In this article, one of several on the feminine principle in this week’s Shambhala Times feature, Arising from Space: A Celebration of the Feminine Principle, Sangyum Agness Au challenges us to deepen our understanding of sophistication.
By Sangyum Agness Au
Sangyum Agness Au
I write this from San Francisco, as a grand gathering of family and friends of the Au Clan draws to a close. Five generations have come together to celebrate my father’s 90th birthday, from his 96 and 93 year old Canadian Chinese sisters to his 14 month-old great-great grand niece. It has been a joyful occasion, full of heart connections, the poignancy of reunion, and the endless delicious feasts for which our clan is well known. To complete the opera, there was also the requisite tension and high drama during the planning and preparation of the week-long events.
Before the final festivities began, in the quiet of the restaurant banquet room, I finished a five-foot tall ikebana arrangement with five varieties of potted orchids. My son and I set out large trays of flat Chinese ‘donut’ peaches, which symbolize longevity. In the creation of these offerings, I reflected on the power of the mother lineage to bind clans and societies together. There is a sophistication in the continuity of tradition, developed from centuries of nurturance and celebration.
In 1976, when I met the Druk Sakyong, meditation was not particularly interesting to me. As a young fashion designer living in Manhattan, I was passionate about all things sophisticated. To me, sophistication meant foreign and artistic. So I was intrigued and challenged by this brilliant person, with such great intelligence, power and, of course — sophistication. Through the years, I’ve come to appreciate the profundity of this ‘hook.’
When I first received the Court Vision and Practice manual, I was delighted to find a section titled ‘Sophistication’ in the Sakyong Wangmo chapter. Instinctively, I knew the word wouldn’t have the same meaning as it did in, say, Vogue magazine, but it was relevant enough to keep me hooked. Read the whole article on the Shambhala Times