Mala Magazine
Issue #9 February 2017

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Losar Tashi Delek!   ལོ་གསར་བཀྲ་ཤིས་བདེ་ལེགས། Tibetan New Year, is a three-day festival that mixes sacred and secular practices -- prayers, ceremonies, hanging prayer flags, sacred and folk dancing, partying and is the most widely celebrated of all festivals  representing a time for all things to be purified and renewed.  The date of Losar changes from year to year in accordance with the Tibetan lunar calendar. This year Losar begins on February 27th.

During the month before Losar, the eight auspicious symbols and other signs are drawn on walls with white powder. In monasteries, protector deities, dharmapalas and wrathful deities, are honored with devotional rituals. On the last day of the year, monasteries are elaborately decorated. In homes, cakes, candies, breads, fruits and beer are offered on family altars.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama and other high lamas gather in a ceremony to make offerings to the high dharma protectors,  in particular the dharmapala Palden Lhamo. The day  includes sacred dances and debates of Buddhist philosophy.The second day of Losar, called Gyalpo or "King's" Losar, is for honoring community and national leaders. Long ago it was a day for kings to hand out gifts at public festivals. In Dharamsala, His Holiness the Dalai Lama exchanges greetings with officials of the Tibetan government in exile and with visiting foreign dignitaries. This ends the spiritual observance of Losar. However, the subsequent parties may go on for another 10 to 15 days!

The Visionary Lake Lhamo Lhatso is  the beautiful sacred glacial lake famously associated with pilgrimages in search of visions and guidance.  It is said that purified minds perceive the mountains and rocks surrounding it in the divine form of the Cakrasamvara mandala.   It is also said that at this lake, Palden Lhamo promised Gendun Drupa, the first Dalai Lama, that she would protect the succession of Dalai Lamas.  Since then, high lamas and regents have visited this lake to receive visions that would lead them to the next rebirth of the Dalai Lama.

The Great Prayer Festival སྨོན་ལམ་ཆེན་མོ། was established by Lama Tsongkhapa in 1409, when the first one was held in Lhasa.  People all over Tibet celebrated a two-week-long festival of prayer, auspicious rituals, teachings, and celebrations from the first new moon until the full moon of the lunar New Year. Many hundreds of thousands, perhaps more than one million, people came from near and far. This first full moon of the year is celebrated in the Vajrayana tradition as the Day of Miracles (Tibetan: 'Chotrul Duchen') to commemorate the final day of miraculous display by the Buddha which lasted 15 days....
Learn more.... 

The Fire Bird – 1957, 2017

A fiery sign that will light up every room, the Fire Bird is as dynamic on the inside as on the outside. These natural leaders have the gift of very sharp organisational skills as well as a charisma that’s hard to miss – they will find it easy to rise above, work independently, efficiently and find success.

Obsessive with details, and  critical of others, you'd have to be sure you can meet this Rooster’s expectations or prepare to be pecked by a sharp beak and scrutinized by a beady eye!

His Holiness the 16th Karmapa at Tibet House US, 2009, with Robert Thurman and translator.

Did you know...

Yönten Gyatso, the Fourth Dalai Lama was born in 1589 in Mongolia to the Chokar tribal chieftain Tsultrim Chöje, who was the grandson of Altan Khan, and his second wife Phakhen Nula.

With predictions from the state oracles and auspicious signs at his birth, the abbot of Ganden Monastery recognized him as the true reincarnation of the Third Dalai Lama. His parents, however, refused to part with their son until he was older, so he remained in Mongolia, while studying with Tibetan lamas.

In 1601, at the age of twelve, Yönten Gyatso was escorted to Tibet and four years later, in 1604 he presided over the Great Prayer Festival in Lhasa. In 1614, at the age of twenty-six, he took the vows of  full ordination from the Fourth Panchen Lama. He passed away in 1617, at the age of twenty-seven at Drepung Monastery. 

February 2    An inauspicious day to build, renovate, or move
February 10  Full Moon 
February 11   Earth-Water day has great energy and can be a happy day
February 15   This is an auspicious day to cut your hair
February 26  New Moon
February 27  Losar begins

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