Electronic Journal from Sakyadhita USA
Issue No. 17 Fall 2018
From Yudron Wangmo's Vajrajana World
A quartet of Young Adult Novels:
in the "Cycle of the Sky" Series
by Charlotte Collins
Excavating Pema Ozer is the first in a series of young adult novels by Yudron Wangmo about a circle of four young women led by Grandma Sandy (Lama Sangyey) in a meditation and study group in her home in Alameda, California. Each of the young women represents one of the four activities performed by enlightened beings to benefit all living beings: Pacifying, Enriching, Magnetizing, and Subjugating.
Shanti represents the pacifying or "quelling" activity. The great Awakened Ones—the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas—primarily pacify such phenomena as conflict, fears, obstacles, sickness and famine, symbolized by the color white and the eastern direction.
Risa’s daughter represents the enriching activity. Enriching refers to increasing merit and the lifespans of beings, symbolized by the color yellow and the southern direction.
Weslyn represents the magnetizing activity. Magnetizing means bringing under one’s control, symbolized by the color red and the western direction.
Dee (Denise) represents the subjugating activity. On relatively rare occasions, the Awakened Ones engage in the subjugating activity to subdue negative forces, symbolized by the colors green or black and the northern direction.
In the Cycle of the Sky, Lama Sangyey holds down the center of the sacred circle. Dee will enact the subjugating principle in the fall in the north, Shanti will enact the pacifying principle in the winter in the east, Risa’s daughter will enact the enriching principle in the spring in the south. Weslyn's magnetic qualities result in pacifying a major obstacle on the Peninsula west of Alameda. (From Yudron's website.)
Excavating Pema Ozer
"Weslyn Redinger wants one thing: to be normal again. Racked by panic attacks that have ruined her life and driven off her friends in the months since she saw the body of a young boy she loved rolled out to a waiting ambulance, she is now drawn into a circle of seekers who surround a mysterious stranger living in her grandmother’s backyard shed. After reluctantly attending his teachings, a series of dreams is unleashed—as vivid as her waking life. At night she is an attendant to the female teacher, Uza Khandro, from the Tibetan countryside; during the day, she is a flawed sixteen-year-old struggling to get control over her body and her life. Why does she care so much about this man’s story of a long-lost set of Tibetan books hoarded by a greedy collector?" (From Yudron's website.)
The Buddha of Lightening Peak
"Sometimes it seems like no one has seventeen-year-old Dee Adair’s back. She’s got enough stress dealing with her little bro being locked up, a heartless homophobic grandmother, and an ex-girlfriend who gives her trouble every time they cross paths.
Now, sacred Lighting Peak—her only place of peace—is scheduled for destruction. Bulldozers and dynamite are poised to excavate the mine, massacring the animals who live there in the process. Matrika Shergill, the mine’s hot no-nonsense owner, couldn’t care less about the furry little creatures.
Dee must find the inner strength from her meditation practice to weather violence and betrayal—and harness the power of friendship—if she is to save Lightning Peak. Discouraged by apathetic adults, pursued by murderous goons, inspired by a sage, and yearning for love, she presses onward.
The Buddha of Lightning Peak forges the transformational journey of an imperfect African-American lesbian teen lit up by the heroic promise to help all living things no matter what." (From Yudron's website.)
Forthcoming at the end of 2018
Forthcoming in the future
Charlotte B. Collins is a founder and past president of Sakyadhita USA. She has an M.A. in Media Studies. She has been a documentary filmmaker, writer and university teacher. In 2013 she launched SUSA’s electronic magazine American Buddhist Women and continues to lead its editorial team. She began her meditation practice in 1985 and received Refuge in 2003 in the Gelugpa tradition. She lives in California’s Mojave Desert where she continues to write and practice.
Excavating Pema Ozer is the compelling story of a modern day teenage girl, Weslyn Redinger, who has the opportunity to complete a task she was unable to accomplish in a former life as the student of a great Tibetan teacher. The story of the interweaving of the lives of the two young girls, one in the present and one in the historical past, is intricately conceived and satisfyingly well told. If you like young adult fiction, I highly recommend this book, the first in the series.
For Dee Adair, a modern day African American lesbian teenage girl living in Oakland, complete with sexual attraction to other young women and contemporary teen jargon, the author inspires our empathy and affection. The story of Dee's quest to save a sacred (to her) hilltop and the endangered animals who live there from corrupt and evil developers becomes a thrilling race to the climax.
Yudron Wangmo is an in-depth Buddhist practitioner (naljorma) in the Nyingma Buddhist tradition. She began this path in the early 1990's and has had the good fortune to be guided by three amazing meditation masters. She’s a strong believer in the effectiveness of a daily meditation practice, guided by a qualified meditation master, in relieving personal and global suffering. She’s been a full-time naljorma since 2007 and has completed a traditional three-year, three-month group retreat and two additional cumulative years of personal retreat. In the past she worked as a nurse, a practitioner of alternative medicine, and an ice cream truck driver. She is currently focused on continuing her own practice and writing novels about how these traditional practices of Tibet can heal the human heart and turn our lives in an ever more positive direction. She abides in a peaceful sanctuary on a creek in the middle of Oakland, California, where birds chirp in the foreground and gunshots resound in the background.