In Tibet or N.J., life is fleeting

BY JOHN WIHBEY, Star-Ledger, September 25, 2005

Buddhist monks use art to reflect the world

New Brunswick, NJ (USA) -- For Tibetan monk Thupten Chosang, demonstrating the impermanence of the world was all in a week's work.

He and his fellow Tantric Buddhist lamas spent last week constructing and then dismantling a multicolored mandala sand painting. And yesterday they spread the remnants in the Raritan River at a packed religious ceremony in Middlesex County.

"We are dispersing the sand because we believe the sand contains many positive energies," Chosang said before a crowd of hundreds in the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University, New Brunswick.

Upon the mandala's completion yesterday, the lamas almost immediately swept away the beautiful art work. The painting symbolized compassion and the act of dismantling it represented the world's transience.

The working exhibit helped break attendance records at the museum each day last week, drawing nearly 5,000 people during the event, according to curator Alfredo Franco.

Chosang said the "painstaking" process of funneling sand into a swirling geometric pattern was meant to "reconsecrate the earth and heal its inhabitants." The five days, he said, had been "wonderful" despite New Jersey being "very crowded."

He said the local hotel the lamas stayed at is a little more luxurious than the spartan Drepung Loseling Monastery, where they live in India.

And since Chosang -- a 28-year-old who joined the monastery when he was 9 -- hardly gets to see the Dalai Lama, he's just as excited as everyone else in New Jersey about seeing His Holiness today at Rutgers Stadium in Piscataway.

The Dalai Lama is scheduled to speak at 10:30 this morning to an estimated 36,000 people about "Peace, War and Reconciliation."

Yesterday, once the mandala was dismantled, lamas gave some of the sand, colored with vegetable dye, to attendees and deposited some of it in their own golden urns. Museumgoers and lamas alike brought the sand to nearby Johnson Park.

Marching in burgundy robes and playing huge, bellowing horns and reed instruments, the lamas walked slowly to the Raritan River. Wearing high yellow hats, they chanted, sang and sprinkled the sand into the shallows of the water, the afternoon sun shining on perhaps 200 faces.

"It's a reminder that we just have to let things go," said Kathryn Glaser, 60, of Metuchen.

"I was just standing here in the shade ... and thinking this is a great experience," said Jan Reinhart, a 41-year-old Rutgers employee.

Rutgers student Alex Chan, 21, said he was thankful for the opportunity to view a different culture. "I'm glad so many people had such an open mind to see something they hadn't seen before," he said.

The lamas seemed appreciative of the large and curious crowd.

"It's a wonderful time," Chosang said. "Americans are so interested in Buddhist philosophy. They are searching for a peaceful life."

We Need Your Help to Train the
Buddhist AI Chat Bot
(Neural Omniscient Robotic-Being for Buddhist Understanding)

For Malaysians who wants to donate in MYR, please use the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB
Note: Please indicate your name in the payment slip. Thank you.

Dear Friends in the Dharma,

We seek your generous support to help us train NORBU, the word's first Buddhist AI Chat Bot.

Here are some ways you can contribute to this noble cause:

One-time Donation or Loan: A single contribution, regardless of its size, will go a long way in helping us reach our goal and make the Buddhist LLM a beacon of wisdom for all.

How will your donation / loan be used? Download the NORBU White Paper for details.

For Malaysians who wants to donate in MYR, please use the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB
Note: Please indicate your purpose of payment (loan or donation) in the payment slip. Thank you.

Once payment is banked in, please send the payment slip via email to: Your donation/loan will be published and publicly acknowledged on the Buddhist Channel.

Spread the Word: Share this initiative with your friends, family and fellow Dharma enthusiasts. Join "Friends of Norbu" at: Together, we can build a stronger community and create a positive impact on a global scale.

Volunteer: If you possess expertise in AI, natural language processing, Dharma knowledge in terms of Buddhist sutras in various languages or related fields, and wish to lend your skills, please contact us. Your knowledge and passion could be invaluable to our project's success.

Your support is part of a collective effort to preserve and disseminate the profound teachings of Buddhism. By contributing to the NORBU, you become a "virtual Bodhisattva" to make Buddhist wisdom more accessible to seekers worldwide.

Thank you for helping to make NORBU a wise and compassionate Buddhist Chatbot!

May you be blessed with inner peace and wisdom,

With deepest gratitude,

Kooi F. Lim
On behalf of The Buddhist Channel Team

Note: To date, we have received the following contributions for NORBU:
US$ 75 from Gary Gach (Loan)
US$ 50 from Chong Sim Keong
MYR 300 from Wilson Tee
MYR 500 from Lim Yan Pok
MYR 50 from Oon Yeoh
MYR 200 from Ooi Poh Tin
MYR 300 from Lai Swee Pin
MYR 100 from Ong Hooi Sian
MYR 1,000 from Fam Sin Nin
MYR 500 from Oh teik Bin
MYR 300 from Yeoh Ai Guat
MYR 300 from Yong Lily
MYR 50 from Bandar Utama Buddhist Society
MYR 1,000 from Chiam Swee Ann
MYR 1,000 from Lye Veei Chiew
MYR 1,000 from Por Yong Tong
MYR 80 from Lee Wai Yee
MYR 500 from Pek Chee Hen
MYR 300 from Hor Tuck Loon
MYR 1,000 from Wise Payments Malaysia Sdn Bhd
MYR 200 from Teo Yen Hua
MYR 500 from Ng Wee Keat
MYR 10,000 from Chang Quai Hung, Jackie (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from K. C. Lim & Agnes (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from Juin & Jooky Tan (Loan)
MYR 100 from Poh Boon Fong (on behalf of SXI Buddhist Students Society)
MYR 10,000 from Fam Shan-Shan (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from John Fam (Loan)
MYR 500 from Phang Cheng Kar
MYR 100 from Lee Suat Yee
MYR 500 from Teo Chwee Hoon (on behalf of Lai Siow Kee)
MYR 200 from Mak Yuen Chau

We express our deep gratitude for the support and generosity.

If you have any enquiries, please write to: