Monks from Drepung Gomang Monastic University will be returning to the Coral Springs Museum of Art, Florida, to raise awareness of traditional Tibetan Buddhist beliefs and practices in the Sacred Art Tour 2020. From 11–16 February, museum visitors can experience a variety of activities, including chanting and meditation sessions, traditional art workshops, and a mandala ceremony.
“The Coral Springs Museum of Art always looks forward to visits from the members of the Drepung Gomang Monastery, and we are thrilled to have once again such a diverse array of events centered around their time with us,” said the museum’s executive director Julia Andrews. “It is a privilege to be in their presence and learn about their culture and teachings.” (Coral Springs Talk)
The monks aim to contribute to global peace by spreading Tibetan teachings of compassion, wisdom, and loving-kindness. Each day will begin with chants and Tibetan music, and throughout the event the monks will construct a sand mandala for Chenrezig, the bodhisattva of compassion. This will involve meticulously laying out millions of colorful grains of sand in detailed patterns.
On the last day of the tour, the monks will destroy the mandala, and the blessed sand will be dispensed among the visitors. The purpose of the ceremony is to reflect on the impermanent nature of existence. “We hope that the construction of this mandala will reinforce in each of us the value of all living things and encourage us to embrace a stance of balance and compassion,” said Andrews. (Coral Springs Talk)
Visitors will also have an opportunity to observe the preparation of traditional Tibetan cuisine and to dine with the monks. According to the Coral Springs Museum website, Tibetan dumplings, kown as momos, will feature on the menu. Other highlights of the week include mani stone workshops, in which attendees will paint their own prayer stone (Tib: mani doh), and Tibetan dance rituals such as the snow lion dance, yak dance, and good luck dance.
Attendees will also be able to browse the Tibetan Marketplace, where they can buy foods and other goods from the monks. Contributions received during the tour will help the monks at Drepung Gomang Monastery access important resources such as food, housing, and medical supplies. In the long term, the monastery aims to become self-sufficient.
Drepung Gomang Monastic University is part of Drepung Monastery, one of the three great seats (Tib: den sa sum) of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism, along with Ganden Monastery and Sera Monastery. It was founded in 1416 by Jamyang Choje Tashi Palden (1379–1449), a disciple of Je Tsongkhapa (1357–1419), founder of the Gelug school.
In 1959, 60 monks from the monastery fled Tibet and re-established the monastery in southern India. The new monastery currently accommodates nearly 2,000 monks and it is headed by Khen Rinpoche Geshe Lobsang Gyaltsen, who was appointed abbot in 2015 by the Dalai Lama. The monastery has produced several eminent scholars and has affiliated centers in France, Japan, Russia, Taiwan, and the US.
More information on the Sacred Art Tour 2020, along with tickets and pre-registration information, can be found on the The Coral Springs Museum website.
Sacred Art Tour 2020 (Coral Springs Museum)
TICKET ALERT: Tibetan Buddhist Monks Return to Coral Springs (Coral Springs Talk)