Tibetan Monks Return to Campus of Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Press Release from Indiana University of Pennsylvania:

INDIANA, PA (March 13, 2023) Tibetan Buddhist monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery will be in residence on the campus of Indiana University of Pennsylvania from March 21 until March 25.  During this time, they will present a variety of events that will be open to both the campus and the community.  Most of the events are free of charge.  The Mystical Arts of Tibet residency has been presented numerous times over the years.  Most recently, the monks visited the IUP campus in 2011.

The weeklong residency will include four components including a photo exhibition, a mandala sand painting, an evening performance of “Sacred Music and Sacred Chants for Peace and Healing,”, and an educational component with two lectures.  All events are free with the exception of the evening performance in Fisher Auditorium, which is a ticketed event.  Tickets are available online at www.iup.edu/livelyarts  (click on the red “Purchase Tickets” link).

The full schedule is as follows:

Residency Schedule for the Mystical Arts of Tibet:

Saturday, March 18
Opening Reception of Museum Photo Exhibition, “Tibet:  Magical Land of Spiritual Wonders,”
6 p.m. – 8 p.m., University Museum (Sutton Hall) Free

Tuesday, March 21
Opening Ceremony, 1 p.m., University Museum (Sutton Hall), Free
Mandala Sand Painting, Starts following ceremony until 6 p.m., University Museum (Sutton Hall), Free

Wednesday, March 22
Mandala Sand Painting, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., University Museum (Sutton Hall), Free
“Meditation for Focus and Stress Relief” Lecture, 3 p.m.—4 p.m., Jane Leonard Hall, B10, Free

Thursday, March 23
Mandala Sand Painting, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., University Museum (Sutton Hall), Free
“A Buddhist Approach to Working with the Emotions” Lecture, 3 p.m.—4 p.m., Jane Leonard Hall, B10, Free

Friday, March 24
Mandala Sand Painting, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., University Museum (Sutton Hall), Free
Sacred Music and Sacred Chants Performance, 7:30 p.m., Fisher Auditorium, Tickets Available Online at www.iup.edu/livelyarts (click on red “Purchase Tickets” link)

Saturday, March 25
Mandala Sand Painting, Noon – 1 p.m., University Museum (Sutton Hall), Free
Closing Ceremony, 1 p.m., University Museum (Sutton Hall), Free

About the Group:

The Mystical Arts of Tibet is a world tour endorsed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to promote world peace and healing by sharing Tibet’s rich and authentic sacred performing and visual arts with modern audiences.  The tours offer a rare opportunity to witness one of the world’s most ancient sacred traditions presented by a group of monk artists for whom these traditions are a way of life.

The artists are monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery, which has been re-established in exile in South India. The performers on The Mystical Arts of Tibet tour are not full-time professionals; rather they are genuine monks who are taking time off from their life-long devotion to contemplation and study to participate in the tour. These monk artists consider it an honor to be selected to represent their monastery and share their cultural traditions on the tour, hoping that they will be able to make some small contribution toward world peace and toward greater awareness of the Tibetan situation. At the end of each tour the monks return to Drepung Loseling Monastery to continue their vocation.

Photo Exhibition Details:

The residency events will begin with the reception for the opening of the photo exhibition, “Tibet:  Magical land of Spiritual Wonders” in the University Museum on Saturday, March 18, 6—8 p.m. This exhibition of stunning color images taken by some of the world’s foremost photographic artists is on loan from Tibet Image Bank, London.  Images include the Potala Palace (home of the Dalai Lama), the Yumbu Lagang (Tibet’s first castle), the Jokhang (Tibet’s first temple), Samye (Tibet’s first monastery), as well as many other spiritually important and culturally significant subjects.

About Mandala Sand Painting:

From all the artistic traditions of Tantric Buddhism, that of painting with colored sand ranks as one of the most unique and exquisite. Millions of grains of sand are painstakingly laid into place on a flat platform over a period of days or weeks to form the image of a mandala. To date the monks have created mandala sand paintings in more than 100 museums, art centers, and colleges and universities in the United States and Europe.

The mandala sand painting begins with an opening ceremony, during which the lamas consecrate the site and call forth the forces of goodness. This is done by means of chanting, music and mantra recitation, and will be held on Tuesday, March 21 at 1 p.m.

Traditionally most sand mandalas are destroyed shortly after their completion. This is done as a metaphor for the impermanence of life. The sands are swept up and placed in an urn; to fulfill the function of healing, half is distributed to the audience at the closing ceremony, while the remainder is carried to a nearby body of water, where it is deposited. The waters then carry the healing blessing to the ocean, and from there it spreads throughout the world for planetary healing.  The closing ceremony will be held on March 25 at 1 p.m.

About the Lectures:

Two free lectures will be taking place in Jane Leonard Hall, Room B10 during the residency and are open to both the campus and community members.  The lectures include:

Lecture #1: “Meditation for Focus and Stress Relief” is scheduled for Wednesday, March 22 from 3—4:00 p.m. in Jane Leonard Hall, Room B10.  This lecture explores the topic of meditation and how it is an important technique for quieting the mind and establishing an inner basis of clarity and well-being, allowing us to relax from within the core of our spirit and better understand the processes that make up our life.

Lecture #2: “A Buddhist Approach to Working with the Emotions” is scheduled for Thursday, March 23 from 3-4:00 p.m. in Jane Leonard Hall, Room B10.  This lecture examines the topic of our emotions and how they bring tone and color to our experiences and predispose us to dealing with challenges and problem situations in specific ways. When the emotional body is strong and healthy, we are predisposed to meet life most effectively and creatively.

About the Performance, “Sacred Music and Sacred Chants for Peace and Healing:”

The engaging and colorful performance of “Sacred Music and Sacred Chants for Peace and Healing” will take place on Friday, March 24 at 7:30 p.m. in Fisher Auditorium.  This performance presents Tibetan music, including multiphonic chanting in which monks simultaneously intone three notes of a chord.  The Drepung Loseling monks are particularly renowned for this unique singing. They also utilize traditional instruments such as 10-foot long dung-chen horns, drums, bells, cymbals, and gyaling trumpets. Tickets for this event are available online through the Lively Arts website www.iup.edu/livelyarts (click on the red “Purchase Tickets” link).  Patrons who have questions or wish to purchase tickets by phone may call the Lively Arts office at 724-357-2787, Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. for assistance.

This residency is presented by the College of Arts and Humanities. It is funded, in part, by the IUP Student Cooperative Association and IUP’s Office of International Education.  The Lively Arts, a program of the College of Arts and Humanities, presents nearly 200 performances, programs, and exhibits annually.

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