Labor of Love: The Journey of the White Tara Statues

THIRD in a Series

This story is part of a series leading up to the celebration of Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche’s 90th birthday in September, 2013.  At the conclusion of this year’s Ten-Day Teaching, a large shrine dedicated to White Tara, the protectress of health and longevity, will be assembled at KTD as part of a three-day White Tara Puja for the benefit of His Holiness Karmapa and all the teachers of the lineage, especially to celebrate Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche’s 90th birthday, long life and dharma activity. The White Tara Shrine will include beautiful statues consecrated by Khenpo Rinpoche. To find out more, click here.

Whitetara4The extensive journey of a sea of statues set to make their appearance on the shrine at the White Tara Puja this September is now well under way, according to May Lein Ho, coordinator of the Friends of KTD.

“I commissioned a very special statue craftsman in Nepal to start making the statues,” says May Lein, noting that the craftsman began in September of 2012. “It took him and his crew more than five months, working very hard, to make the statues. It was a huge project.”

All 155 statues were shipped to the United States just a few weeks ago, in March, which — given the need to wrap each piece with care and precision — also required quite a bit of manpower.

“We mobilized students (monks) from a nearby dharma school with their lama teacher to go to the shop to help wrap and secure each statue,” she says. “It’s about 2.5 hours of driving along the very challenging mountain ‘snail’ road to come down from their school to the shop. This is the type of help that sometimes money can’t make happen!”

When May Lein visited the Karme Ling Retreat Center in early April, she was surprised to find that Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche had already filled all of the 6” and 8” White Tara statues with mantras, relics, and blessing substances, without any assistance.

KKRinworkshop“He showed me his ten fingers. They really worked hard and were tired!” she says. “Ani (Rinpoche’s assistant) told me that during those 10 days, Rinpoche’s fingers were black all day long with glue, dust and metal residues on them. His arms were sore because he needed to hit the bottom plates hard to make them even and fit. A lot of hard work went into these auspicious statues.”

And that work represents not only the blessings of longevity for individual teachers and masters provided through the White Tara practice, but the longevity of KTD itself.

“The donations we get from whoever wants to obtain an individual statue (or donate toward the 24” one that will be given to Rinpoche for his birthday) will all be accumulated and go to pay KTD’s remaining mortgage principal,” May Lein said. “This is our hope and commitment!”

According to Lama Karma Drodhul, Rinpoche’s nephew, that commitment is very dear to our beloved teacher’s heart.

lkdandkkr“All these White Tara statues are important for three reasons,” says Lama Karma. “First, for dedicating for Rinpoche’s long life, second, for students to show their respect and devotion for Rinpoche and building or making a very special, auspicious connection to him. Lastly is to give big support to KTD, which is Rinpoche’s – you can say that KTD is his heart – because he has nothing to emphasize more than maintaining the Karmapa’s activity here.”

– Tracy Zollinger Turner, Columbus KTC

KKRBLOG2BYou can participate in the White Tara Shrine project by “adopting” one of the remaining 6- or 8-inch White Tara statues to take home after the September puja, or donating toward a 24-inch White Tara Statue to be given to Khenpo Rinpoche for his birthday. There are five 6-inch statues and 35 8-inch statues available. Proceeds benefit His Holiness’ activities at Karma Triyana Dharmachakra. Click here for details.

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