Today I spoke with my teacher Leslie Rinchen-Wongmo for the first time after she returned from taking a tour group to India to explore all that India has to offer including places where she studied and worked for so many years. I was aware that despite me living in Melbourne, Australia and Leslie living on the other side of the world in California, USA I had a strange sense of peace knowing she was ‘home’ (her home). I often wonder at the connection we can have with people near and far and how we assume that to have a connection we have to know them at all.
After my chat with Leslie I decided to take new direction with a project I was working on. This meant that much of my afternoon was about wrapping cords for this new project and as I did so, I started to reflect on the many small imperfections of the thread. The thread is Varanasi silk thread, the same thread used in the authentic Tibetan applique thangka’s. As I wrapped my third cord I wondered about the man or woman in Varanasi, India, that had spun this thread or wrapped this spool and whether they experienced the same fatigue that I sometimes experience. Did their hands cramp a little with age and use? Did their eyes sometimes just get tired, and did they close their eyes and breathe just for a moment and savor the relief that came in that moment? Did the light fade in the same way in the late afternoon and pose the same challenges for the naked eye to discern detail? Did this small inconsistency in the thread occur for any of these reasons?
For a beautiful moment I totally empathized with an older woman sitting on the ground surrounded by ‘life’ working hard for small gains. My fatigue was her fatigue, my cramping hands were her cramping hands and my tired eyes were her tired eyes ….and so blessed with glasses, magnifying lamps, lights and other comforts, I was so humbled and honored to be working with this precious authentic thread and so very grateful for all its imperfections. Thank you to the person that made this thread, for all your hard work, who ever and where ever you are.May you be free from harm and danger May you be free from mental suffering May you be free from physical suffering May you take care of yourself happily. Sword of Manjushri – by Kerryn (Lobsang Dadrol) 2013 Project of Stitching Buddha’s by Leslie Rinchen-Wongmo