November 25, 2014

Medina
Intermittent clouds
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Tibetan monks to bring message of peace to Brunswick

Monks from the Gaden Shartse Dokhang Monastery take in a view of Berkeley, California. The monks are visiting Brunswick on Wednesday. (PHOTO PROVIDED)

Monks from the Gaden Shartse Dokhang Monastery take in a view of Berkeley, California. The monks are visiting Brunswick on Wednesday. (PHOTO PROVIDED)

BRUNSWICK — A group of Tibetan monks will visit Brunswick on Wednesday as part of a World Peace Tour aimed at cultural exchange to share their Tibetan traditions with others.

Monks from the Gaden Shartse Dokhang Monastery arrived in San Francisco in the spring and have been making their way east on a trip that will end in New York City in September.

On Wednesday, the monks will perform samplings of sacred arts and culture from Tibet at 7 p.m. at the Angel House Center, 4356 Center Road, Brunswick.

Those attending the performance are asked to provide a suggested donation of $20 for the monks, who are working to build a new monastery in India, said Laura Chandler, executive director of the Foundation of the Sacred Stream, who helped sponsor the monk’s visit.

Chandler said the Buddhist monk’s monastery, like many others in Tibet, moved to India in the 1950s after Tibet was taken over by the People’s Republic of China. In 1970, 85 exiled monks formed the Gaden Shartse Dokhang monastery in southern India, but are currently living apart from one another, as the poverty and struggle to farm on Indian soil have taken its toll.

“His holiness, the Dalai Lama, has procured a tract of land where they can rebuild,” she said.

Chandler said the monks eventually hope to build a prayer hall, library and medical clinic on the land, but for now, the most immediate need is housing. During the U.S. tour, monks who had lived together for years were finally reunited again.

“They grew up living together, studying together and prayer together and it was all torn apart,” she said. “They’ve been together again now for the last three months, and you can see the joy and happiness it brings them.”

Wednesday’s event will feature traditional cultural dances, “throat singing” and a debate demonstration.

“The debate is really quite an event,” Chandler said. “Debate in the monastery is a sport, it’s very physical and there are sounds and movements.”

The audience will also have the opportunity for interaction with questions and answers following the presentation.

“All the monks speak English, and they’re excited to talk and interact with people,” she said.

For more information about the tour, visit www.tibetanmonktour.org.

Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com. Follow her on Twitter @lorengenson.