On Saturday, March 4, the Toronto Nalandabodhi sangha held our official Losar celebration, the auspicious beginning of the Tibetan Year of the Fire Rooster. As “Losar” means “new year” or “fresh year”, a dedicated sangha member gave our centre a thorough cleaning the evening before to let go of the old and bring in revitalized new beginnings.
The Saturday celebration began with listening to a video message from our precious teacher, Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, on how we might apply the symbolism of the fire rooster to our practice for the next 12 months. We reflected on Rinpoche’s emphasis on the paramita of Patience, since the rooster can be a mean kind of fellow, and on how we might increase our practice time which could lead to small awakenings, as symbolized by the rooster’s insistent daily morning crowing to wake us up! After the video message, we shared other possible meanings of the Fire Rooster. These included the strong fire element aspect to the rooster as symbolized by the phoenix, the bird of rebirth, which parallels the dharma goal of awakening; and the rooster as protector of the hen house, relating to the protection that our confidence in the Three Jewels of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha builds in us, helping us towards awakening on our paths of study, meditation, and mindful activity.
We then recited the Nalandabodhi Losar liturgy where we offered supplications, dedications, and took part in tea and saffron rice offerings. We concluded by joyfully singing many sangha songs and making offerings to our precious Nalandabodhi teachers.
Members shared some heartfelt and spontaneous aspirations for our troubled world, with themes that included bodhicitta; a mindful practice of love, peace and inclusiveness; gratitude for the opportunity to awaken; the importance of balancing the serious with lightness of being; more gentleness and calm when faced with aggression or ill will; and to particularly examine and work with our own inner world, our emotional landscape, since the outer and inner worlds are ultimately reflections of each other. We ended with the aspiration for longevity and health for our teacher and our greater Nalandabodhi sangha, as well as our aspiration to successfully establish our Toronto sangha permanent home in order to sustain the auspicious work of the dharma, for the sake of all sentient beings.
Our celebrations were concluded by sharing a delicious vegetarian potluck lunch where we enjoyed each other’s company and conversation.