Monday, February 22, 2010

Happy New Year!?

February 14th was a holiday. No, not the one you are thinking about with its red hearts and sweet candies, it was the Lunar New Year celebrated in many countries by many people, but most famously by Buddhists. This New Year, I was invited to the Indiana Buddhist Center where we celebrated the new year with a lovely, if sedate, ceremony. We began with a fire puja held outdoors (followed by hot tea!). We then entered the warm sanctuary filled with beautiful mandalas, cushions covered the floor, and chairs lined the walls. We all fit in the small room but barely. We listened to Geshe Jinpa Sonam chant traditional prayers including wishes for a long life for His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet who will visit Indiana in May.

The celebration closed with the collection of donations for a clothing drive, hanging prayer flags in the trees outside, more hot tea, and interesting conversations with Tibetans who call Indiana home.

What does this have to do with the Red Cross?? you might rightly ask. As you remember from Fulfilling Our Mission; translating your compassion into community action, our seven fundamental principles guide our actions, and not only in times of disaster. It is our duty to learn about our community so we can better serve one another(voluntary service, impartiality, and unity). As our good friend K.P. Singh said in a recent article posted on :

"All frontiers and divides are man-created, for faiths only offer a spirit of shared humanity, message of peace, justice, and human dignity for all God’s (Great Spirit’s) Children. For one brief moment the lesson of our unity and universality stood before me and I felt may be the Tibetan Losar [New Year] and the Year of Tiger could be a new beginning for peace and goodwill throughout the lands, cultures, faith communities, and usher in a more hopeful tomorrow."

... and isn't that what we all hope for?

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