China: Sacred Sites of the Divine Feminine

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Putuoshan Island is dedicated to the goddess of compassion, Guanyin. Above she is depicted on the central altar in Puji temple with a smaller statue of Tara below her.  Practitioners come in droves to pray for her mercy and offering gratitude for her blessings. Her large countenance creates a sense of awe when you enter the temple and there is a hushed quiet in the movement of men and women circumambulating her altar.

In September I will be returning to Putuoshan and other sacred sites in of Guanyin to guide a 12 day pilgrimage sponsored by True Nature Journeys.  Please check out: Sacred China and consider joining us!

Going Beyond Our Conditioning with Energy and Insight

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By trusting in our own resources of understanding, energy and insight we have access to the power to go beyond the boundaries of our conditioning.  We begin naturally to explore the depths and possibilities of our own being.

~ Christina Feldman

IMG_9546_lzn May you be blessed with energy and insight in the New Year!

Warmly, Deborah

P.S. Temple photos from my trip to Taiwan in 2010.

Quotes on Courage: Buddhist Women Ride the Dragon

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To live the full life one must have the courage to bear the responsibility of the needs of others – one must want to bear this responsibility.

Aung San Suu Kyi

 

It’s not that hard to be enlightened!  Just change your patterns!  All it takes is courage!

Khandro Rinpoche

 

We aspire to spend our lives training in the loving-kindness and courage that it takes to receive whatever appears – sickness, health, poverty, wealth, sorrow, and joy.  We welcome and get to know them all.

Pema Chodron

When I was researching quotes to put in my book, The Female Buddha: Discovering the Heart of Liberation and Love, I copied down many possible quotes before deciding which ones to pair with photos of Guanyin and women at temple sites in Asia.  Today I searched the collection for the word courage and found so many quotes referencing this trait!

Above are a few of my favorite quotes from women I admire for their courage to speak out and not always say what we want to hear.

This photo from my travels in Korea depicts Guanyin riding the dragon over the waves of the ocean; symbolic of the courage it takes to trust one’s basic nature of compassion and equanimity.  When our emotions are like tempestuous waves it is often difficult to remember we can stay calm in the storm.

Guanyin is often depicted calmly riding on the back of an animal.  It could be a dragon, carp, horse, lion or immense turtle.  She reminds us that we are one with the natural world and the implication that we can trust our power and strength needed to fuel courage.

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This holiday season books, photos and cards are on a tremendous sale through my website. Please click here!

Book image

 

Sacred China: Pilgrimage to Guanyin

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Announcing a rare opportunity to journey to China next September to visit sites sacred to the Goddess of Compassion, Guanyin.  We will travel together as a small group of pilgrims and practice mindfulness to enhance our receptivity, wisdom and compassion.

The image above is from the Dazu grottos where we will see many beautiful statues and reliefs carved into caves and cliff sites.  These sacred images  from the 7th – 13 centuries are well preserved and still have their original paint.  We will also visit Anyue, Qingcheng and the island of Putuoshan, dedicated to Guanyin since the 9th century.

For more information on this pilgrimage, lead by Deborah Bowman and sponsored by True Nature Journeys, click this link: Sacred China.

For those of you looking for an armchair experience and lots of photos of these rare site, stay tuned to this blog in the coming months!

“A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent upon arriving.”

~ Tao te Ching

Compassion or Idiot Compassion?

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I would love to kiss you, the price of kissing is your life. Now my loving is running after my life, shouting, what a bargain, let’s buy it!

This poem by Rumi, the 11th century mystic, is about an ego death, when we lose ourselves in love for all the right reasons; when it’s no longer about my life or your life, but loving life itself.

Yet sometimes we confuse this tremendous passion for how me imagine we are suppose to act.  When passion is infused wisdom it is called compassion. When passion is confused with how “I should be good” it’ called idiot compassion…and I had a really bad case of it!

The Rumi poem and writing above are the first lines from a TedxBoulder talk I’m giving in on Sat, Sept. 27, 5-9.  Please click on the link and come if you are in town. Otherwise it will be published about a week later on Youtube.

Hope to see you there!!!

 

 

 

The Patience of a Mother

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Patience takes courage.  It is not an ideal state of calm.  In fact, when we practice patience we will see our agitation far more clearly.

Pema Chodron

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I took these photos at the Denver Botanical Gardens several years ago when there was a show of African Sculpture in the Gardens.  This figure was one of my favorites.  The top photo shows the mother and the bottom photo shows her two children leaning against her large figure.

The quote from Pema reminded me of her patience and eternal support for her children, something the stone sculpture seems to reinforce. And what patience demonstrated by the artist!

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Click here for Female Buddha book on sale!

The Female Buddha book

The Female Buddha book

Nowhere that is not a Wisdom Hall

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I still recall, how with my bag on a pole,

I forgot my yesterdays,

Wandering the hills, played in the waters,

went to the land of the clouds.

The lift of an eyebrow, the blink of an eye–

all of it is samadhi;

In this great world there is nowhere that is

not a wisdom hall.

~ Ziyong

 

This poem by the 18th century Chinese nun, Ziyong, provided the anchor for the faculty commencement speech I gave this year the Naropa University.  I spoke about the lessons I learned from a climbing accident I barely survived in 1979. It taught me to look for the wisdom in every moment!  Please check it out by clicking on: 12 minute speech

In gratitude,

Deborah

P.S. I took this photo at Wat Arun in Bangkok.  He reminds me of the joy of living.

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The Female Buddha book

The Female Buddha book

A Deeply Composed Mind: Words of Wisdom

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Therefore, the practice of generosity is about creating space.  We see our limits and we extend them continuously and consciously, joyfully, which creates an expansiveness and spaciousness of mind that’s deeply composed.

Sharon Salzberg

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These are two of my favorite photographs of the sculptures at the Dushanbe Tea House in Boulder, Colorado.  The light is constantly changing as are the lovely plants surrounding the figures of the seven beauties.  They remind me of a spacious and joyous mind that is deeply composed and in the world.

To see some of my other photos go to thefemalebuddha.com or luminousbuddha.com

 

 

The Wisdom of Our Sacred Garden

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…there is no single savior being awaited. Rather, the savior is spread out among us, emerging from each of us as we bring the fruits from our sacred garden into our daily lives.  It is we who must save us.

Patricia Hopkins and Sherry Ruth Anderson

 

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Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love,
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

~ Saint Francis

 

The Flower Bin in Longmont is a lovely place to take photos of garden statuary.  Saint Francis, the Buddha and Zen maidens all rest serenely among fountains and colorful pots. What are you sowing in your garden this Spring?

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Book image

 

The Female Buddha…. at Amazon 20% off!

 

Love in any Language is a Blessing

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When purified of self-centeredness, passion is expressed as devotion to others, caring skillfully and utterly about their welfare; it is also expressed as joy in living and appreciation of the unique beauty of each moment.

Judith Simmer-Brown

At Doi Suthep, a large and beautiful temple in northern Thailand, I took a photo of these bells hung around the complex by practitioners.  From each bell hung a ringer in the shape of a leaf from the Bodhi tree where the Buddha first experienced enlightenment.  Prayers and blessing are inscribed on the leaf by the individual who placed the bell.

The shape of the leaf reminds me of a heart and the heartfelt wishes of the person making his or her offering at the temple.  Many are hung to commemorate a loved one and wish them well on their journey after death.  Others are asking for relief from suffering for a family member or themselves.  Some ask for the blessing of a healthy child or acceptance into a job or university. As the wind moves the bells and releases their music the wishes are sent on their mission.

Many Buddhist practitioners may make a once in a lifetime pilgrimage to Doi Suthep as it is considered a great Buddhist site.  As I joined the many men and women circling the main stupa I felt a deep sense of reverence and joy shared by all.