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We are getting over a billion mantras into the Mahabodhi Stupa at LMB by using microfilm, in addition to many cartons and rolls of mantra printed on paper.

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Dzambhala mantra as seen under the microscope. Image courtesy of Tai Vautier.

Obtaining the microfilm has become much easier recently because of the work of Tai Vautier and the FPMT Education Office. We can now order rolls of microfilm with exactly the mantras we need from a company called Linco Micro-Image Systems, in Clackamas, Oregon. Linco has set up a special website for this at www.buddhistmicrofilm.com .

Mandala Magazine published a story about Tai and the microfilm evolution earlier this year (by Donna Lynn Brown):

microfilm-machine

This is a picture of the reliable Datek 16/35 HSD classic used to duplicate the sutra and mantra microfilm master rolls. Linco, http://www.buddhistmicrofilm.com/

Getting as many mantras  as possible on the film, while keeping them legible, was Tai’s aim. At first, using an old Ditto machine, she copied mantras from Lorne Ladner’s book, Wheel of Great Compassion: The Practice of the Prayer Wheel in Tibetan Buddhism, but shrinking made these illegible. She then got the original of one set of Lorne’s mantras, which had come from the office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. This she scanned and edited in Photoshop. She managed to get an astonishing 880,000,000 manis onto a 2,000-foot (610-meter) roll of microfilm. But although the mantra remained readable, the master, due to the shape of the Tibetan letters, was too fragile to withstand the constant duplication needed to fill large orders. While this master is still available for small jobs, a sturdier one was needed. Tai worked long hours in Photoshop to thicken some parts of the Tibetan letters and spread others apart, in effect designing her own font in order to create mantras that were readable after reduction, and didn’t cause the film to weaken with heavy use.

Tai’s Photoshopped images turned out well, but the files had too much data to be sent digitally to a microfilm camera. They had to be printed. Even the best printers bleed when letters are that small. And no matter how smooth the paper was, its grain distorted the tiny letters. Tai persevered. She discovered she could send her images digitally to a machine that used a highly sensitive photomultiplier tube. With this, a page of miniature mantras could, like a photo, be developed and printed on completely smooth 11” x 14” (28 cm x 36 cm) paper. This was photographed and printed onto a 5/8” (16 mm) frame of microfilm. Each mantra, at this point, was no larger than the tip of a hair and visible only by microscope.

Just how small could they go? In her passion for numbers, Tai worried that she might be shrinking the mantras too much. She consulted Lama Zopa Rinpoche. Size didn’t matter, he said, as long as the mantras remained perfectly clear under magnification. To improve quality, she upsized the mantras slightly, going from “super high-density” to “high-density.” A 2,000-foot (610-meter) high-density roll of microfilm now holds 685,809,230 mani mantras. Over the years, she made a total of 18 such high-density masters for various mantras requested by different Dharma groups, each one taking months of painstaking labor to complete.

Read the rest of the story…

 

 

 

On the evening of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s birthday, July 6, 2015, eleven-year-old Mia Stafford began her Miles of Merit marathon to raise funds to continue building the Mahabodhi Stupa at Land of Medicine Buddha. We gathered – a couple dozen of us –  at the half-built stupa to recite the verses of praise to Shakyamuni Buddha and then set our motivation for the evening’s activities and for building the stupa – to create a powerful holy object to benefit sentient beings.

Mia Stafford runs laps around the Eight Verse Loop Trail to raise funds for the Stupa Project. Photo by Jake Nabutovsky. July 6, 2015.

Mia Stafford runs laps around the Eight Verse Loop Trail to raise funds for the Stupa Project. Photo by Jake Nabutovsky. July 6, 2015.

Then we cheered Mia off on her run around the Eight Verse Loop Trail, while we headed off for a comfortable stroll. We stopped at each station of the Eight Verses of Thought Transformation, read the verse out loud together, listened to His Holiness’s commentary on it, paused to internalize the meaning and then walked meditatively to the next station. Every now and then we had to step to the side of the trail to let Mia pass.

Mia ran 4 laps (miles) on July 6 and will continue running about twice a week until she has completed 108 laps, i.e., miles. People have sent in sponsorships already, but there is still time to sponsor Mia’s Miles of Merit as the campaign remains open until July 23, 2015.

Group goes on pilgrimage around the loop trail, stopping at each of the Eight Verses of Thought Transformation. Photo by Mer Stafford. July 6, 2015.

Group goes on pilgrimage around the loop trail, stopping at each of the Eight Verses of Thought Transformation. Photo by Mer Stafford. July 6, 2015.

This is Kai. His mother wrote: "When Kai heard that a friend who is 11 years old is running 108 miles to raise money for a special project, he emptied his bank to donate to the cause - including the heart-shaped dollar that he got from the tooth fairy."

This is Kai. His mother wrote: “When Kai heard that a friend who is 11 years old is running 108 miles to raise money for a special project, he emptied his bank to donate to the cause – including the heart-shaped dollar that he got from the tooth fairy.”

Examples of amounts you can sponsor are:

  • $27 (for 25¢ per mile)
  • $54 (for 54¢ per mile)
  • $108 (for $1 per mile)
  • $216 (for $2 per mile)
  • $540 (for $5 per mile)
  • $1080 (for $10 per mile)

(We will accept any amount; these are just some of the pre-set options.)

We have raised $3,113 so far through Miles of Merit (as of July 8, 2015). Our goal for this campaign is 108×108 = $11,664.

 

Gathering for the Extensive Light Offering practice and long life prayers. Photo by Ven. Tsomo. July 6, 2015.

Gathering for the Extensive Light Offering practice and long life prayers. Photo by Ven. Tsomo. July 6, 2015.

As for the birthday celebration of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the rest of us completed one lap at a leisurely pace and then returned to the stupa to perform the Extensive Light Offering practice. As the evening darkened the electric lights plus a couple of rows of tealights grew more beautiful. Then we read various long life prayers and prayers of auspiciousness. Finally, we enjoyed eating the birthday cake that had been offered in front of a picture of His Holiness on the stupa.

Light offerings at the stupa for His Holines the Dalai Lama's birthday. You can see that scaffolding has been put up to reach the higher levels. The 5th level is under construction. Photo by Mer Stafford. July 6, 2015.

Light offerings at the stupa for His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s birthday. You can see that scaffolding has been put up to reach the higher levels. The 5th level is under construction. Photo by Mer Stafford. July 6, 2015.

Keep your eye on our New Stupa Project page and our YouTube page for stupa updates. ◊

 

Dear Friends,

First and foremost we send our warm wishes to you and your loved ones. It has been a wonderfully successful year at Land of Medicine Buddha. We exist to be of benefit to others. With supporters like you we are able to achieve every goal.

This year our Stupa has finally come to be! The growth of our Stupa has been affirmation of the heart and enthusiasm of our LMB community. From January of this year when we received the permit to build – until today it has been ten months and so much has been completed! With the support of the community we have held two successful fundraisers for the Stupa. We are on track to keep pushing forward with the support of an exceptional team of volunteers and workers. Follow our progress as it is chronicled on our website and Facebook pages. See more about the Stupa Project.

Everyone at LMB wishes to express our deep appreciation for your generous offerings and support.

Generosity from the community to the dharma center is the heart tradition of helping preserve the Buddha-Dharma and allowing it to flourish. This tradition goes back to the time of the Buddha. While in the West we rarely see monks making alms rounds for their daily for food offering, we along with many spiritual and nonprofit organizations, do depend on support from our community. If you are moved to make a year-end donation please know how much we appreciate it and need your support!

See Donation Page

Efforts to make our membership program more encompassing to the wider community has been successful. Currently our most popular membership level is the Scholar level which allows students to attend all regularly scheduled classes and meditations and not need to remember to bring their wallet! If you are not a member yet, we welcome you to join us and become one. If you are a member, we hope you will continue! Memberships can be funded monthly through our website or with an annual donation by sending in a check.

See Membership Page

Please accept our sincere gratitude for the kindness and support we received from you during the past year. We hope that you will experience happiness in the coming year. May your generosity be the grounds for future happiness for you and all beings.

In Dharma,

Denice Macy, Director

& the LMB Team

5800 Prescott Road, Soquel, CA 95073
Director’s Office: 831-600-7350
Main Office: 831-462-8383

Affiliated to the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition

Land of Medicine Buddha
A Center for Healing and Developing a Good Heart