Saturday, July 20, 2019

a very special prayer wheel for Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche

once in a while something amazing happens.. something that can not be explained by my logic or my common sense... i am always amazed when such things happens... what amazing karma!
i must say that truly, i have no way to explain such happenings other than very good karma from past lives.. no other way to explain it :)

a close and good friend was about to go to Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche's Odiyan center for a 6 months stay and practice. a few months before he was planning to go he asked us to craft a very special prayer wheel that was to be offered to Rinpoche. of course we were so honored and humbled that such a request has arrived at our door step! holy moly....
but, we felt confident that we can produce such a prayer wheel and hoped that Rinpoche (who is a master prayer wheel maker and an advocate of prayer wheels) would like it...
so we set up to craft it. our friends request was of Ayelet to do her magic with the pyrography pen and to create the art on the prayer wheel using drawings from Rinpoche's many books. and so she did not sleep for a few days but made it! her gifted hands made this masterpiece come to life :)
inside, our fried requested the prayer wheel to have: the Mani mantra, the Vajra Guru mantra, the 7-line prayer and the Vajrasattva mantra, the Lord's prayer from the Christian faith, the Shir Lamaalot from the Jewish faith, the Surat El Fatiha from the Muslim faith, a special blessing poem from the Jewish faith and the Lakota people prayer knots for world peace. wow! what a compassion bomb! amazing....
we did as requested and the prayer wheel was made and ready for the picking up and traveling :)
came our stunning!!!
our friend left and traveled to the Odiyan center.
after about a week or so he sent us a most overwhelming message. the prayer wheel was offered to Rinpoche and he loved it! he was so happy that such a prayer wheel has been constructed for world peace and in Israel! what joy!
what an honor.... thank you dear brother for giving us this opportunity to be a part of something so amazing! we are in your debt :)

here are some photos of it and a short clip of it spinning (in my hand)

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Life of a prayer wheel maker in 2019…

I am often asked: "can you make a living from crafting prayer wheels?"
The answer is a bit complex, but in the big picture, yes. You can make a living from crafting prayer wheels.
As I break down this YES answer into little answers, you can understand what I meant by complex answer…
We live our lives each day doing something for money and we call that thing "work". We work for money… sometimes for someone else being a hired hand, and sometimes for ourselves, being a "business owners"… but all the same, we all work for money so we can live our lives… this is pretty simple and easy to understand.
I have done SOOOOOOOO many different jobs in my life… so many, that if I try to make a list, it will be too long… very interesting, but long!
Taking into consideration why we get paid for what we do, we start to understand how it all works… we do something for someone and they value our doing it by giving us money… that is how they show their appreciation for what it is we did for them… thus, getting paid… simple 😊
So, over the years I got paid different amounts by the value I gave back to society… my last "day job" was an agriculture farm manager. This required most of my time and mind space and there was little to no time for anything else… I needed to grow the best crops, fight to get paid good money for them in the market and make sure I do not spend more money than I made… boss like style  😊
After a few years of doing this I had an epiphany! Time is running out! 
My older brother got sick, a good friend of mine died of cancer and another good friend got the news of cancer… that got me thinking… life is ending. Time is running out… what do I want to do in the time I have left? Do I want to be a farmer? Do I want to be a factory production manager? Do I want to work for someone else? Or do I want to do something I believe in and find to be right livelihood?   Like a prayer wheel maker…?

The answer is clear: a prayer wheel maker.

But, as time moves on forward since that choice has been made and I have quit all my "day time" jobs, it is a continues straggle to make money to live... Israel is an expansive country to live in and expanses are high... material cost is very high and the most expansive thing we have in our studio is our time… if we take the cost of our lives and spread it over a month we find out how much money we must earn per hour…
We do what we believe in. making prayer wheels. But we rely on the kindness of strangers and if they like what we do…
We want to craft prayer wheels as long as we can so we can spread love and kindness to all beings in all realms, but that will only work if our artwork will be sold…
So, we hope for the best!
We want to thank you all for your support, through your kindness we can do what we love and what we find to be the best livelihood 

may it all work out and we can continue to craft prayer wheels! (but if not, there is always a 9 to 17 job out there)

lots of love,
Micha & Ayelet

Monday, May 20, 2019

Drupon Tsering Rinpoche's visit to Israel May 2019

Drupon Tsering Rinpoche is H.E. Garchen Rinpoche's representative and in charge of all of Garchen Rinpoche's activities and centers in Europe.
he was asked by Garchen Rinpoche to come to Israel once a year to give teachings and has been doing so since 2011.
every year, he asks to come and see us and spend time with us and we do this gladly! what an honor!!

this year he came for 5 days out of which we got to spend 2 with him.
he came to our Kibbutz on Wednesday to give an open talk to the public about the 4 mind changing thoughts toward the Dharma and about 50 people attended! it was a full house!
but when he arrived we took him to dinner in our communal dinning room and we ate on the porch. we had a gust of honor, Flerken the cat :)

later after the nice meal with Drupon and friends we went to the teaching hall which is a small sitting theater for classical music which was build many many years ago, but we have transformed it to host the teachings.

the cat came with us to the teachings and attended the whole teaching! although he slept through some of it :)

when the teaching was over, we took Rinpoche to his guest room and he slept the night.
in the morning we took him to eat breakfast in our prayer wheel studio and invited my mom and some friends to eat with us. Drupon insisted.... :)

we sat and talked for a while about Kibbutz life and how we live our lives as a community and he said it is like a Tibetan village... one big family!
after breakfast we took him for a tour around the Kibbutz. my mom took him for a ride in her electric scooter...

the first stop was the small zoo we have for the children where they are taught how to care for animals.

after the zoo visit we took Rinpoche to get a massage. again, my mom took him for a ride :)
 he got to meet people and talked to them on the way...

after his massage we took him to a very nice restaurant to have lunch. as we were driving Rinpoche asked: "where are we going?"  to a restaurant to have lunch we said... "is the dinning room closed?" no we said, why? "i like eating there... restaurants are very privet. you sit alone at the table... in the dinning room it is like eating with your family, people come and sit with you. plus i like the food, very tasty!"
oh, OK.... we learned something for your next visit! ha!
after lunch we took him back to the studio to rest for a while :)
then when it was time for dinner Rinpoche asked us to call our niece Eden to eat with us and so we did! Rinpoche gave her a nice shirt as a gift and she loved it!

after dinner we took Rinpoche to his next engagement and parted... :(
but, we are very fortunate to have him visit us and stay for a day! thank you Rinpoche for your kindness!
we miss you already :(

Monday, April 29, 2019

the peace prayer wheel story

hi there dear friends,

today i wish to share with you the story of the peace wheel and how it came to be...

after many years of crafting prayer wheels for the Buddhist crowd and practitioners with mantras printed on microfilm inside, we were asked by friends to craft prayer wheels for other faiths such as Jewish, Christian and Muslim. we wanted to craft these prayer wheels too but we did not know much about these prayers or faiths so we needed to go on learning quests to understand better the prayers we were asked to put inside our prayer wheels...
but even before all that, we needed to ask for permission to have prayer wheels made with other faith's prayers inside from our Tibetan masters. we wrote to a few of our teachers and mainly to our Guru H.E. Garchen Rinpoche to ask for permission and his answer was as clear as crystal, if this action will brings benefit by good intentions, good actions and good thoughts to those who spin it, it is a blessed activity. of course you can craft prayer wheels for other faiths!
all other masters came back with positive response and so now we needed to get permission now from Jewish Rabbis and Christian Priests and Muslim Sheiks as well. it took a few years of asking around and receiving good answers to reach a point where we could craft the first Jewish prayer wheel, the first Christian prayer wheel and the first Muslim prayer wheel. it was such joy!!!! we felt pioneers in our field :)

one day, H.E. Garchen Rinpoche came to Israel to give teachings and we both went to the retreat.the teachings lasted 6 days and we got to meet many of our Sanga's friends. one of them came up to us at one of the coffee breaks and sat next to me while i was spinning my prayer wheel. we talked for a while about his clinic and his vision of uniting Arabs and Jews together and then he asked something that we were never asked before! can he have a multi faiths prayer wheel for world peace? wow.... what a  concept! we never thought to combine them all in one wheel! ha!
he wanted a big wheel outside his clinic and so he wanted to build a special gazebo for it as well with a mosaic floor... a real big project!
we have never crafted  a prayer wheel this size so we needed to think what to do... i did not have the right tools at that time to do the job so we thought of a clever way to make it happen... i asked for help from my very talented friends who came up with awesome solutions to help this wheel come to life...
as we progressed through the project we had many people come and help us. we wanted to share this great merit with as many people we could so we asked in our community, who would like to help? even just come in and screw one screw, a stroke of a brush of coating... anything! and so, many came and took part in this project! wow... it was amazing!
finely, the wheel was made and ready to be placed in its new home. since prayer wheel this size need a Tibetan Lama or Rinpoche to "activate" them, we had the finish dead line with the arrival of Chamtrul Rinpoche to Israel. we drove at night and worked for a few hours to set the wheel in place so that in the morning it could be ready for the ceremony.

as promised, Chamtrul Rinpoche arrived and so did many other people who came to see this first ever made world peace prayer wheel being consummated.
the ceremony was amazing and we all were so very excited and joyful!

after that, peace prayer wheels became something we decided to do on a regular basis. after all, we live in Israel, we craft different faiths prayer wheels, why not peace wheels which combine them all?
again, we asked H.E. Garchen Rinpoche for his advice since he is always talking about world peace and how we should respect the other faiths and their followers...
he loved the idea! so now, i just needed to craft a special design for this wheel, a new and awesome design that would fit a peace prayer wheel...
some time ago a practitioner asked us to craft a tabletop prayer wheel that is suitable for his wife who is bedridden. they wanted a traditional design but i thought about this and realized that a traditional prayer wheel design would topple over on a bed while trying to spin it... something new needed to be created...

after much thought i realized that a round, sphere like prayer wheel would do the best job since it can be spun lying down and no matter what you do with your hand, it will spin! ha!
and so that was what we did... it took me some many nights lying in bed thinking how to accomplish this new task of creating a round prayer wheel... how to lathe it, how to mount bearings on it... not an easy task it was! but finely, i figured it out and the first round tabletop prayer wheel was made!

sometime after that, i was driving back home from somewhere and suddenly i realized i know how to make a handheld round prayer wheel! the peace wheel!!!! it would be round! that is so world peace! round, world, peace... it all came together and the handheld and tabletop peace prayer wheel were born!
of course we offered one to Garchen Rinpoche when he was in Israel last October and he loved it!

what a long and amazing journey it has been to reach this point in time!
on the following November we went to the USA for the Vajrakilaya retreat about which i wrote a few posts but i did not tell you all the story of how my handheld peace wheel made such an impact! everywhere i spun it it got such amazing reactions from whomever saw it!

and now, we were asked by H.E. Garchen Rinpoche to incorporate the Drikung Kagio logo on it as well and the first few prototypes are on Ayelet's desk right now! will post some photos once they are done!

now comes the story of how we got to incorporate the Native American prayer knots into our peace prayer wheels.
when we reached Garchen Buddhist institute we met a very nice lady who loved our peace wheels and wanted one for herself, but she asked us if we can place Native American peace prayers inside as well? i told her that i think i know just the man to help me with this project, my former boss when i worked in Boulder back in 1999, he told me then that he had a connection to the Native Americans but it will not be easy to get something from them.. so he said back then :)

as we reached the last part of our USA tour, we got to Boulder Colorado where i was directed to find my old boss's house where he has a grounds keeper who should be able to help us find a Native American peace prayer for our peace wheels.
we drove unannounced to his home and knocked on the gate to the garden. Paul came while talking on the phone and asked who we were? i told him that Martin sent me and his eyes lit up! sure! come in! he said and led us through the gate all the while still on the phone... "walk around, i will be with you shortly" he said and walked away. we walked around this amazing unbelievable beautiful Zen garden whit bonzi trees and a small lake, two yurts and small stone benches.

finally Paul came and introduced himself and showed us around the grounds. he took us into the yurts to show us the temples. one was a Zen temple and one a Tibetan Buddhist temple... we immediately felt at home :)
we talked for a while feeling like we just arrived home and that Paul was waiting for us... although we just met a few minutes ago...
you know this feeling? hahahaha!

after we finished the tour of the grounds, Paul asked us if we wish to see something really cool and we said yes! he than led us to the forest in the back of the garden where an authentic real sweat lodge was nestled between the trees.

 Paul then told us his life story which was quite unreal i must say! he told us how he spent more than 30 years with the Lakota people and how they took him in and let him be a part of their tribe, teaching him the ways of the Native Americans... his story brought tears to all of our eyes and we all hugged him and he got very emotional... we all were...
we then told him our story and how we came to come to him to learn a Native American prayer for peace and he told us to come with him to the house and he will teach us.
as we walked back, we saw a dead cat in the middle of the lot... a big white dead cat just laying there... Paul asked if it was ours and we said no... we walked to it and realized it has just died in the past few minutes since it was still warm and soft... we stood above this dead cat trying to figure out what has happened when we came to the conclusion that he must have got hit by a passing car and walked down to where we found him and died. we all felt like this was a sign, like this cat knew where to die... maybe a past life friend of us all... who knows...
i told Paul that we can help him bury it since we are on the burial comity back home and this is one of our duties.. he was very surprised and was also glad! sure thing he said! i will get a shovel!

we preformed a beautiful ceremony for the cat and buried it.

we then walked back to the house where Paul showed us how to make prayer knots called Wapatkas. he explained the whole story and meaning behind it all... it was fascinating!

we then told Paul that as soon as we get home and make more of these prayer knots we will craft a peace prayer wheel for him to give to the Lakota people in thanks for the knowledge he gave us... he was very happy :)

we all said our goodbys, not quite sure how it all came to be, how did we find each other and why...

back home, we made new Wapatkas for our new peace wheels and crafted one for Paul to give to the elders. i chose to craft something i never did before, a shape that will honor the Lakota people. a Tipi shaped wheel!

    and so, our peace prayer wheels got upgraded! now we will make many more!
thanks to all the good folks who helped us through the journey!

lots of love to you all!