This has been a very multicultural and multi-spiritual weekend. We started off Saturday morning at a Perth rally in support of Tibet, marching sedately up and down the Hay St Mall. This is in addition to the Global Day of Action for Tibet, this morning (31st March) organized in Australia by the Australian Tibet Council.
Though I am not a full on activist, I am no stranger to rallies and protests. This one impressed me for a number of reasons, despite the small turn out. I have hung around and occasionally within the Perth activist circles for a fair number of years now, starting off with a magnificent Palm Sunday Peace rally when I was sixteen. In those days there were enough of us concerned about the issue we could circle the entire Perth CBD holding hands. My last Palm Sunday was a nostalgic meeting of less than a couple of hundred discussing what to do next. Such is change.
I am used to seeing the same, aging hippy tired faces at pretty much anything that protests anything. This rent-an-activist-crowd was notoriously absent yesterday. Most of the people there seemed to be Dharma practitioners or ethnic Tibetans (there were no Sangha visible though). Consequently the feel of the rally was very different, far more relaxed and peaceful with no obvious underlying anger or restrained frustration.
Saturday Lunch at a Japanese restaurant followed and then we saw the classic French film, Red Balloon, itself having a lovely and engaging theme of non-violence. After this we enjoyed a wonderful experience at the very special Joseph Ashton Circus, then a Thai dinner and Western magic in the evening. On Sunday a visit to the Temple of Fine Arts food fair in Victoria park. The temple is an initiative started mostly by ethnic Indians in Perth who are followers of a Hindu master, H H Swami Shantanand Saraswathi. As well as offering a wonderful, pay by donation Restaurant (named after the Goddess of food, Annalakshmi, the temple provides classes in traditional Indian dance, cooking and Hindu philosophy.
While at the Temple I browsed their second hand book stall and picked up Asterix and the Great Divide and this wonderful find: the Iconography of Nepalese Buddhism. As a child Asterix was my introduction to Polytheism far more than exposure to classical Greco-Roman mythology, and I remember pondering about the existence and nature of Toutatis and other Gods Asterix and his buddies swore by (but never seem to worship).
The second find is a lovely, lavishly illustrated and very informative work detailing hundreds of Tibetan Buddhist deities, with explanations of the various symbols and icons they are accompanied by. A scanned in version is available online (5.5MB pdf file) but to get a hard copy for $5 is pretty cool.
I about to do some more practice, some contacting of some Inner Plane teachers and then off to the Tibetan rally. Another post soon. 🙂