Buddhists Kick Off Prayer Event

July 4, 2008

Author: Peggy Fletcher Stack

Source: The Salt Lake Tribune


The red-robed members of Salt Lake City's only Tibetan Buddhist temple walked two by two Thursday evening around its west-side Salt Lake City block, one carrying a large Buddha statue, another protecting it with an umbrella and the rest waving incense, while ringing bells. It was a ritual signifying the sacredness of their sanctuary, and it was the opening ceremony of the 2nd Annual Prayers for Compassion event that the temple sponsors.

After the procession, the 40 or so members of the temple and guests prostrated themselves before the temple's shrine and laid a white scarf, a gesture of generosity, across the altar.

Sitting cross-legged on cushions before small wooden desks, they began to pray in the low bass voices, chanting ancient Tibetan texts.

The incantations launched three days of continuous praying for peace and compassion at the temple, known as Urgyen Samten Ling. They also are part of the annual celebration of the birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetans worldwide.