In 1980 Dharmadhatu Seattle received word that His Holiness the 16th Karmapa and his party would fly into Seattle for an hour-long layover. About 15 members of Dharmadhatu (now known as Shambhala) gathered Tibetan rugs, padded chairs, brocades, a side table, tea service and traditional white silk greeting scarves. They set up a space in a quiet corner of the North Satellite at SeaTac and were able to spend short but precious time with His Holiness on his only visit to Seattle.
Dan Peterson of Shambhala Seattle was part of that fortunate group at SeaTac twenty-eight years ago. In May this year he helped prepare for the current Karmapa's visit, which brought together numerous sanghas for a massive event.
Peterson was part of a group that created intricate flower offerings for His Holiness the 17th Karmapa. Teachers and students from Senke and Sogetsu ikebana schools worked as a team to prepare over seventy (yes seventy) creations ranging from tiny tea table pieces to eight-foot theatrical installations.
Ikebana designer Steve Heck, of Nalandabodhi, wrote: "New techniques were developed for quickly and securely binding large materials, as well as creating modular works that could be constructed in one location, disassembled, then reassembled at another location within minutes."
Flower team members came not just from Tibetan Buddhist sanghas but included Daihonzan Chozen-ji Zen practitioners as well. According to Heck, in this collaboration there were no obstacles, all the flowers lasted against the odds and work schedules miraculously fell into place.
For Peterson, the vast and deep lineage blessings left by this Karmapa's visit were as precious as those he received twenty-eight years ago.
Contributor: Caterina De Re.
Photo: Steve Heck.