Findlay, Tiffin, Bowling Green, Bluffton, OH – Area residents are invited to explore the ancient Tibetan traditions and culture as Findlay and the surrounding area welcomes Tibetan Monks from the Gaden Shartse Monastic College. The group visiting this time around is from one of the largest dormitories at the college called Phukang. Currently, there are about 450 monks living in the crowded quarters of Phukhang Khangtsen. These monks follow a very strict monastic education which last for 17 years. Besides their studies, they are also involved in doing prayers or pujas. The purpose of the tour is to share with all people the monks’ culture, as well as practices and paths to inner peace and compassion. Donations raised by past tours support much needed building improvements, medical needs, teachers’ salaries and the day to day expenses of supporting the khangtsen.
The monks will begin their presentations on Thursday, November 6 in Tiffin. They will provide a group empowerment session at 11:30 a.m. at the Gem Yoga and Life Enrichment studio, 114B S. Washington St. in Tiffin. A donation of $25 per person is suggested. To register, call 567-232-0304. In the evening, they will present a talk titled “Meditations for Patience and Compassion” at 5:00 p.m. at the Old Trinity Episcopal Church, 125 E. Market St. in Tiffin. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. A free will donation is encouraged.
On Saturday, November 8 the monks will present a one-day sand mandala in the Arts Village at Bowling Green State University beginning at 9 a.m. They will build the mandala until 3 p.m. They will proceed with a dismantling ceremony at 4:00. The monks will provide a presentation from 7-9 p.m. These events will take place BGSU, Arts Village, 101E Kreischer Quad.
On Sunday, November 9, the monks will move to 123 Court St. in downtown Bowling Green to begin a three-day sand mandala. Additional events will take place such as: a public empowerment ceremony at 4 p.m. on Sunday at the Maumee Valley Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 20189 N Dixie Hwy.; a chant presentation on Monday, November 10 from 7-9 p.m. at Grounds for Thought, 174 S Main St., and the dismantling of the sand mandala with a ceremony on Tuesday, November 11 from 5-6 p.m.
Mandala means literally “that which extracts the essence.” There are many different types of mandalas used by Tibetan Buddhists. They can be created in either two or three dimensions. The ones on the monks’ tour will be two-dimensional sand mandalas. The sand is applied very precisely by the gentle tapping of a sand-filled metal cone that has had its tip removed. The outline of the mandala is defined by the holding of a string that is dipped in chalk and then ‘snapped’ in the appropriate place. Upon completion of the mandala, the monks will purposely destroy the work of art. In upholding the principle that life is transient, the monks sweep up the mandala and place the sand in a river, lake, or ocean as an offering to purify the surrounding environment.
On Wednesday, November 12, the monks come to Findlay’s Coffee Amici, 328 S. Main St., for an empowerment ceremony from 5:30 – 7 p.m. A donation of $10 per person is suggested.
On Thursday, November 13, the monks will visit Bluffton University to provide a sand mandala demonstration for university art students and the public. The demonstration will be presented in the gallery at the Sauder Visual Arts Center at 2:30 p.m. The monks will provide a public presentation at the Bluffton Town Hall, 154 N. Main St. Bluffton at 7 p.m. Doors will open at 6 p.m. A donation of $10 per person is suggested.
The monks come to Findlay on Friday, November 14 and will present personal empowerment sessions from 1-5 p.m. at Hot Yoga Findlay, 1730 E. Melrose Ave, Suite B. Suggested donation for these private sessions is $50 and they take 45 minutes each. Register by calling 419-306-3229. On Friday, from 7-9 p.m., the monks will present a meditation session at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Blanchard Valley, 2415 N. Main St.
On Saturday, November 15, the monks will present a hands-on butter sculpture workshop open to adults and children at the Children’s Museum of Findlay, located in the Findlay Village Mall. Cost to attend is $30 per person. Children must be accompanied by an adult, and the adult may participate with pay, or assist the child for free. This session is limited to 15 participants (not including adults assisting small children. To register, visit or call the museum at (567)250-9616. Payment is expected at the time of registration.
From 2-4 p.m. on Saturday, the monks will present a community empowerment session at Harmony Yoga 1100 Suite C, Croy Dr. A donation of $25 per person is suggested. To register, call 419-306-3229.
The final event will be “Dinner and Conversation with the Gaden Sharse Monks” at China Rose, 2431 S. Main St. The event includes a four course buffet style meal, pre-meal blessing and conversation time, and a short presentation by Carole Elchert. Suggested donation for this event is $10.
Many of the events will also include an opportunity for participants to purchase merchandise from the monastery in India.
About the tour:
The purpose of the Monks of Gaden Shartse Phukhang tour is to share with all people the monks’ culture, as well as practices and paths to inner peace and compassion. Accomplishments of previous tours have provided funds for construction of new buildings at Gaden Shartse, including the new debate hall. Additional funds raised by past tours have supported medical needs, teachers’ salaries and the day to day expenses of supporting the monastery. This success is due to the help and generosity of those who support the tours.
To learn more about the Gaden Shartse Monastery, visit http://sacredartsoftibettour.org