Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Geshe Thupten Phelgye

The Venerable Geshe Thupten Phelgye is a Buddhist monk and a member of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile. He has been working as the Buddhist ambassador to the Sulha Peace Project in the Middle East under the guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Known affectionately as Geshe-la, Phelgye traveled to Spokane in part through the Interfaith Council. Geshe-la also visited Vision Mountain near Tum Tum, Washington and re-consecrated a Buddhist stupa.

My friends from the mountain invited me to participate in an intercultural ceremony combining Tibetan and Native American spiritualities. I sang with the Dancing Horses drum and assisted my uncle Pat Moses with a traditional Spokane blessing of the land.

Both Geshe-la and my uncle Pat spoke about the honor and reverence they feel for the living creatures of the Earth.

Candace Finity helped to replace the Tibetan prayer flags on the stupa.

Francesca Firstwater has been a guardian of the stupa for several years.

Geshe-la also helped to replace the prayer flags.

Friends gathered to take down the poles and replace the flags.

A stupa is a place of Buddhist devotion where saintly relics are often kept. Geshe-la re-arranged many of the offerings left by the faithful and curious alike.

Geshe-la instructed Francesca regarding the proper arrangement of the stupa.

As Geshe-la chanted during the re-consecration ceremony, I felt myself transported spiritually to other places. Something about the tone of his voice remined me of Casimiro from the Amazon.

In the late afternoon, we gathered near Edward's longhouse for an intercultural ceremony.

Geshe-la spoke about his compassion for all living beings.

My uncle Pat also spoke about his respect the animals and the earth.

At the end of the evening, we sang at the drum and Geshe-la even led some of the verses. At one point he commented regarding his admiration for Native American cultures because of their similarity to Tibetan culture. "We are separated by many thousands of miles and years, but we are the same," he said.

For more information, you can read an article about Geshe-la published by the Spokesman.


Jennifer said...

These photos are just amazing, Barry. I love them. I've lost your email. Can you send it to me?? I've been wanting to write to you and Rhonda.

Barry Moses (Sulustu) said...

Hi Jen! I'm glad you enjoyed the pictures. My email is on its way. I would LOVE to hear from you.

Krystal said...

That is so neat. Thanks for sharing it.

Barry Moses (Sulustu) said...

Hey Krystal... this really was a neat experience; certainly something that doesn't happen every day.

Alex said...

Thank you for this great post. We live very near here. We've hiked up Vision Mountain via the trail head by the (beautiful) pictographs on 291. Haven't made it to the stupa yet, though. We hope to someday.


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