Here now and now here or nowhere

The title of this blog comes from a play on words that "now here" is also the same letters as "nowhere" just with a space added in the middle. I am always trying to get better at being in the here and now, and I've always been a bit of a joker so that is why I chose this name.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

making a tsa-tsa

Tsa-tsa, a word transliterated from Sanskrit to Tibetan (and Dzongkha), refers to the miniature Buddha and stupas molded with clay in Tibet and Bhutan. This special Buddhist art form resulted from the prosperous development of Buddhist culture, and was transmitted to Tibet and Bhutan by pilgrims from India.

Tsa-tsas are mainly used as holy oblation in Bhutanese Buddhism, and certain small ones can be used as amulets. Bhutanese people believe that making tsa-tsas is a process of accumulating merits and virtues. Tsa-tsas are believed to have the power to prevent disasters, cure illness, and provide atonement. After being empowered by a dignitary, they can be holy objects. These holy objects are always put in places that are believed to have a nimbus. Thus many tsa-tsas can be found inside stupas, Buddha statues, monastery altars, holy caves or beside holy mountains, holy lakes and other holy sites.

I got the chance to make a tsa-tsa one evening while in Gangtey. I do have to say, I was not so great with it and one of the staff ended up helping. After it was molded we placed a hole in the bottom and put in some grains.  They were blessed by a monk and the next day after drying we were given our tsa-tsa to place in a spot of our choosing.  I put mine on top of a special stupa. Usually they are placed with many other ones, and I guess I thought that there would be more in this spot, but there wasn't and mine was alone.  If you look in the third picture you'll see a small stupa like object on the ledge of the bigger stupa.  This stupa is part of a set of 108 stupas in one area on top of a mountain road pass.

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