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Volume 16 Issue 3
September/Oct 2010

What’s Your 12 x 12? The Sweet Spot Between Too Little and Too Much

Exploring the World of Food with Your Kids

The Effects of Body Composition on Health

Emotional Healing with Bach Flower Remedies

The Planet Needs Ecovillages

Saskatchewan’s Glorious Woodland Bounty

Being Joy—Venerable Lama Losang Samten


Being Joy – Venerable Lama Losang Samten
by Lori Petruskevich

For over twenty years, Losang has been sharing the teachings of joy, compassion, and the path to enlightenment in the West.

“What is the teacher like?” I asked.

“He embodies joy,” she answered.

With these few words, I knew that a wonderful experience awaited me with a very special teacher. So I packed my bag to attend a meditation retreat at St. Peter’s Abbey, Muenster, SK, with Venerable Losang Samten, a Tibetan Lama. Thus began a wonderful and profound journey of learning about how to achieve greater peace and joy through spiritual practice.

Since that first meeting, I have been honoured to experience the compassion and joy of this wonderful Lama, whether he is leading a retreat, creating a mandala, or speaking with vendors on the streets of cities like Regina or Delhi. Losang’s contagious joy swiftly gives rise to melodious laughter, a powerful medicine. Although my spiritual journey has had difficult moments, the teachings he has shared on compassion, peace, love, and joy have helped me navigate the path with increased grace and fluidity.

One of the greatest gifts Losang shares in the West is the creation of sacred sand mandalas. The creation of Buddhist sand mandalas are exclusive to Tantra (the highest teachings of the Buddha) and until recently were never shown in public. Mandalas contain profound teachings and blessings and are created in various forms, including sculpture, painting, or from particles such as sand. In creating a sand mandala, the rhythmic rasping of the metal funnels (chakpu) accompany the silent blessings that spread onto the platform (usually four to six feet across) and gently radiate outward to those who look upon these lovely works of sacred art. As a teaching on impermanence, the completed sand mandala is swept away in a ceremonial fashion, with the blessings of the mandala being offered to a lake or river.

There are miraculous transformations that occur for those who come in proximity to or lay their eyes upon the colourful designs delicately formed from the gentle cascade of sparkling sand. In 2009, Losang was creating the Medicine Buddha Mandala, the most powerful healing mandala in the Buddhist tradition, at the Millennium Library in Winnipeg, Manitoba. After a local TV channel showed the creation of the mandala on the news, a man came rushing into the library. He briefly sat with Losang, sharing stories of his grief and anger, and, although he had never before seen or heard of a mandala, he knew it would help him. Each day he came and sat by it and felt the peace and healing energy embrace him; he said he felt softer, happier, and lighter each day. The Medicine Buddha Mandala is the same one that Losang will create this year at the Fifth Parallel Gallery, University of Regina, October 4–24, 2010.

Losang Samten’s biography reflects his extensive experience and learning, and his résumé is long and illustrious, yet his humility, compassion, and joy are a true testament to his achievements. He is reluctant to talk about being Attendant to His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama, for it may cause people to believe this makes him somehow more special than someone else (yet he smiles as he says it was an incredible experience). In addition to being a Master of the teachings of the Buddha (Sutra and Tantra), Losang is also a Master of ritual dance and the sacred art of sand mandalas. In fact, he was one of the Masters who created the first public sand mandala in the West in 1988. Since then, he has been creating mandalas, leading retreats, and guiding people in the West through the complexities of Tibetan Buddhism.

For over twenty years, Losang has been sharing the teachings of joy, compassion, and the path to enlightenment in the West. In recognition of the interest and curiosity of all the wonderful people he has met, he has written a book as a gentle introduction to Buddhism in response to common questions his friends and students have asked. This book includes many stories from his formal Buddhist studies, as well as from his personal experiences, in order to present the beauty and relevance of these ancient teachings in modern times.

Losang will launch his book, Ancient Teachings in Modern Times: Buddhism in the 21st Century, in Saskatchewan in October, 2010. In his book, Losang states:

I have written this book with the sincere hope that what I have shared on these pages is beneficial for you and supports you on your spiritual journey, whatever religious or spiritual tradition you may follow. My vision is to provide practical examples on how we can increase the feeling of peace and joy in our lives by incorporating spiritual practice in our everyday activities.

Travelling extensively, Losang is delighted to have the possibility to connect with numerous hearts and souls from around the world. He invites everyone, whatever their religious or spiritual tradition, to connect with their own beauty, joy, and compassion. During his visit, he will lead various activities in Saskatoon and Regina, where he will generously share his wisdom and joy. Please visit his website: www.losangsamten.com for updates and for more information.

From an early age, Lori Petruskevich has been drawn to ancient spiritual teachings from many cultures. Her passion lies in the area of personal healing and transformation. Recently, she has focused on community and ecological healing, primarily with indigenous communities in Canada and Ecuador. She feels fortunate to have assisted Venerable Losang Samten in writing his book, Ancient Teachings in Modern Times: Buddhism in the 21st Century. She lives in Regina. To contact her call (306) 531-7176 or email: lpetruskevich@hotmail.com. For more information see the display ad on page 38 of the 16.3 September/October issue of the WHOLifE Journal.


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