An American Woman’s Journey to the Sacred Weaving Art of Tibet – An International Buddhist Door

Picture courtesy of She Writes Press

Half Journey Journey, Half Religious Autobiography, Half Inventive Info by Leslie Rinchen Wongmo Threads of Awakening: An American Lady’s Journey to the Sacred Artwork of Tibetan Weaving (2022) An eloquent work of journey and homecoming; switching and grounding; Leslie is a textile artist, trainer, and one of many few non-Tibetans who’ve mastered the artwork of silk adorning. Thanks. On this e book, to be printed by She Writes Press on August 23, Leslie tells a young human story of how she arrived at this inventive occupation, stuffed with emotional richness and uncooked honesty. A really helpful and attention-grabbing appendix notes among the foundational stitches and shapes that Leslie has used for many years to embellish the Tibetan type.

There are two common traces to this six-section e book: the private journey of spirituality and self-discovery, and the training and mastery of silk embellishment. Thanks. Inside every subject there are lots of tales that put us facet by facet with Leslie as she meets her first academics, falls in love, or receives the Dalai Lama’s mission to make a non-Buddhist, however a Christian, Thanks. Many highlights. Anecdotes about her private life fall inside broader cultural contexts that she recognized as Western transformed to Buddhism. There are various subsections, however usually there are seven components, every of which refers to a side of weaving: ‘fiber’, ‘thread’, ‘warp’, ‘weft’, ‘minimize’, ‘sanctifying’, ‘Buddha’, With subsections known as “Widgets”. The e book might be likened to a tapestry of some sort about her life. However it’s a story that can not be advised with out trying on the particular person elements, very like her Thanks It’s by no means full with out being attentive to each single thread that appears, at first, unconnected to the opposite components and sections.

Picture courtesy of She Writes Press

The e book begins with Leslie’s early background as a curious younger pupil on the College of California, Santa Cruz, assembly Tibetans in exile, and her first encounter with the Dalai Lama on campus. The “official” begin of this journey was the 1988 trek to Nepal and New Delhi, the place I formally entered the Buddhist path:

Simply as a marriage doesn’t create a wedding, an asylum ceremony doesn’t create a Buddhist. However there may be energy in public promoting. . . . For me, turning to Geshe Sonam Rinchen and Ruth was a approach of declaring to my stream of thoughts that the path of my life’s journey, by no matter worldly occasions would comply with, was towards inside freedom and understanding, utilizing the Buddha’s teachings as a information and compass.


In piece 23, Leslie charts a short historical past of Tibetan textile, from the early days of imported silk from Tang China into the Tibetan Empire to how “thriving manufacturing emerged among the many exile neighborhood of India and Nepal, and some giant ornaments. Thanks They have been made inside Tibet itself, together with the enormous Tsurfu thangka A undertaking in jap Tibet, run by Teres and Leslie Nguyen Temple.” (115)

One of many distinguishing options of this e book is the quantity of element Leslie goes into concerning the Tibetan-style stitching course of. This distinctive system, which I’ve recognized, deserves to be quoted freely. As you describe:

Once you wrap this silky, fibrous thread round a fluffy ponytail, the thread’s fibers get caught within the hair scales. They cling, and the sheer energy of that cling binds them. The thread stays securely wrapped across the hair. No adhesives required. Now, I’ve to confess that it took me weeks of coaching to wrap the thread across the hair. It was a multitude the primary time I attempted it.


Her dialogue of high-tech processes, removed from dry, is comparatively exceptional in volumes discussing Buddhist artwork, the place textiles are coated much less usually than work or sculptures. Furthermore, that is Tibetan Textiles:

Tenzin Jialtsen [Leslie’s teacher] Present me stabilize the material by rubbing the incorrect facet of the material with uncooked meat and melting the grease into the fibers with a sizzling iron. The fats of the flesh gave the fragile cloth simply sufficient stability to carry its form because the bowing ropes have been sewn by their longitudinal weave. He launched me to the Tibetan methodology of hand stitching, pointing the needle down alongside a vertical path, moderately than pointing it crosswise as Westerners often do. I tailored rapidly, as if I had executed it earlier than. Every sew made a loop that might maintain my new hair rope to the floor of my welded cloth. Loop after loop, sew after sew, I connected ropes to a bit of material alongside the traces of the drawing.


Apart from extremely developed motor expertise and technical information of textiles, Leslie discovered her life in Asia inextricably linked with the revival of the textile system amongst Tibetans. That is particularly vital in Components IV, V, and VI, that are notably distinctive amongst publications on Tibetan artwork because of Leslie’s distinctive perception into the artwork of silk. In piece 39, Leslie vividly describes a 12 months of intense engagement—six days per week—with the motifs and designs of Tibetan artwork:

Chook eyes, snake eyes, deer eyes, snow lions and dragon eyes. Wreaths of severed heads cling from offended shoulders. People and animals are crushed below their offended toes. Many faces. A number of eyes. All of it helps somebody to see actuality in better depth, to look at extra carefully the character of his expertise. The faces are so small that they sit comfortably within the palm of my hand. Day-to-day, eyes, eyes, and extra eyes.


By way of her private information of the fundamentals, and her eventual development as a mentor in her personal proper, Leslie’s subsequent improvement as a trainer displays the training about life and tailoring she underwent a long time in the past. For instance, she based the Stitching Buddhas® Digital Apprentice Program in 2008, an operator that connects college students from many international locations and everywhere in the United States to be taught, for six months, Tibetan ornament (271). Not everybody will go to Nepal, India and Tibet on a life-changing journey. Few could have the dedication, time, and drive to grasp such a self-discipline as Leslie did. Nevertheless, as its college students progress in prowess, they’ll determine whether or not to enter a membership program that can provide tasks of accelerating problem till they’ve accomplished, over a interval of some years, Thanks Similar to their trainer.

Threads of Awakening It’s a e book with a number of threads, so to talk, every of which must be gently tugged to see the place it leads. There’s a story that can inform the story of a Western-born girl who finds her non secular path after a gradual journey that results in a elementary rearrangement of her life’s priorities. There’s one other story a few skilled girl who plunged into the unfamiliar world of stitching and thread, grew to become intimately acquainted with it, and reinvented herself with a brand new calling. They’re all a part of the identical cloth, though they’ve their very own distinctive shades and vibrant colours. Leslie’s non secular autobiography could technically be all about itself, however her elegant and insightful presentation stimulates reflection on our travels, no matter they might be.

Be part of Leslie in a Zoom speak on Aug 28 18:00 PST, “Thread of Awakening: when Your Detour is Your Life’s Path” as she discusses her upcoming e book Threads of Awakening: An American Lady’s Journey to the Sacred Artwork of Tibetan Weaving (2022).

see extra

The Strings of Awakening: Leslie Rinchen Wongmo

Associated Options of BDG

Tara: a strong feminine pressure within the Buddhist pantheon