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.

UUFSD Supports Gun Violence Prevention

In solidarity with several “End Gun Violence” organizations, four members of the UUFSD, Judy and John Sherman, Steve Bartram and Irv Himelblau, joined more than one hundred San Diegans at Waterfront Park on June 2, 2016, for the “Wear Orange Campaign.” The demonstration and march was organized by MOMs Demand Action and was part of a national “Wear Orange Campaign.”


National ASK Day is June 21st

The ASK (Asking Saves Kids) Campaign promotes a simple idea with the potential to help keep kids safe. ASK, “Is there an unlocked gun in your house?” before sending your child over to play.

Please go to:

And read the cover page and watch the video. This isn’t just for Sandy Hook. It is for all of us. On Sunday The GVP Committee will be passing out who we would ASK for or about.

I would ASK for my nephew.

ASK logo

June 27 • BEATING THE BORDER – TUMBIANDO LA LINEA Join us to make music that crosses borders, Saturday, June 27, 2015, 12:30-3:30 pm

Bring your drum and join us at Friendship Park, at the US/Mexico border, as we create the first ever cross-border drum circle. We’ll set up our chairs in a circle across both sides of the border fence and play rhythms together to promote friendship and solidarity through music. The event is free; just bring a drum and chair. Stay for the whole session or part of it.

Monete Marino (with Mo’Rhythm) will lead on the American side; Charlie Chavez (premier percussionist SD?TJ) and Mauricio Garcia (with Frontera Negra) will lead on the Mexican side.
We will car pool from UUFSD at 11:30 am. We recommend you bring a light lunch. For more information and directions to Friendship Park, contact Irv Himelblau at

A Taste of UU – Food & Music Festival, September 12, 2015 from 4-8 PM

Join UUs from across the county at this summer celebration at UUFSD sponsored by the San Diego UU Network (SUUN). There will be great food and live music with Chalice’s Grunnion Run + other great UU musicians. Childcare will be provided (for ages 5 and younger). Registration is required — Questions? Contact Vicky at

JUNE Generosity Sunday offering is for Kids For Peace – Used Paperback Books for Children

The UUFSD has recently partnered with Kids for Peace in a successful campaign to collect used paperback books for school children in rural Kenya.

MISSION: To cultivate every child’s innate ability to foster peace through cross-cultural experiences and hands-on arts, service and environmental projects.

MISSION: A safe and peaceful world where all people respect and care for each other and our planet. Kids for Peace serves as a model and inspiration for creating this reality with children leading the way, not only for today, but for generations to come.

Roger Doebke: 2014 Tsubaki Grand Shrine Scholar!

One of our UUFSD Members is in the news!

457UUFSD Member, Roger Doebke and Interfaith activist has been named the 2014 Tsubaki Grand Shrine Scholar.

The Tsubaki Grand Shrine, one of Japan’s oldest shrines founded in 300 C.E., awards one Meadville Lombard student each year with travel to its headquarters in Suzuka, Mie Prefecture, Japan for a full immersion experience. For two weeks, the student lives and works alongside Shrine priests to learn about Shinto practice and Japanese culture.

“I’m honored to be named the Tsubaki Grand Shrine Scholar,” said Roger Doebke. “I see the opportunity to be in residence at the Shrine as a way to join my spirituality and my Unitarian Universalist liberal religion into a more cohesive unity; one that will help grow my own contemplative life and to better relate to others.”

Roger Doebke has recently completed his Masters of Arts in Religion. In addition to his academic work, Roger serves on the Board of Trustees of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Chautauqua, an organization active in the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, NY.

“Meadville Lombard has a long and cherished relationship with the Tsubaki Grand Shrine,” commented Meadville Lombard President Lee Barker. “I know Roger’s experience will deepen the multifaith relationships that have already been established through his coursework and his work with the Chautauqua Institution.”

Later this summer, Roger Doebke and President Lee Barker will co-teach Multifaith Leadership in the New America, a Meadville Lombard course at the UU House in Chautauqua. Information and registration for this course can be found HERE.

Meadville Lombard Theological School educates students in the Unitarian Universalist tradition to embody liberal religious ministry in Unitarian Universalist congregations and wherever else they are called to serve. Meadville Lombard does this to take into the world our Unitarian Universalist vision of justice, equity, and compassion.

May 16: San Diego Fires Update

As of today, Friday, May 16th, the UUFSD grounds are safe and there is no fire danger in this area. The air smells a bit smoky but Cal Fire just confirmed there is no fire danger in this area as of Friday morning. Sending prayers for all life affected by these fires, and for the crews risking their lives to extinguish them.