Coming Back into a New World
On April 6, 2020 I concluded my fifth winter retreat. I spent many hours each day for 104 days in my studio, doing a Buddhist meditation practice. I first encountered this sadhana, Rangjung Peme Nyingtik, in 2010 when Khyentse Yangsi, the reincarnation of the great teacher His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, came to Colorado and led this practice with hundreds of people. I recited prayers and a long liturgy that included many mantras and visualizations. Besides managing my husband's care team, the retreat also included periods of study and reading, as well as making images where I sought to give form to this practice. I call these images "tsakli" -- they are akin to the initiation cards that are traditionally used in Vajrayana Buddhist rituals.
Hayagriva, 5" x 7", 2020
Sangwa Dupa, 5" x 7", 2020
I went into this practice with the naive assumption that all would proceed as it has since I began these retreats in 2016, with about twelve hours per day in my studio while a dedicated care team took care of cooking, shopping, cleaning, and more every day. However, as we all know so well, the world changed with the eruption of the COVID-19 pandemic. The team that has helped make my retreats possible during these past years dwindled, and I needed to do daily household chores and care for David, as well as the practice. And so I did. Much to my surprise, I was able to do this, and I imagine that I shared this process with the many mothers and caregivers of the past who are also dedicated practitioners.
Note: Some of these images are very hard to reproduce because original drawings are layered with clear polyester film that accepts paint and ink.