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Tibetan Monks Visited Campus

The International Center, Campus Christian Center, Hutchins Library, Buddhist Student Association, and Students for Free Tibet hosted the Tashi Lhunpo monks from Tibet on campus from April 15-17. The Tashi Lhunpo monastery was founded in 1447 as one of four great monasteries of the Gelugpa school of Tibetan Buddhism. Their tour is endorsed by His Holiness, the Dalai Lama.

Tibetan monks in front of Draper

The Tashi Lhunpo monks participated in several events around campus. The Campus Christian Center hosted a welcome reception in the Fireside Room in Draper at 2 p.m. on Thursday, April 15. President Larry Shinn issued an official welcome at that time.

The monks also conducted two lectures on Friday, April 16 at 11 a.m. One was held in the Trustees Room of Seabury Center entitled, "Finding Happiness in Life," and a second on "Tibetan Buddhism" was held in the Taylor Room of the Alumni Building.

Also on Friday, the monks will gave their main “Performance of Cham”, a Monastic Dance. The performance featured sacred masked dances and music, healing chants, and richly ornamented costumes. Also included was a lecture with information about the Panchen Lama. Since the invasion of Tibet by China, the Panchen Lama has been imprisoned. The hope of the monks is to educate the world about the Panchen Lama's captivity. This performance will be held in the Phelps Stokes auditorium.

During their visit, the monks built a sand mandala in Hutchins Library. A sand mandala is a carefully constructed design made up of millions of grains of colored sand. The sand mandala represents impermanence. Once the monks finished the construction of the mandala, they held a closing ceremony to spread the sand into flowing water so that it may travel the earth and bring well-being to the world.

In conjunction with the building of the mandala, the monks conducted two blessing ceremonies. The first took place on April 15 in Hutchins Library around 9 a.m., just before the monks start building the mandala. The second was held after its completion.

The schedule of events follows:

April 15

Welcome
Fireside Room, Draper Building, 2 p.m.
The Campus Christian Center will host a welcome reception, where College President Larry Shinn will officially welcome the monks to Berea.


April 16

The Monks will be conducting a lecture entitled “Finding Happiness in Life.”
Trustees Room, Seabury Center, 11 a.m.

The Monks will be conducting a lecture entitled “Tibetan Buddhism.”
Taylor Room, Alumni Building, 11 a.m.

“Performance of Cham”
Phelps Stokes Chapel, 7 p.m.
The Tibetan Monks will be giving their main performance, a monastic dance called the “Performance of Cham.” The performance features sacred masked dances and music, healing chants, and richly ornamented multi-colored costumes.

The Sand Mandala
Hutchins Library, 9 a.m.
The Monks will be building a sand mandala in the Hutchins Library. A sand mandala is a carefully constructed design made up of millions of grains of colored sand. The sand mandala represents impermanence. Once the monks finish the construction of the mandala, they will hold a closing ceremony to spread the sand into the flowing water so that it may travel the earth and bring well-being to the world.

In conjunction with the building of the mandala, the monks will hold two blessing ceremonies. The first will take place just before the monks start building the mandala. The second will be held after its completion, estimated to be late Saturday afternoon, just after the monks have finished.

For additional information, contact Alison Garfinkle, Berea College International Center, at (859) 985-3451.

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