BOB ABERNETHY, anchor: Last weekend, Tibetan Buddhists celebrated their New Year, called Losar, with traditional services of prayer and purification, sending positive energy into the world, they hope, to help bring about peace. We visited the Tibetan Meditation Center in Frederick, Maryland, where Kalden Lodoe was our guide.
KALDEN LODOE (Tibetan Meditation Center, Frederick, Maryland): “Losar” means “new year.” “Lo” is “year.” “Sar” is “new.”
I wish that all Tibetans would actually keep on celebrating this Losar in a traditional way. Now that it’s Losar — my son’s third Losar; he’s three years old — my biggest concern is, what happens when my son grows up into my age and the values, culture, and religion become even thinner?
Spiritually speaking, I think it is a time to reinforce the resolutions that you have made to become a better person.
Prostration is a physical activity to accumulate positive energy, which would be restored in our consciousness. When there are more positives, automatically the negatives will be reduced and, finally, one can become a totally awakened buddha.
And, by reciting mantra, one can invoke a mind of a deity. We try to become closer to the reality of who we are — the buddhahood or the full enlightenment. Usually, we use the mala or rosary to count the mantras that we recite.
In Buddhism, in order to purify the world and find true peace, peace must begin with yourself. In order to find inner peace within ourself, we engage in purification practices.
New prayer flags are put up on special occasions like New Year or when there’s a new beginning.
We have five different colors of prayer flags. Mantras and sutras and prayers written on the prayer flags would activate special energy and would be carried throughout the world by air and wind.
We consider old prayer flags sacred, and we wouldn’t just throw it on the ground. And therefore we burn the prayer flags so that it’ll become ash. With the smoke it will carry the blessings.
Coming here, doing it all together provides an opportunity for the Tibetans to celebrate this in a spiritual way with their family and pass on the tradition to a new generation.