Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Why did you chose your profile photo?

I am surprised that after nearly a year of writing this blog, no one has asked me why I chose my profile photo and/or what it means.

I found this particular image of the compassion mantra, Om Mani Padme Hum, on the Dharma Haven site. Their site provides detailed information about the compassion mantra, including a link to an audio post that pronounces the mantra out for you. “The mantra originated in India; as it moved from India into Tibet, the pronunciation changed because some of the sounds in the Indian Sanskrit language were hard for Tibetans to pronounce.” In Tibetan, the mantra sounds like this:

“Ohm ma ney paid may hoom”

“Tibetan Buddhists believe that saying the mantra (prayer), Om Mani Padme Hum, out loud or silently to oneself, invokes the powerful benevolent attention and blessings of Chenrezig, the embodiment of compassion.”

According to Dharma Haven, viewing the mantra in written form is suppose to have the same effect as reciting the compassion mantra out loud. By using this stone representation of the compassion mantra, I am hoping to incite compassion – in myself as well as in my readers.

There is another reason I have chosen this stone for my profile.

Although Cicely Saunders, a nurse turned social worker, is credited with starting the modern hospice movement when she opened St. Christopher's Hospice in London, England in 1948; the Tibetan Book of the Dead was said to have been written in the late 8th century and was introduced to the West with Oxford's first edition in 1927. This Tibetan teaching text has contributed immensely to the study of death and dying and its practical application in hospices and other end-of-life care facilities.

I do not identify as Buddhist. I do, however, use the compassion mantra stone as an acknowledgement of respect and appreciation for the impact Tibetan Buddhism has had on the hospice movement.

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