Monday, 19 September 2011


Before I kick this Blog is earnest, I thought I'd post a little something on wossitabllabowtthen

The reason for creating this Blog is twofold. 

Firstly it is a working document - a sketch book - as my wife Lama Shé-zér & I prepare our book 'Sky Weaving' on the subject of the Namkha Practice of the Aro gTér Tradition.  We hope that some of the readership will ask questions here, and help shape our thoughts and the direction of the book overall.  For this book in particular we think this is important because in explaining Sky Weaving we have to touch on the visualisation practices of the Inner Tantras, along with the View of the Five Elements.  All this explanation has to happen as well as covering the simple and also symbolic mechanics of Sky Weaving itself.  This Blog will give us a chance to play with the depth and breadth of detail we'll need to make the book itself as effective as possible.

Secondly, early on the in preparation of the book it became apparent that we were coming into contact with a lot of material that wouldn't be wholly appropriate for the book.  This material was interesting, despite in some cases being a little peripheral or simply so academic in style as to be unhelpful to many practitioners.  That said we felt much of it might be of interest to readers.  As a result we thought we could make some of this material available for the readership of the book via a different means.  An example of this is the academic and pseudo-academic material that is already out there on the web or in print form that covers Sky Weaving.  We've touched on some of this material already in the Blog series.  Were we to include it in the book itself, it would increase the breadth of the work, and in all likelyhood made the work drier and somewhat tangential.

It's worth noting here the reasons for creating the book at all.  Firstly, it is because it was suggested by our Root Teachers Ngak'chang Rinpoche and Khandro Déchen.  At time of writing there is no generally available text on Sky Weaving in the public eye (the book by Namkha'i Norbu Rinpoche is reserved for his personal students only).  There is no particular reason for this - the core practice is not normally a 'reserved' one - so it is a shame to have no titles on this subject at all when there are hundreds of titles on things like tantric ngondro.  We're also writing the book because it is a practice that we really enjoy, and enables us to write about some aspects of Buddhism (and religion in general) which we feel are oft misunderstood - namely symbolism, and ritual.  The book itself - whilst we hardly expect to top the Amazon best seller list - will provide a secondary benefit because all proceeds from its sale will go towards the Drala Jong Retreat Centre appeal - which we blog about here.

So, having covered a little of wotitsallabowtthen we'll dive into symbolism in the next in this Blog series.

In the mean time, do feel free to ask questions, challenge or discuss anything on this Blog.  And, certainly feel free to go over to the Drala Jong Blogsite both to read, and to donate money to this cause which was inspired by Kyabjé Kunzang Dorje Rinpoche and Jomo Samphel Déchen.


  1. As I am sure you know, the Huichol Indians of Mexico and the Aymara Indians of Bolivia apparently weave brightly colored yarn on cross sticks that look very similar to namkha but they are called "ojo de Dios" ("Eye of God")

    That such a simple pattern would spontaneously emerge in very different cultures does not surprise me. I look at it as a common visual art that later confiscated by the religion of the culture and given "deeper" meaning. Not that both cultures saw some deep similar truth about reality.

    Last year my son brought home one of these which was made in his art class, for instance. Very popular in anyone touching Mexican culture as is common in the USA, so you may wish to address it up front in your book.

  2. If we cover the Gods Eye practice in the book it will at present be as a footnote. That is simply because the work isn't intended as a piece on comparative religion, and we haven't practised the Gods Eye practice so we don't have a sound basis for comment. You are right that it may be of some value to let folk know there is something out there that looks similar, in case they come across it - especially if a North American reader is highly likely to have seen the Gods Eye practice (we Europeans I guess are somewhat less likely to have done so).

    I suspect that the following work makes a similar comparison with North American Indian practice, but I've not read it because it isn't my focus:

    Gold, Peter (1994). Navajo & Tibetan sacred wisdom: the circle of the spirit. Rochester, Vermont: Inner Traditions International. ISBN 0-89281-411-X.

    Confiscated? Hmm, you might not enjoy this Blog.

    As for 'deeper' meaning - all of the meaning in the practice of Namkha - every ounce of it - is given by the practitioner. If you practice this and it has meaning, it will be because of you. If you practice it and it is meaningless, it will be because of you. It is like a poem - all the literary critics in the world can speculate on the meaning, but only the poet feels the original meaning.

    More later on this.