A Manchester Pilgrimage
550 Arts, Manchester, NH
Tsa-tsas are miniature versions of Buddhist stupas, or markers of sacred space. In offering 108 tsatsas to be put out in Manchester, I am saying: mindful attention is a catalyst for experiencing sacred space, and – more radically – for causing it to occur. Viewers of 550 Arts’ Transcendental exhibition are invited to take some tsatsas from the gallery, place them in public and private spaces as they see fit, pass them on to someone else, or leave them be. Participants are invited to share their stories and photos by emailing them to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Documentation will be posted on the project website: http://www.turtlenosedsnake.com/tsatsas.htm
This project is inspired by my pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela (Spain) and on Shikoku Island (Japan), and by the transformative experience of Buddhist practice. There’s an old Zen story:
A teacher is dying, and a student despairs over this fact. The student asks what she can possibly do to honor the teacher’s memory. “Build me a seamless monument,” the teacher says.
Meaning: live in such a way that sacred and ordinary are one. Live in such a way that you are completely transparent to the world & to yourself. Live in such a way that there are no unimportant places or people.
Possible suggestions for tsatsa placements:
- in an unexpectedly beautiful nook in the urban landscape (to draw attention to the beauty of the world)
- in a place that feels neglected and in need of blessing (to help take care of the world)
- as a seed for a personal shrine at home or at work (to help focus your heart in the world)
- in a place where someone might appreciate finding a surprising gift (to keep generosity circulating in the world)
Heartfelt thanks to Monica Leap, Kim DeLong, Anne Duffley, Kevin Currie, Meaghan Ezen, Anna Wei & to all participants.
I dedicate this pilgrimage to the good of the whole community of Manchester: the land, sky, waters, animals, plants & people. May you & all beings everywhere be well.
[February 9th, 2014] Patricia Fennelly writes:
Nothing much to tell. Mine sits quietly in the entry way to my condo.
Recently, I was inspired to make it a much nicer entryway instead of a
bleak catchall. Perhaps, the tsa-tsa inspired me. It is a work in
hope this finds you well.
how marvelous! your tsatsa story and picture arrive like a message in a bottle, bobbing to shore from the great ocean. that entranceway is looking clear & peaceful. well done! I'm honored to be a part of the beautiful work you've done at the threshold of your home.
may you have every blessing & every protection,
at home, leaving home,
and always coming home.
Julie Püttgen is a painter, teacher, and storyteller with roots in Switzerland (where she was born), Buddhist monasteries in the Thai Forest tradition (where she trained), travel (of which pilgrimage is the finest form), and various observances for creating sacred-ordinary space in daily life. Her artwork and meditation teaching are online at www.turtlenosedsnake.com and www.108namesofnow.com.