“In Buddhism, the conch symbolizes fearlessness in proclaiming the truth of the dharma, and its call to awaken and work for the benefits of others.”
Dear Sangha Community,
Did you hear (feel) me sound the conch shell this week? It was my way of welcoming March with the clear sound of proclaiming the truth of the dharma!
I have always felt it is interesting that Key West is called The Conch Republic. And here we are . . . a Tibetan Buddhist practicing community in the Conch Republic. Why? Because the conch shell is one of the Eight Auspicious Symbols of Buddhism!
I rejoice that my life journey lead me to Key West and the Florida Keys. Through my residency there I felt a deep connection to the area with the Dharma. It is no surprise that Buddhism is thriving here in the Florida Keys!
In Tibetan Buddhism the conch shell symbolizes the power of the Buddha’s voice and the teachings of the Dharma . . . specifically in the area of the 8 Fold Path, Right Action and Right Speech.
It is said that the white conch shell is a symbol of the deep, far reaching and melodious sound of the Dharma teaching. The sound of the teachings urges us to accomplish right actions for ourselves and all other beings.
Large conch shells are made into Tibetan ritual instruments by cutting off the end of its tip and furnishing it with a mouthpiece. Conch shell horns are used in Tibet as a sound offering. The conch shell is blown in the Florida Keys in much the same way!
Conch shells which spiral to the right are said to be very rare and considered especially sacred, the right spiral mirroring the motion of the sun, moon, planets and stars across the sky. Some say the conch shell represents the world as a whole.
The fact that conch shells from the sea can find their way to the high mountain realms of Tibet testifies as a mystery but many teachers believe that Tibet had once been an island that rose up out of the sea and that is why there are so many such shells to be found there.
The resounding sound of the conch is used in monasteries to call nuns, monks and practitioners to meditation. At our “mothership”, Tara Mandala Retreat Center in Colorado, we use the conch to call people to practice and for meals. In the Florida Keys we have used our conch in ceremonies and practices in the Nature Chapel as well as on the beach. Please join us when we are back to meeting in person.
Questions please contact me: Ellen Booth Church (Yeshe Choepel) at firstname.lastname@example.org