In the News: Tibetan Buddhists teach lessons of impermanence

The Tibetan Monks of Gaden Shartse Phukhang Monastery are touring the U.S. to give blessings and to create sand mandalas for teaching lessons of impermanence and compassion to Western Buddhists and like-minded people interested in multi-cultural exchanges. The sand mandala was on display at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Dieguito in Solana Beach, which hosted the event for five days.

They have traveled with their tour director, Lobsang Wangchuk since 1989, also a former monk, student and a westerner. The tour has been designed to assist with raising funds for their school of 5,000 monks.

“They sorely need more bathrooms – 500 monks share three bathrooms,” UUFSD worship associate, Livia Walsh said.

The five monks created a colorful two-dimensional sand mandala that was intricately detailed with Tibetan metaphysical symbols and elements. The literal translation of mandala means “that which extracts the essence.” The mandala is normally used during the initiation of a monk into a high form of meditation. This sacred initiation is referred to as an empowerment ceremony.

As explained in Sacred Arts of Tibet website, “Each sand mandala represents the architectural layout of the entire palace of a specific deity. There are multi-layered symbolic images throughout the ‘palace,’ where iconography, placement and color all have significance. Additionally, to the learned Tibetan Buddhist monk, the mandala represents his vision of the entire universe.”

On Sunday (the fifth day), as witness to the dissolution of this stunning work of art, the murmur of the crowd resounded above the chanting prayers of the monks when the mandala was artistically disassembled in six strokes of a dry paintbrush. Sweeping it up into a little mountain, additional sand (crushed marble stone) was added.

Geshe Lama Phunsho (received full ordination from His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama) said, “This sand was brought from India and has been blessed by a 1,000 monks. It can be used anywhere you need protection, or if you would like to give a blessing of healing to a special place on earth.”

The monks then placed the sand into tiny packets, which were distributed to everyone present. With heads nodding all around in understanding and acknowledgment, open palms – young and old – reached out in anticipation. All that remained was a blue table with a faint permanent geometric template drawn upon it.

Adhering to the Buddhist principle that life is transient (“all things are impermanent”) the monks concluded their lesson by inviting all to join and place the sand in the ocean as an offering to purify the surrounding environment.

Among the surfers, boogie boarders and sunbathers at Seaside Beach, Geshe Lama Phunsho, Lobsang Khamchuk Rinpoche and Geshe Karma Yeshi released the mandala to the wind and sea.

Interested local residents can still see the monks in downtown San Diego through July 24 before their return to India. Visit

Article written and published by Jeanne Ferris in Del Mar Times.

Aug. 28 — Auction Beach Party

Come join Shawn Anderson, Heather Stroud, Betsy Gilpin and Niel Lynch at the annual auction beach party on Sunday, August 28th, 4:00PM at Moonlight Beach. The fare will include hamburgers, turkey burgers, hot dogs (chicken) and vegie burgers with a variety of salads, drinks and deserts. Niel Lynch is the chef. $10/person or $25/family (whichever is less).

You may have already paid at the time of the auction. If not, pay at the event but be sure to call or email Betsy Gilpin (760-230-2515 or or Heather Stroud (858-342-3146 or to sign up so we know how much food to provide.

July 10 — Kitchen Volunteer Appreciation Brunch and Orientation

Our Kitchen Committee has NEW LEADERSHIP! Thank you Deb Ploeser for taking the lead as Kitchen Manager. Well known for her refreshing iced coffee drinks and casually elegant Sunday Gathering Hour platters we are excited she accepted this leadership position! Please stop by and welcome her to this new role!

Deb is responsible for maintaining our eco-friendly kitchen supplied and well stocked to serve our members and visitors on Sundays. She is already busy cleaning & organizing as we plan for a busy year ahead.

Curious about volunteering in the kitchen? Please drop in for a kitchen volunteer appreciation brunch and orientation on July 10th after service.

For details or to sign up for orientation contact

July 13-17 — Sand Mandala Exhibition and Events

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Dieguito (UUFSD)

Join us for a series of events including an Interfaith discussion panel, lectures, meditation, a Tibetan Family Day and the artistic creation of a sand mandala.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR EVENT, please go to Sign Up Genius to Volunteer and to RSVP:

Download PDF Flyer of event here

July 8 — Invitation to The Willage

We’ve heard it a million times — it takes a village to raise a child. But a whole lot of us raising children in the modern world are left wondering: Where’s our village?

“I miss the village I never had,” writes Bunmi Laditan. “… You’d know me and I’d know you. I’d know your children, and you’d know mine. Not just on a surface level — favorite foods, games and such — but real, true knowledge of the soul that flickers behind their eyes. I’d trust them in your arms just as much as I’d trust them in mine. They’d respect you and heed your “no” …. I miss that village I never had. The one we traded for homes that, despite being a stone’s throw, feel miles apart from each other. The one we traded for locked front doors, blinking devices and afternoons alone on the floor playing one-on-one with our little ones.”

It’s time we stop longing for the village and “will” one into being. Consider this your invitation to The Willage, a group of UUFSD parents, grandparents and friends who understand that we all need one another to get by. Our first gathering will be a “Too Tired to Cook Potluck” on Friday, July 8 from 6-8:30 p.m. Bring a dish to share (No judgment! Take-out welcome!) and meet at Founder’s Hall. We’ll trade off watching the kids at the playground while others brainstorm ways The Willage can be of service to families, whether its group beach outings (work together to minimize the schlepping!), post-Sunday service co-op childcare, “adopt-a-grandkid” for the day… the sky is the limit.

Date/Time: 7/8/2016 from 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM
Location: Founder’s Hall/UUFSD Playground

July 7 — Food Bank Night

Join Us! Just 20 minutes from UUFSD. It’s always from 6:00 – 8:00 PM – anyone over 7 years old can help! Mostly we just put food in boxes on an assembly line or bag fresh produce – really easy, no lifting, no bending, great camaraderie. In June we bagged over 9,000 lbs. of oranges and potatoes that were given to those-in-need the very next day – in JUST 2 HOURS!

This is a wonderful way of helping locally those in need and strengthening our UUFSD community as well. The San Diego Food Bank distributes over 20 million pounds of food annually to individuals, families and a network of nonprofit organizations that work to alleviate hunger throughout San Diego county. They need our help!

For more information and to Register you MUST contact Sara Ohara for the special UUFSD Group code: