the dark, as there was no power, surrounded by Ratna’s exquisite masterpieces, some of which made it back to New Orleans

Dragon House, Boudha, Kathmandu
This is Norbu, at Dragon House. After buying several pieces from him, he gave me almost as many pieces as gifts. This is often the case when shopping in India and Nepal. His larger thangkas are quite impressive. I can always find him in his shop creating a new piece.

We discovered Sunil in Patan on our last trip to Nepal. We went to his shop often, mostly because he was delightful, knowledgeable and clearly passionate about the artist and his art. Every time we visited with him, we found more unique and intriguing pieces. We learned that his father was a ‘lost wax casting’ artisan, and was the creator of quite a few outrageous and very large pieces in Sunil’s shop. He invited us to his home, where we met his mother and aunties while in the process of crafting a lost wax piece by caking it with wet cow dung! You can view the process in photos and the video below.

Nepalese images, ritual and domestic objects are often cast by pouring molten metal into a prepared mold. Casting is done by the “lost wax” (cire perdue) method, known in Newari as thajya.  In this process a wax model is encased in clay then melted out (“lost”) to be replaced by a molten metal.  After the metal hardens the clay mold is broken away revealing a metal replica of the wax model.


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Save the Date! – Benefit Auction for Nepal

Wednesday, July 8
6pm – 9pm
Southern Shade Gardens & Garden Study Center in the
City Park Botanical Garden
Admission: $10
Featuring John Calhoun, Traditional Nepalese Performances

Discovering Buddhism – 12 Links of Interdependent Co-Arising

Wednesday, June 3 at 7pm
$10 drop-in, Monthly passes accepted

Wednesday, June 3 for our Discovering Buddhism class we will be screening a segment of Pema Chodron’s teaching ‘Getting Off the Wheel of Suffering’.
Last month we provided live streaming of this wonderful retreat with Pema Chodron in Vermont. She offered six hours of teachings in two hour segments. On Wednesday evening, June 3, we will be viewing the first segment. If you have only read books by Pema Chodron, you will love her even more when experiencing her ‘live’! My access to these teachings ends on June 8. This is your only chance to view these teachings.

Introduction to Tibetan Sound Healing

Sunday, June 14,

“One of the world’s oldest unbroken spiritual traditions is the Bon Buddhist tradition of Tibet. This wisdom path has survived thanks to the efforts of a handful of dedicated lamas, such as Bon lineage holder Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche. Now, with Tibetan Sound Healing, we can connect to the ancient sacred sounds of the Bon practice – and through them, activate our healing potential.”

In this morning class we will be using the guided CD created by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche provided in his book, Tibetan Sound Healing: ‘The seven guided practices are designed to clear obstacles, cultivate positive qualities, and uncover your inherent wisdom.’

Visit Tibetan House at New Orleans 5th Annual PRIDE Festival

Saturday, June 20th

Washington Square Park, 700 Elysian Fields Avenue

For more information about the Festival, visit their website

Film Screenings at Tibetan House

Every Sundays at 7pm
4900 Tchoupitoulas
Suggested donation, $5

Sunday, June 7
Unmistaken Child

Running time: 102 minutes
View TrailerJune 14
Yogis of Tibet
: A Film for Posterity
Running time: 85 minutes
View Trailer

June 21
Daughters of Wisdom
Running time: 70 minutes
View Trailer

June 28
Angry Monk
: Reflections on Tibet
Running time: 100 minutes
View Trailer

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