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June 18, 2006


I surmise that a Buddhist blessing is no different from another kind of blessing, since, from the Buddhist point of view, God does not exist, therefore Christian blessings are as effective as the Buddhist blessings.

So the sole question would be "What is a blessing?" I guess it is like a prostration and a mandala offering at the same time, inspired by a presence (physical or not) we feel devotion for. To say that we receive a blessing may well just be a way of speaking, as it actually would be giving up hope and fear altogether -- something extremely difficult without someone or something that help us forget ourselves.

What beautiful pictures! Those halmonis (grandmothers) are gorgeous, truly.

I still have trouble being bowed to, whether in public or at the temple, whether formally receiving someone or informally running into someone outside on the street... That feeling of "nothing special" is strong. But part of the function of the sangha is to be visible not at "ourselves"--my teacher said in her Dharma talk today, "Sunims shit too!"--but visible as articles of faith (and she quickly added, "But don't go about discussing this!"). It's strange and hard for me as an American, although my Korean sisters seem to handle the dualism much better.

Still, a blessing given is a blessing given, and wonderful.

Well, my two cents worth is that you are like tech support. Maybe a blessing is like rebooting? Who do you go to but someone who looks like they know?

Sniff. When am I going to learn not to read this without a tissue handy?

My feeling about a blessing is that it is, at its base, the expressed and heartfelt desire of one for the utmost well-being of the other. The expression make take any number of forms, of course :)

I'm looking forward to living vicariously in Mongolia through you for the next several months! I made it to Terelj too, and it's a lovely site.

The blessing comments bring up something I wondered. I noticed that when Mongols are given a book as a gift they touch it to their heads. Is this also a type of transmission? If only I could hold Poppe's 'Classical Mongolian Grammar' up to my head and achieve wisdom! Or at least a better understanding of the genitive tense!

It is humbling to think about the many gifts the Buddhist lifestyle offers. My family and I have received more blessings than can be counted. May all in the world be blessed with virtue and auspiciousness -- Sarvam Mangalam [may all beings be blessed with happiness]!

I would love to know your answer to that question, Konchog. Me, I'm thinking somewhere in between the tech support idea and the wish for another's utmost wellbeing.

And now I'm going to go wipe my eyes and blow my nose.

When receiving a blessing, the best "definition" I can come up with is "inspiriation." Or perhaps a deepening of faith. It's that oomph to keep going and to go deeper.

I've been asked before by a Westerner or two to bless malas and even that makes me uncomfortable. I always say I don't personally have any blessings to give, but that I can chant some mantras and blow on the mala for them.

Great question, Cuzzin. As I thought about and as I thought about the blessings I have received in my life, the one thing they all seemed to have in common was an element of surprise. A blessing always seems to be something unexpected yet perfect in that moment.

A blessing is a shared moment. That fleeting instant of connection, understanding and appreciation. You can share the moment with another human, an animal, or whatever higher being you happen to believe in.

I think a blessing is something that opens your heart a tiny crack more. The true blessing is not the event itself, it is the opened heart.

Wow. It's so amazing to be on a different time track from the Western world. I go to sleep and when I wake up all of this activity has taken place! All of you have so wonderfully expressed different facets of the idea of 'blessing' that honestly I have nothing to add. In fact, you've added to *my* appreciation of the word. What a blessing!

Carol -- I wouldn't say the book-to-head thing is a transmission. I've always understood it as a gesture of respect for the contents of the book, ie "what is contained in this book is higher than me."

I have no words of wisdom to add - I just wanted to say I am so glad I found your site thru the Dulaan Project and Ryan - I am enjoying it and learning so much at the same time - thank you!

Hi Venerable =) It's Kevin (samvega_pasada) from e-Sangha. I was just reading your blog and i must say i love it! Many blessings and thanks for the great stories.


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Mongolia Bird List: "L" = Lifer

  • Amur Falcon -- L
  • Arctic (Hoary) Redpoll -- L
  • Arctic Warbler -- L
  • Asian Brown Flycatcher -- L
  • Asian Dowitcher -- L
  • Asian Short-toed Lark -- L
  • Azure Tit -- L
  • Bank Swallow
  • Bar-headed Goose -- L
  • Barn Swallow
  • Bean Goose -- L
  • Black Grouse -- L
  • Black Stork -- L
  • Black Woodpecker -- L
  • Black-billed Magpie
  • Black-eared Kite -- L
  • Black-headed Gull -- L
  • Black-tailed Godwit -- L
  • Black-winged Stilt
  • Blyth's Pipit -- L
  • Bohemian Waxwing -- L
  • Booted Eagle -- L
  • Brown Shrike -- L
  • Carrion Crow
  • Chinese Penduline Tit -- L
  • Chukar -- L
  • Cinereous Vulture
  • Citrine Wagtail -- L
  • Coal Tit
  • Common Cuckoo
  • Common Goldeneye
  • Common Greenshank -- L
  • Common Kestrel
  • Common Merganser
  • Common Pochard -- L
  • Common Raven
  • Common Redpoll
  • Common Redshank -- L
  • Common Rosefinch -- L
  • Common Sandpiper
  • Common Shelduck -- L
  • Common Snipe -- L
  • Common Starling
  • Common Swift
  • Common Tern
  • Crested Lark -- L
  • Curlew Sandpiper -- L
  • Dark-throated Thrush -- L
  • Daurian Jackdaw -- L
  • Daurian Partridge -- L
  • Daurian Redstart -- L
  • Demoiselle Crane -- L
  • Desert Warbler -- L
  • Desert Wheatear -- L
  • Dusky Thrush -- L
  • Dusky Warbler -- L
  • Eared Grebe
  • Eurasian Bullfinch -- L
  • Eurasian Coot -- L
  • Eurasian Curlew -- L
  • Eurasian Griffon
  • Eurasian Hobby
  • Eurasian Jay
  • Eurasian Nutcracker -- L
  • Eurasian Nuthatch -- L
  • Eurasian Skylark
  • Eurasian Sparrowhawk
  • Eurasian Spoonbill -- L
  • Eurasian Three-toed Woodpecker -- L
  • Eurasian Tree Sparrow
  • Eurasian Treecreeper -- L
  • Eurasian Wigeon -- L
  • Eurasian Wryneck -- L
  • Eyebrowed Thrush -- L
  • Falcated Duck -- L
  • Fork-tailed Swift -- L
  • Gadwall
  • Garganey -- L
  • Godlewski's Bunting -- L
  • Goldcrest -- L
  • Golden Eagle
  • Gray Heron
  • Gray Wagtail -- L
  • Great Cormorant
  • Great Crested Grebe
  • Great Gray Shrike -- L
  • Great Spotted Woodpecker
  • Great Tit
  • Greater Short-toed Lark -- L
  • Greater Spotted Eagle -- L
  • Green Sandpiper -- L
  • Green-winged Teal
  • Greenish Warbler -- L
  • Hawfinch -- L
  • Hazel Grouse -- L
  • Hen/Northern Harrier
  • Herring Gull
  • Hill Pigeon -- L
  • Hoopoe
  • Horned Grebe
  • Horned Lark
  • House Sparrow
  • Isabelline Shrike -- L
  • Isabelline Wheatear -- L
  • Kentish (Snowy) Plover -- L
  • Lesser Spotted Woodpecker -- L
  • Lesser Whitethroat -- L
  • Little Bunting -- L
  • Little Owl -- L
  • Little Ringed Plover
  • Long-tailed Rosefinch
  • Long-tailed Tit
  • Long-toed Stint -- L
  • Mallard
  • Marsh Sandpiper
  • Meadow Bunting -- L
  • Mew Gull -- L
  • Mongolian Finch -- L
  • Mongolian Ground-jay -- L
  • Mongolian Lark -- L
  • Northern Lapwing -- L
  • Northern Pintail
  • Northern Shoveler
  • Northern Wheatear
  • Olive-backed Pipit -- L
  • Oriental Plover -- L
  • Oriental Reed Warbler -- L
  • Oriental Turtle Dove
  • Pacific Golden-plover -- L
  • Paddyfield Warbler -- L
  • Pallas' Reed Bunting -- L
  • Pallas's Leaf Warbler -- L
  • Pallas's Sandgrouse -- L
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Pied Avocet -- L
  • Pied Wheatear -- L
  • Pine Bunting -- L
  • Pine Grosbeak -- L
  • Pintail Snipe -- L
  • Red (Common) Crossbill
  • Red-billed Chough -- L
  • Red-crested Pochard -- L
  • Red-flanked Bluetail -- L
  • Red-necked Grebe
  • Red-throated Flycatcher -- L
  • Richard's Pipit -- L
  • Rock Dove
  • Rock Sparrow -- L
  • Rook -- L
  • Ruddy Shelduck -- L
  • Ruddy Turnstone
  • Ruff -- L
  • Rufous-tailed Robin -- L
  • Saker Falcon -- L
  • Scaly Thrush -- L
  • Sharp-tailed Sandpiper -- L
  • Siberian Accentor -- L
  • Siberian Rubythroat -- L
  • Smew -- L
  • Spotted Flycatcher -- L
  • Spotted Redshank -- L
  • Steppe Eagle -- L
  • Swan Goose -- L
  • Temminck's Stint -- L
  • Thick-billed Warbler -- L
  • Tree Pipit -- L
  • Tufted Duck -- L
  • Twite -- L
  • Upland Buzzard -- L
  • Ural Owl -- L
  • Water Pipit -- L
  • White Wagtail
  • White-cheeked Starling -- L
  • White-naped Crane -- L
  • White-winged (Two-barred) Crossbill -- L
  • White-winged Scoter
  • White-winged Tern -- L
  • Whooper Swan -- L
  • Willow Tit -- L
  • Wood Sandpiper -- L
  • Yellow-billed Grosbeak -- L
  • Yellow-browed (Inornate) Warbler -- L