Urgyen Sangharakshita’s 86th birthday was on August 26th this year, and it was marked in the middle of the Triratna Order Convention. We’ve recently received these photographs of the rather lovely card that was created for the occasion, plus a report from Viriyalila, who tells us all about it. She says:
“Bhante (‘Teacher’) Sangharakshita’s Birthday was celebrated on the Triratna International Order Convention a few days before his birthday on Sunday 21 August. Amitajyoti, a practicing artist working in London, was happy to accept the invitation to coordinate the design and creation of a painting on a large canvas card. She invited a host of artists and contributors to join her over the course of the convention. An art studio was made available adjacent the ‘mall’ where artists milled around, often working in pairs or small teams together.
Amitajyoti commented, ‘The card was created by eight artists and helpers during the Convention. The symbol is composed of a mandala of lotuses, vajras and flames which, amidst the blue sky, form a protective mandala in the shape of a circle around a rainbow cloud. The rainbow cloud represents ‘mystery’, ‘magical presence’, the ‘Imagination’ and most of all the rainbow colours that radiate from Avalokitesvara and penetrate the six realms of existence. Inside the card, in ‘rainbow colours’ are birthday messages from those Order Members who were able to sign it on behalf of the whole Order.’
Bhante was all smiles when accepting the card from Amitajyoti sharing that he thought it was the biggest Birthday card he’d ever received. Carried by both Viriyalila and Saddhajoti, the card stood over 1.5 meters high and spanned 2 meters when opened fully to display all the well-wishing from Order Members.
Amitajyoti continues, ‘The process of creating the card was delightful as folk came and went and devotedly painted a blue sky or a ring of vajras or lotuses… It was a great way to hang out with others and at times when there were up to three of us working on it simultaneously which felt like a true delight!’