Special blessing for Lady Annette

MOUNT Warning Dragon Boat Club faced an anxious time trying to find some Tibetan monks to bless their new boat, but the tide turned positive on Wednesday at Condong boat ramp.

The club had hosted a number of fundraising events over an 18-month period and managed to scrape enough money together to purchase a new boat from China.

Mt Warning Dragon Boat president Chris Lonie said they had been fundraising since the club was established in October 2007.

“I am so happy we finally have the boat and we can have our blessing ceremony today; everything has smiled on us sweetly today,” Ms Lonie said.

A search for Tibetan monks to perform the christening ceremony finally succeeded thanks to a newspaper advertisement spotted in the Lismore Northern Star.

“We had been searching around for ages, and tried to get some monks from Springwood but they were too busy,” Ms Lonie said.

“Then one of the ladies from the club found an advertisement in the Lismore paper that offered monk services, so I gave them a call.

“I found out late Monday that we could have them on Wednesday, so it was pretty short notice, but it worked out excellently.”

Gyuto House director Maureen Fallon said the monks, based at Rosebank on the outskirts of Mullumbimby, often have requests to do all kinds of services.

“Sometimes they will bless houses, businesses or other things for the community and they often do ceremonies for breast cancer,” Ms Fallon said.

“One of the reasons we stay here as a base is the people in the Northern Rivers have more of an understanding of a spiritual base and people will travel to the Northern Rivers to see the monks.”

Each year six monks out of 500 from the monastery at Dharamsala – the Dalai Lama’s home base – tour Australia for 12 months.

“A few years ago in Byron Bay we did some very special work for women with breast cancer with chanting prayers.

“If people are interested in requesting a particular ceremony they can contact us through our website, gyuto@gyutoaus.com.”

The boat blessing consisted of the Tibetan monks’ traditional black tea ceremony combined with about 15 minutes of chanting – for protection, dedication of time and blessing of the boat, surroundings, inner peace, community peace and world peace.

After the chanting, chief monk, Sonam Dorjee placed a white Tibetan scarf representing eight auspicious symbols – protection, prosperity, wisdom, unity, harmony, friendship, peace and success – around the dragon’s head.

The boat was named Lady Annette, in honour of Ms Lonie’s older sister Annette Jarvis, who passed away from breast cancer.

Afterward the dragon’s eyes, horns and tongue were dotted red to awaken sight, taste and spirit.

The boat entered the water for the first time and the paddlers took the boat onto the water to introduce the dragon to the water spirit, and then the monks joined the paddlers for one circle lap.

The club will compete at the Kids in Need event on 22 November at Jack Evans Boat Harbour and have a club team ready but are seeking members for a corporate team. If you would like to have a paddle contact Jacqui Turner 0407 981 870 by November 7.

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