In 1984, when Barbara Dilley sought guidance from Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, who had recently appointed her The Naropa Institute’s next leader, he reminded her, “invite celebration and ceremony into your world.” These “two ‘c’s,” as Dilley calls them, have remained an invigorating element of Naropa, even now, as we embark on our fortieth year.
February’s launch of Naropa’s eighteen-month commemoration of forty years had no shortage of celebration or ceremony. The afternoon began with an energetic, dancing procession set to lively drums, and concluded with the obligatory birthday cake. To open Naropa’s celebration, community members created an offering space to honor our lineage, invoking its wisdom by furnishing the altar with symbolic objects:
Candles // One symbolizes the initial pilot light ignited by Trungpa, and a second illustrates the continuity of that ignition, burning with passion, dedication, and purpose
Fan // Evokes the beauty, elegance, and bravery of Trungpa’s ignition, “fanned by the winds of our own yearning for truth and understanding”
Sacred Text // Represents the transmission of wisdom and experience, passed down by our lineage holders, which include teachers of the past, present, and future
Crystal Ball // Expresses our inherent clarity and brilliance, and the insight to apply our intelligence to furthering our commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship
Flower Bouquet // Signifies Naropa’s embrace of diversity, and a strengthening of our commitment to building a multicultural institution
Mirror // Symbolizes Naropa’s mission to recognize each being’s inherent goodness and wisdom through academic excellence and contemplative insight
Musical Instrument // Attunes our hearing to voices of wisdom, and allow us to produce a lasting song to overcome ignorance
Perfumed Water // Encourages us to “sniff out hypocrisy and falsity,” guiding Naropa on a path to compassion and social justice
Food Offering // Allows us to offer a safe place for all to nourish body and spirit
Ribbon // Illustrates our sensitivity and vulnerability, allowing us to remain open and flexible to change, and nurture the Naropa community with gentleness
Eagle Feather // Honors the world’s indigenous traditions, offering gratitude and expressing the desire to include more of these traditions at Naropa, in their own context and with respect
Giovannina Jobson, Naropa's contemplative practice coordinator, wrote the text for ritual.