NgalSo Gangchen Labrang - Tibetan Calligraphy Üchen style by Bebel Franco
“Beauty never ends”
NgalSo Gangchen Labrang - Tibetan Calligraphy Üchen style
by Bebel Franco
I met Lama Gangchen Rinpoche in Sao Paulo in March 1993 when he came to Brazil, my country of origin, to transmit the NgalSo Tantric Self-Healing there for the first time. Since then I have felt a great sense of familiarity with him and subsequently I became his disciple until, in 2000, I moved to Italy to be close to him, that is to follow him in his extraordinary mission to help and heal me and others and to spread the Buddha's message on inner peace. I began to apply myself in Tibetan calligraphy simply because I wanted to learn to read Tibetan. At first it seemed like an impossible undertaking, but in 2013 Lama Caroline prepared a handout to learn how to read Tibetan and Rinpoche gave the oral transmission to everyone (youtube April 5, 2014), followed by the course: 'Learning Classical Tibetan' with Lama Michel Rinpoche and Lama Caroline and I participated in it. Then I attended, online, a Tibetan calligraphy course held in Sao Paulo in Brazil. And here I 'tasted' the magic of calligraphy. I started practicing alone but always looking for a teacher. Lama Gangchen told me that I had to be self-taught and that he himself would guide me. "You need self-learning!" he said. After months of practicing with the alphabet, in 2016, Lama Gangchen asked me to compose my first handwriting with an auspicious phrase dedicated to His Holiness Choktrul Trijang Rinpoche who was about to come to Albagnano.
Then, under the guidance of my life and calligraphy teacher, Lama Gangchen Rinpoche, I prepared my first mantra: OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SOHA. In 2017 I had the privilege of decorating, with the calligraphy of the mantra, the statues of the Supreme Healers and the Great Mothers of the Elements present in the Temple of Heaven on Earth in Albagnano. I experience calligraphy as a devotional practice. I particularly like to make mantra garlands whose syllables revolve around a center, as they are visualized during tantric recitations. In recent years I have applied myself a lot in this type of works and still make them, even at the request of a specific mantra.
Tibetan spelling has its origins in the mid-7th century, when King Sogzen Gonpo sent his minister Thönmi Sambhota to India to learn Sanskrit and then be able to translate the Dharma texts into Tibetan. And so the written Tibetan began. Lama Gangchen said that this language became sacred precisely because it was born for sacred texts and then practiced for centuries in spiritual practice. He also said that in the same way Western languages, if used repeatedly for the recitation of sacred texts, acquire power and sacredness. The first Tibetan spelling was Üchen, capital letters. Its graphic characteristic lies in the fact that it 'descends' from an upper horizontal line, while the spellings of Western languages are usually 'resting' on a lower line. The Üme, on the other hand, is the Tibetan spelling in italics. While the Lamza is decorative writing. There are also many other styles born over the centuries. I see my work as one of Rinpoche's many art projects, he guides me. Tibetan calligraphy is also a self-healing practice for me. I hope that my handwriting can touch the heart of those who look at them and that they can appear in the heart of those who meditate on them.
"Beauty never ends" … Lama Ganchen Rinpoche told me when I was writing in the Temple of Heaven on Earth. I hope that the beauty of his teachings will never end and continue to guide us from life to life!