by Michael Hoinski
from the New York Times
Each morning Lama Lobtsul, the lama in residence at the Buddhist center Palri Pema Od Ling in Austin, enters the temple and performs the important task of arranging offerings of water, candles and incense in front of the rare statue of Guru Rinpoche.
This 13-foot-tall, 2,500-pound brass representation of the India Buddhist master who brought Buddhism to Tibet in the eighth century radiates like a beacon from behind picture windows overlooking busy 45th Street, across from the Hyde Park Christian Church, in a mostly residential area.
“If you make aspirations in front of the statue,” said Lama Lobtsul via Ila Reitz, his translator, “then it will be of great benefit to you in this life and future lives — just as if you were in front of Guru Rinpoche.”
There is more to the statue than meets the eye. It is filled with medicines, mantra prayers and approximately 1,000 books, including the canonical text and teachings of the Buddha. It is also heavy with flashy adornments, among them a trident with a staff made of three heads representing the three kayas, or expressions of the Buddha. In Guru Rinpoche’s lap sits a blue, white and gold kapala, or skull cup, filled with a nectar that represents spiritual awakening.