18 July 2012

A Rare Buddhist Ceremony in Queens, Paid for With a Life’s Savings

A Rare Buddhist Ceremony in Queens, Paid for With a Life’s Savings, by Sarah Maslin Nir (New York Times, 16 July 2012)

Excerpt:
one-bedroom apartment in Woodside, Queens, where they sleep in the same bed to save money. But on Sunday, they stood on a dais before an altar of glittering gold Buddhas while some of the highest-ranked Buddhist monks from around the region bowed their heads to the women and showered them with benedictions. It was the culmination of a rare ceremony where every single text of their Buddhist canon is read from morning until night by monks, who are fed, housed and paid by a sponsor until all 108 books are read.

It took more than a month. And it cost more than $50,000 — the elder Ms. Sherpa’s life savings.Completing the Kangyur, the Tibetan-language version of the sacred Buddhist texts, is done as a form of prayer for peace for all sentient beings, several monks explained. For nearly 40 days, ending last week, about a dozen monks called from around the region read eight hours a day, aloud and simultaneously, seated cross-legged in a converted brick church in Elmhurst.


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