B'ville: Experience another culture

Erin Wisneski 10/06/10More articles
Tibetan Monks schedule numerous events throughout CNY

The Tibetan Monk tour has returned to Central New York.

Having found asylum in India, the Monks of Gaden Shartse are exiled from their home in Tibet and tour the world in an effort to raise awareness of their plight.

“The initial tour in 2005 had such a great response,” said Dr. Joan Coff of North Star Natural Health Center in Baldwinsville. Coff, who is the local coordinator for the tour, said this is the group’s third visit to the area.

“After the first visit, the monks told me that CNY was one of the most open, kind places that they had had the honor of visiting. They found the people were so warm and friendly, and they would enjoy returning.”

In addition to their plight, the monks travel around the world to spread awareness of the culture of Tibet, and share the traditions of Tibetan Buddhism.

“People are interested in the culture of Tibet and enjoy meeting and spending time with the monks,” Coff said.

The tour also raises funds for the Tibetan refugee resettlement area in India. Since 2005, the monks have raised enough money to build a hospital, stock a library with books, buy land to grow food, increase sanitation in their community and a variety of other projects.

While in Central New York, the monks have scheduled numerous events including the creation of a sand mandala. According to Coff, the sand mandala is a beautiful work of art and a view into the ancient culture and traditions of Tibet.

“It's an amazing experience, the sight of the mandala, the rhythmic sound of the tools they use to place the sand, and the calm feeling the monks somehow convey to everyone they come in contact with,” she said.

Using metal tubes filled with colored, ground gemstones, the Tibetan monks will create the detailed, two-dimensional, sand painting at the Zen Center of Syracuse from Oct. 7 to 10. The public is invited to observe the mandala in process as the monks continue the ancient ritual. The Zen Center will open at 9:30 a.m. each morning.

“[There is a] sense of community that grows among observers. Many people stay for hours to watch the construction, and return each day to see the progress,” Coff said. “I've seen conversations start, and new connections being made by members in our community.”

Once completed (Sunday afternoon), the mandala will be swept up and distributed in Onondaga Creek in an effort to bless the waters.

“Many people have told me that viewing the mandala and meeting the Monks made a deep impression on them, and that feeling stayed with them long after the Monks were gone,” Coff said.

The Monks of Gaden Shartse will be in Central New York through Oct. 29. For complete tour details, visit gadenshartsecf.org.

    Network Chiropractic
    5208 South Salina St.
    Syracuse, NY 13205
    Oct. 7
    Personal Healing Sessions – Vajravidaran Ritual.
    Vajravidaran is a specialized cleansing deity of esoteric Buddhism. It is very powerful in cleaning body, speech and mind of living beings from all the possible spiritual and material contaminants. The ritual contributes greatly to the harnessing positive energy, and increase mental and physical faculties.

    Seven Rays Bookstore
    222 Walton Street
    Syracuse, NY 13202
    Call 424-9137 to register for programs
    11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Oct. 13
    The Inside Job: Journey Of A Western Buddhist Monk
    Venerable Jangchub Chophel is a Buddhist monk in the Tibetan tradition and the director of the Gaden Shartse Cultural Foundation. Come join us as he shares his personal journey and the inner transformation that lead him to a Buddhist monastery in a remote part of Southern India.
    Oct. 14
    Personal Healing Sessions – Vajravidaran Ritual.
    Oct. 15 to 17
    Chenrezig Meditation Workshop
    This four-session workshop with Venerable Jangchub Chophel will provide intensive one-on-one instruction for those wishing to establish a daily practice with the focus of Chenrezig (Buddha of Compassion).

    Storer Auditorium
    Onondaga Community College
    4585 West Seneca Turnpike
    Syracuse, NY 13215
    7:30 p.m. Oct. 29
    The Grand Finale
    A Journey to the Roof of the World: Sacred Dance and Chants of Tibet. Long hidden behind the Himalayan mountain ranges, the ancient Tibetan culture remained virtually untouched by the outside world for thousands of years. Though these are secret and sacred dances not intended for the general public, on tour the Monks are able to perform short excerpts from these dances along with Tibetan folk dances. Elaborate costumes, enchanting music and a glimpse into a hidden culture make this event an opportunity for entertainment and learning for the whole family. Two-hour stage program; suggested $20 donation.

    Baldwinsville Public Library
    33 East Genesee Street
    7 p.m. Oct. 18
    Beyond Ritual: The Inner Meaning of Tibetan Buddhist Symbols and Ritual by Venerable Jangchub. Find out what those symbols and rituals really mean, and get the inside view of Tibetan Buddhism. This is a talk with question and answer time. FREE

    The Inner Sanctuary
    7271 State Fair Blvd.
    7 p.m. Oct. 28
    Chay Drol Purification Ritual
    Literally translated as “to make free of obstacles,” Chay Drol is a ritual that helps to remove impediments, which prevent one from achieving enlightenment. The ritual begins with the Lama generating himself in the form of a deity. He then places colored strings and pieces of cloth on various parts of the participant’s body; and through ritual, one’s negativities and obstacles are fused to the strings and pieces of cloth. The Lama then uses ‘Wisdom Weapons’ to cut the obstacles from the participant, thereby freeing them and opening the door to liberation; $20.00 suggested donation. Call 638-4197.

    Healing Art Passages
    137 First St.
    Oct. 21
    Personal Healing Sessions – Vajravidaran Ritual.
    Vajravidaran is a specialized cleansing deity of esoteric Buddhism. It is very powerful in cleaning body, speech and mind of living beings from all the possible spiritual and material contaminants. The ritual contributes greatly to the harnessing positive energy, and increase mental and physical faculties. Call 426-9987.

    Liverpool Public Library
    310 Tulip Street
    7 p.m. Oct. 21
    Sacred Music and Chanting
    Ancient Tibetan multiphonic chanting is a rare and unique experience created by monks singing a chord containing two or three tones simultaneously. The special sound they create is not a simply a song, it is a sacred offering – an offering to the Buddhist deities for the benefit of all sentient beings. The deep, resonate, vibrant chords, representing the essence of the secret tantric teachings of Tibetan Buddhism, fill the room and transform both the environment and the audience with their powerful energy. FREE; Call 457-0310.

    CNY Yoga
    101 First Street
    7 p.m. Oct. 22
    Manjushri (Buddha of Wisdom) Empowerment
    Empowerments are meant to establish a special connection between the participant and the particular Buddhist deity. This can only be done through a highly-trained, fully empowered, authentic Lama in accordance with all the proper preparations and rituals. Receiving an Empowerment is like the planting of a seed. Properly cultivated with the right conditions, this seed will sprout and help you grow into the enlightened state of Buddhahood.
    During the Empowerment, each participant’s three doors (body, speech, and mind) are purified of negativities and blessed individually. Thus there is a Body Initiation, a Speech Initiation and a Mind Initiation. In this way, the defilements of each of the three doors are purified and they are empowered to visualize the form of the Deity, to recite the Deity’s mantra and to meditate on the mind of the Deity. Participants receive the direct transmission of the mantra passed down in unbroken ancient lineage. $20 suggested donation; call 461-9642.

    Liverpool Arts Center
    101 Lake Drive
    Oct. 23 and 24
    Personal Healing Sessions – Vajravidaran Ritual (See above) Call 234-9333.

Monks of Gaden Shartse distribute sand into Onondaga Lake. The sand was collected from a sand mandala the monks created in an effort to bless the waters of Central New York during their tour in 2005.

CATEGORY: General Society
EDITION: Baldwinsville Messenger

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