Post submitted by Thubten Rinchen Palzang from Sedona, Arizona:
ChotrulDuchen, the major Buddhist holiday which commemorates the 15 days of miracles performed by the Buddha to arouse devotion in his followers, dawned sunny with bright blue skies in Sedona. At the Amitabha Stupa, members of the Sedona sangha gathered to begin their day-long practice. It is said that all virtue (and non-virtue) is multiplied 10 million times on such a day. It is a good day to practice.
As the practice began, a hawk swooped low past the stupa. Later, as practitioners circumambulated the stupa, an eagle soared high overhead, making clockwise loops around the stupa. These were considered by those present to be auspicious signs.
As the day progressed, the sky clouded over, the wind picked up, the temperature dropped, and more and more people kept showing up at the stupa. At 3:00 pm those who gathered began the Shower of Blessings, a devotional practice dedicated to Guru Rinpoche. Some forty people were present, many of whom had read about the event in the local paper, The Red Rock News. Most had never done a Buddhist practice before, but they were drawn by the opportunity to say prayers for Japan as well as their own spiritual yearning.
In the dedications that preceded the practice, a number of people revealed that they had some close connection with Japan and the Japanese people and had come to pray for them especially. Special prayers from Chatral Rinpoche, one of the Nyingma school’s most highly respected lamas, were done, prayers which were especially chosen for the situation in Japan and the imminent nuclear danger there. The tsog food offering was abundant, and the mood serious. Many circumambulations of the stupa were completed. Following the practice, the mood shifted to one of celebration as the food offering was enjoyed.
May devotion arise in all sentient beings, and may all come to know the blessings of Lord Buddha!