September 21, 2014

Medina
Thunderstorms
67°F

Tibetan monks display how they chant, laugh their way to enlightenment

Monks of the Gaden Shartse Dokhang Monastery in India perform a chant on Wednesday night at Angel House Center in Brunswick. The monks are on a tour that serves as both a cultural exchange and a fundraiser to help build more living space at their monastery. (LOREN GENSON / GAZETTE)

Monks of the Gaden Shartse Dokhang Monastery in India perform a chant on Wednesday night at Angel House Center in Brunswick. The monks are on a tour that serves as both a cultural exchange and a fundraiser to help build more living space at their monastery. (LOREN GENSON / GAZETTE)

Monks of the Gaden Shartse Dokhang Monastery demonstrated solemn chanting and also had a little fun on Wednesday night when they stopped in Brunswick during an international peace tour.

The monks belong to a monastery that relocated to India in the mid-20th century. The move was difficult because the monastery and monks previously had thrived in Tibet since 1409.

On Wednesday, they performed at Angel House Center for Art and Creative Life Change, 4356 Center Road.

Monks of the Gaden Shartse Dokhang Monastery in India perform a debate on Wednesday night at Angel House Center in Brunswick. The debate is one of the most important activities for the monks and they encourage and challenge each other to reach enlightenment. The monks are on a tour that serves as both a cultural exchange and a fundraiser to help build more living space at their monastery. (LOREN GENSON / GAZETTE)

The monks perform a debate on Wednesday night at Angel House Center in Brunswick. The debate is one of the most important activities for the monks, encouraging and challenging each other to reach enlightenment. (LOREN GENSON / GAZETTE)

“Buddhism is based on love and compassion and very against violence,” said Lungrik Gyaltsen, who serves as the translator for the tour. Gyaltsen said many monks followed the Dalai Lama into India where they could practice their faith in peace after China’s invasion of Tibet.

“We have approximately 1,600 monks living together as family,” he said. “We’re here to share our message of peace.”

Gyaltsen said Buddhists respect all religions and people, and the monks have enjoyed learning about American culture as they make their way from San Francisco to New York.

Brunswick Mayor Ron Falconi attended the performance and thanked the monks.

“We welcome this wonderful cultural exchange to learn more about your history and way of life,” he said. “You continue to promote wisdom and understanding.”

The monks performed traditional throat-chants to purify negativity and promote meditation. They also demonstrated their traditional debates aimed at encouraging those who participate to find enlightenment.

“When we do debate, we are searching for a deeper and deeper meaning on one topic,” Gyaltsen said.

The debate includes a challenger aggressively challenging one specific thought or idea and the defender working to defend it. The debates are serious, but can take on lighthearted tones with monks joking and teasing one another.

Angel House Center moved from Strongsville to Brunswick about one year ago, and Christopher Reynolds, of Angel House, thanked the Brunswick community for its support.

“I know the community of Brunswick has been through a lot, and from our heart to yours, we hope you have healing here today.”

To learn more about the monks and their tour, visit www.tibetanmonktour.org.

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