By Cornelius Swart (Story originally appears at http://www.oregonlive.com)
The Dalai Lama will show off his science side when he visits Portland this week for an environmental summit. The spiritual leader of Tibetans in exile and a widely revered advocate of compassion and peace, he is coming at the invitation of Maitripa College, a graduate school of Tibetan Buddhism in Southeast Portland…
The last time the Dalai Lama visited Portland, he drew 25,000 people to Pioneer Courthouse Square. Most of them were not Tibetans or Tibetan Buddhists.
Dalai Lama’s visit to Oregon a reminder that we all live in one world
Maitripa College, the first and only Tibetan Buddhist college in the Pacific Northwest, will host the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, in Portland for an environmental summit May 9-11, 2013. Students at the tiny SE Portland college say the Dalai Lama’s visit could be a chance to inspire the world to change.
His appeal is broad and includes people who say they are spiritual but not religious. Many of them are intrigued by Buddhism because it offers a disciplined ethical path without a traditional belief in God. There are more than 40 Buddhist groups in Portland alone.
With the Dalai Lama coming, The Oregonian sits down to talk with experts on Tibetan Buddhism about the Dalai Lama, the connection between spirituality and the environment, Maitripa College and Tibetan Buddhism in general. Join us with your own questions at 11 a.m. Monday for a live online chat.
Our guests will be James Blumenthal, who teaches Buddhism at Maitripa College and Oregon State University; Leigh Sangster, program director at the college; and Lama Michael Conklin, resident teacher at Kagyu Changchub Chuling, a Tibetan Buddhist community that meets in Northeast Portland.
Supplemental interview by johndotcom from Tattoo Artist Magazine
John: Tell us a little about your history in tattooing…
Ms. Mikki: I began tattooing in 1987, under the ever kind and watchful eye of Professor Don Deaton of Sea Tramp Tattoo Co. I opened up my first shop April 1, 2010. Before settling down and growing some roots. I traveled extensively searching for my muse(s) and had the great fortune to work with people in this industry that were taking tattooing to new levels. My life has been worth living.
J: When did you begin meditating, and why?
MM: Actual sitting meditation began for me in 2003. I joined a Dharma group in San Francisco and got hooked on how it made me feel. Meditation grounded me. Even in hard times I found I could tap back into that space I had become familiar with while in meditation. It helped lower my anxiety when under pressure. Prior to that time, I thought, being an artist, I was always meditating. I came to find out later being absorbed in my work was being engaged in a form of active meditation. Sitting meditation is much different and its effects are profound.
J: How often do you meditate?
MM: I meditate everyday.
J: How does the process of meditation help you with creativity, tattooing and, or your personal life?
MM: Every week my lessons include a new subject to meditate upon. The last subject we studied was on Bodhichitta. I find meditating daily on death and impermanence, and emptiness has a positive effect on my over all outlook on life and how I participate within it. I had come to a point in my life that I no longer wanted to be a slave to my emotions or my ego. I wanted to have tools to better handle my emotions and not be so dominated by my reactions to the people around me. I believe having some practice in my life also helps me to minimize the distractions going on in my head, which helps me to keep better focus on what it is that I am trying to accomplish. I am able to visualize things from different view points now, that I was unable to before.
Most importantly, I have a clear understanding of my purpose when I am doing my work. My intentions have nothing to do with stroking my ego. That alone has given me a huge sense of freedom. I have a rekindled purpose in my work. One of my teachers, who is a highly regarded Thangka painter stopped signing his works in 1958. I love that. That is inspiring to me. Doing what we do, and letting it go into the universe without want for praise or the attachments that includes.
J: Is there anything specific you would like to ask the Dalai Lama?
MM: Do you believe we will be able to keep the sovereignty of our consciousness, if we proceed in the direction that the transhumanists want us to evolve?
J: Can you talk about what it means for the school to have him visiting?
MM: Having H.H. the Dalai Lama accept Yangsi Rinpoche’s request to come to Portland to speak at the environmental summit and to grace our wonderful little school is beyond awesome. It took 12 years for this to happen. I believe my school is hoping that having this auspicious visit will allow for more people in our community to become aware of what Maitripa College offers. An opportunity to recognise our higher potential as humans.
Ms. Mikki can be found at: http://fortunetattoopdx.com/artists/ms-mikki.
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