Building My Enlightenment

Amitabha Stupa3-4Many profound opportunities presented themselves during my ordination as a Buddhist nun. One such opportunity was to serve as the spiritual arts director for the birth of the Amitabha Enlightenment Stupa. It was 2004 and I lived where I live now – in paradise. I am of course referring to living in the beautiful red rock country of Sedona, AZ. Ground was broken for this project in West Sedona, just under Chimney Rock. As the arts director, I was responsible for the design and creation of the sculptural elements of this sacred monument. This included the sculpture of the Buddha that sits in the gau (the portal or opening at the heart of this Buddhist monument).

The placement of the stupa and many of the design choices in a project of this nature are primarily informed by the Tibetan texts and the specific instructions of the spiritual master overseeing the event. Although the artist must adhere to specifics of the tradition, there is room for creative expression in many of the artistic elements such as the lotus petals, the embellishment of the face of the gau and the umbrella that crowns the spire as well as in many of the finer details. The structure itself has prescribed proportions that represent a sacred mandala. There are ceremonies and prayers of offering, intention and dedication that are performed at each step.

The construction of a stupa is a spiritual event that involves many people, a qualified spiritual master and a great deal of devotion. It has been my honor and my privilege to work with some amazing and talented people, big of heart and long on loving commitment. It has been a profound blessing to be involved in the creation/construction of many stupas here in the United States.

“When you build a stupa, you are building your own Enlightenment”


-Venerable Gyaltrul Rinpoche


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Contemplating Impermanence

MB Manadala CenterDiversity Reigns! In my life and the programs at Goldenstein Gallery. The first weekend in April featured Tibetan Monks from the Gaden Shartse Monastery. Touring the United States to raise money for a hospital in Southern India, they were here to offer the blessing of the Medicine Buddha Sand Mandala to Sedona, the surrounding area and all it’s residents. A personally empowering experience for me with my profound connection to the Buddhist tradition, the ordained and the sacred arts, I found it extremely nourishing.

The opportunity to contemplate impermanence is life changing. After long days are spent carefully creating the mandala with fine grains of colored sand and many prayers, it is swepted away, carried to the creek and spilled forth to bless the water, the land and all the inhabitants of the area. A practice not easily understood by the Western mind. Many wonder, “can’t we keep it?” The monks told stories of people asking to buy it, to pay not to have it destroyed. The practice of the sand mandala gives us the opportunity to contemplate the cycle of life; all that comes into form eventually dissolves, returning to the formless. It is a practice of letting go, seeing and accepting the world as it is.

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The Wild!

I promised a brief story about the “Other Flutter” and I will get to that but first I wanted to share about another great event at the Goldenstein Gallery! I show there. I work there. The place is a hot spot in Sedona and especially on the First Friday of each month. The First Friday of each month is the Art Walk here in Sedona. The association of galleries hires the trolley to take visitors to the different galleries around Sedona, they are all lovely and I encourage you to visit each and every one of them.

Goldenstein Gallery is a ‘must stop’ stop on the tour. We have an eclectic and contemporary collection of fine art by local and regional artists in all media. There is a local winery that pours at the opening and live music by very talented local musicians. Sedona is a rich and lively cultural experience. Take home some art to remember your experience!

Our staff is great! Storytellers all of them. Full of fun and festive, our March show is called “The Wild.” All the ladies on staff showed up in leopard print! We had a wild time! Experience the art of Sedona first hand at Goldenstein Gallery!

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Flutter and Dance…


Flutter Dance

Flutter Dance

I am always touched when someone makes room in their personal space for my work, when they invite the energy present in the piece into their experience. When the work is collected as a commemoration of something special or even profound, I am further moved. Recently I had back-to-back experiences of a piece collected in commemoration, each with the same sculpture. “Flutter Dance” is it’s title. Three small bronze butterflies in a dance, a flutter I would call it, each beautifully patinaed at the foundry in contrasting but complimentary colors.

Six inches high, four inches wide, four inches deep, the butterflies dance in a spiral from the surface of a red rock, a little piece of Sedona. This sculpture will be cast in an edition of 35, the one pictured here is #1/35 and will soon be winding it’s way to Idaho! The couple that came into the gallery to collect this piece was so charming. This was their first visit to Sedona and they wanted a memento, a commemoration of their trip here.

The red rocks of Sedona have a lure. The landscape of Sedona is magnificent, a place like no other and the art work here is beautiful (if I do say so myself). Recently voted the number two art destination for small cities in America, second only to Santa Fe, the art here reflects beautifully the magic of our precious city and is a perfect something to take back home with you to remind and enjoy.

The couple looked carefully at the work in the gallery and found their attention captured by the little dance of butterflies. They left the gallery and the husband returned a few moments later. He asked about the piece and if the artist was local. I replied that, the artist is so local, she is standing right next to you!” To that he was delighted. I explained the process for creating the work and introduced him to several other pieces I have done. Soon his wife joined us and they decided this was the one they wanted to take home with them to Idaho. Now I was delighted!

I love meeting the people who are touched by my work and love to know that it is out there fulfilling my wish for it….nourishing and inspiring the hearts and minds of others.

In the next post I will share with you the story of Flutter Dance #2. Till then, spread your wings and let your colors shine!

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