18 September (Monday): rainbow blessings

Today in the temple, the electricity went out in the middle of the public program. Suddenly, the experience shifted dramatically. The lighting was more sombre, the feeling more calm, the chanting became much more evenly distributed. Instead of the one voice pouring through the speakers and radiating through our chests, there was a swell of softer voices, often with a single voice rising, like a soloist, slightly above the others–like a descant in a minor key. Jeremy and I were both reminded of the music of Eric Whitacre–complex harmonies, a murmuration of voices.

It was also one of those days where the light seems tangible, reaching down from the heavens to touch us more directly.

Monks walking through the arch of a rainbow. “You can’t get much more auspicious than that,” I said to Norbu Choden, and she agreed.

There was a giddy feeling all around the temple grounds as monks and lay people prepared for the coming end of the retreat. People stood around chatting with friends

Norbu Choden with monk friend

as decorations were hung

and the sun picked out the face of the temple in gold.