About the Author
Sangdrol Blanchard began her creative career when she was awarded a scholarship at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff in 1986. She studied graphic design and illustration, leaving with honors and awards in 1990. After a successful 15 year career as a professional designer, she now works in Washington DC, and is a practicing Tibetan Buddhist.
A note from the author:
My interest in helping individuals with personal meditation or sacred spaces began when I worked in the gift store of the Tibetan Buddhist temple I go to. I was surprised at the number of people who came in asking about cushions, altars, and incense. Which is the best, which one should I buy, how do I setup an altar and is it necessary if I’m not a Buddhist. All good questions, but more surprising to me was that I realized after being an active Tibetan Buddhist practitioner for over ten years, I could actually help them by sharing advice I had received from our own Lama, and visiting Lama’s from India, Tibet, Mongolia and Bhutan.
Many times these precious high Lama’s teach on subjects related to mind emptiness, meditation and how quieting the mind is so essential in this age of busy technology, where our lives move at a lightening pace without a break. They advise that having a spacious mind is so important to help our stress level, efficient thought processing and a quieting of our reactive emotions that often get us into trouble in our lives and can cause great suffering.
So there was a pivotal moment when I realized that many people talk about how they had taken meditation classes, but hadn’t followed through and were not engaging in any kind of regular practice. Who hasn’t heard that in the line at the grocery store, or from someone at a company dinner party? “Oh, my husband and I took the most wonderful meditation class last year.” And then when asked how often they meditate, almost always the answer is … never.
So why is that? And how might that change for those seeking that kind of peaceful centeredness in their lives? What could help them follow through with that dream? And from my perspective the answer was … help them create a dedicated meditation space in their home.
Not a place they have to travel to, not a weekly class they have to pay for, or find the time to get to, but a personal, peaceful oasis in the their home that can change their lives. A place that holds the energy, holds the space, and holds the intention.
Out of that intention to help, that wish for all to find peace, that wish to see others benefit from the teachings as I have, is what has driven the intention of this effort.
So thank you to all those who asked questions in the store, and to all those who read this site. Thank you for allowing me to share my small knowledge humbly and without attachment, but with the genuine desire to help, and the need to share. But mostly a thank you to my root Lama, Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo, for bringing these precious teachings into the world (www.tibetanbuddhistaltar.org). Eh ma ho!
just another student of the dharma
Over the past ten years Sangdrol has volunteered as a member at Kunzang Palyul Changchub Chöling helping prepare for visiting Lamas from far away places such as Tibet, India, Bhutan, Nepal and Mongolia. Most recently she has helped, along with a group of dedicated sangha, prepare the residence and prayer space for these precious teachers, while studying and learning how to create a peaceful and sacred environment that is appropriate for their culture and the Tibetan Buddhist discipline and practices.
Sangdrol also prepared a well-received workshop titled “Creating a Meditation Space” at a health and wellness conference in the Washington DC area, which began a deep interest in helping individuals create sacred spaces in their own homes.
Bringing these experiences and talents together, Blanchard has begun writing a book titled “Creating Your Own Meditation Space” soon to be published through a major publishing house. You can read excerpts and learn more by visiting this blog and signing up to receive notices of new articles.
Becoming a Writer
During her graphic design career, she enjoyed creative writing, including a paper she completed and had accepted for publication in 1997 titled “Shaman’s and Master Artists, Understanding the Parallels in Rock Art” for the American Rock Art Research Association.
In 1998 she married and moved to Tucson, Arizona where she became a published freelance writer and fine artist. Writing articles for publications such as Southwest Art Magazine, and Tucson Lifestyle, Blanchard worked on her first novel, Blue Moon Bench, which has now been self-published and is available through most e-book distributors. Over the years as a freelance designer she also helped clients with interior design and staging, including retail and private homes.
Becoming a Tibetan Buddhist
In 2005 Sangdrol took refuge with her Root Lama, Tibetan Buddhist Tulku Jetsunma Ahkön Lhamo, and began meditating and practicing soon after, taking her Tibetan Buddhist refuge name of Sangye Drolma, shortened to Sangdrol.
She has had the auspicious blessing of receiving empowerments and teachings from great masters of the Tibetan Palyul lineage such as HH Penor Rinpoche, and HH Karma Kuchen, as well as HE Mugsang Tulku and many other great Buddhist teachers from the Kagyu and Gelugpa lineages.