Tibetan monks return to Grass Valley this winter
Sierra Friends of Tibet is pleased to announce that the Tibetan Monks of the Sacred Land and Healing Arts Tour at Gaden Chartsi Monastery will return to Grass Valley January 26-February 9, 2024, where they will reside at the Banner Community Grange Hall: approximately one mile from the Nevada County Fairgrounds at 12629 McCourtney Road in Grass Valley.
This much-anticipated annual event will provide a full schedule of Tibetan cultural performances for 15 days, giving residents and visitors to the region an opportunity to experience the unique culture of the Tibetan people and the rich traditions of Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism. The monks’ two-week stay at the Banner Community Guild will include the creation of a beautiful sand mandala, carefully constructed during their visit, according to ancient symbolic designs. Each grain of sand will be carefully placed by hand, using techniques that have not changed in thousands of years. The public will be able to observe and enjoy this moving and meditative process, while the monks work in the beautiful hall at Banner Community Grange. In the evening, talks on Tibetan Buddhist philosophy, monastic life and other presentations related to Tibetan culture and history as well as Tibetan Buddhist practices and ceremonies will be given. There will be opportunities for monks to visit schools, churches and organizations, offer household, earthly and business blessings, and offer their ancient and hypnotic hymns and prayers for prosperity, healing and happiness. Please be sure to check the schedule online at www.sierrafriendsoftibet.net and on our Facebook page.
This year, the Tibetan Sierra Friends asked the monks to make a Manjushri mandala. Buddha of wisdom. Building a mandala begins with drawing the design on the base, or teak-po. Artists measure and draw architectural lines using a straight-edged ruler and a compass. A mandala is a formal geometric pattern showing the floor plan of a sacred palace. Once the diagram is drawn, over the following days you will see millions of grains of colored sand painstakingly placed in place. Sand colored with vegetable dyes is poured onto the mandala platform by means of a narrow metal funnel called a chakpur which is scraped with another metal rod to create enough vibration for the grains of sand to drip from its end. The shakpur is said to symbolize the union of wisdom and compassion. Mandalas are created whenever the need is felt to heal the environment and living beings. The monks consider our current era to be one of great need in this regard and therefore create these mandalas upon request throughout their world tours. Upon completion, to symbolize the impermanence of all that exists, the colored sand is swept up and poured into a nearby river or stream where the water carries healing energies throughout the world.
The Sand Mandala will be painstakingly created over the course of sixteen days. The hall will be open for viewing daily from 10:00 am until 6:00 or 7:00 pm, depending on the monks’ schedule. When the mandala is completed on Friday, February 9, there will be a special ritual to bless the mandala and celebrate its completion. After the blessing, the mandala will be ritually dissolved, highlighting the Buddhist view on impermanence by example. The sand is shoveled into a pile, and small portions of sand are given as gifts to members of the public. This is always a standing room only event. The rest of the sand is transported to Wolf Creek in Grass Valley, where it will be poured into the water after a short ceremony as a blessing to purify the environment and all the creatures that live in it.
According to Tibetan Buddhist tradition, the purpose, meaning, and techniques used to create the Sand Mandala, which include elaborate symbolism and iconography, are intended for initiation rituals and meditation. Mandalas were also created to purify the immediate environment and its inhabitants and to promote harmony in the world.
One of the highlights of this visit will take place on Saturday, January 27 and Saturday, February 3 at 10 a.m., when there will be Tibetan art activities for the whole family. Children must be accompanied by a parent. There will be Buddhist images to color, butter sculptures to make, mandala line drawings to fill in with sand, colored pencils or watercolor paint, and Tibetan calligraphy. The monks will work with families, ensuring everyone has a good time. The past few years have been very successful and fun-filled, and we encourage families to attend. Other events this year are a prayer for the sick, dying and recently deceased, accepting and embracing old age, and a series of lectures on the Six Perfections.
The six perfections, also known as the transcendent perfections, are generosity, morality, patience, strength/diligence or cheerful perseverance, concentration, and wisdom. The Gaden Chartsi Monastery has been able to continue to keep Tibetan culture and Buddhist traditions alive while being forced to live in exile from their homes in Tibet due to the kindness and generosity of communities such as Grass Valley, Nevada City, San Juan Ridge, Auburn and areas throughout the Sierra foothills, along with many From other regions in the United States. Visiting monks have always remarked that our region is one of their favorite places to visit, both because of the very warm and generous reception they always receive here, and because the foothills of the Sierra and our mountains remind them of their homeland in Tibet and northern India, where the Dalai Lama lives.
In addition, local doctors, dentists and optometrists kindly treat the monks for free. No other community visited by the monks offers this health assistance. The Sacred Arts Tour of Tibet has been visiting the United States since 1989 with a two-fold mission: to be of service to the world by helping to spread peace, compassion, and tolerance through cultural exchange, Buddhist teachings, and interfaith dialogue, and to raise funds that will provide for education, medical needs, housing, and food. and education and building maintenance for monks at Gaden Chartsi Monastery, located in a Tibetan refugee settlement near Mundgod in southern India.
Gaden Monastery is the original Buddhist monastery of the Gelug tradition in Tibet, the same lineage or tradition as His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso. According to Tibetan Buddhist tradition, the establishment of the monastery was predicted by Buddha 1,900 years before its actual establishment in 1409 AD. The monastery was originally located on a large hill about 30 miles east of Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. Centuries ago, there were an estimated 3,300 monks, and the population had risen to 5,000 monks by the time of the Chinese invasion in 1950. The original monastery was completely destroyed during the Chinese invasion of Tibet, and was re-established in southern India. By 48 living monks. The Indian government has generously donated the original land for the Tibetan refugee settlement, including the Jaden Chartsi Monastery. It has taken incredible effort in the face of unimaginable challenges to keep this precious, unbroken tradition of Tibetan Buddhist teachings and culture with us today. All funds raised during the 2024 tour are donated directly to the Jaden Charts Monastery. As in previous visits, people may ask for personal and group blessings, as well as blessings for home, land, and business. As always, the monks will have a table of handmade textiles, paintings, jewelry and other items for sale, made by Tibetan refugees in the Tibetan resettlement area in India.
It may be important to note that Tibetan culture is Buddhism, and Buddhism is Tibetan culture. In the Tibetan language there is no word for religion. When His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama first fled into exile, he called Buddhism “the training of the mind.” He later called it the philosophy of life, and now he says that if he has a religion, his religion is kindness. For a full schedule of events, go to the Sierra Friends of Tibet Facebook page, or to www.sierrafriendsoftibet.net. More information about the Gaden Shartse Monastery tour, including biographies of individual monks, can be found at http://www.sacredartsoftibettour. .org
From January 26 to February 9, 2024
Opening ceremony at 7:00 pm Friday, January 26, 2024
Location: Banner Grange Community
12629 McCourtney Road, Grass Valley
About a mile and a half from the Nevada County Fairgrounds
Animal Blessing at Animal Save, 520 East Main Street in Grass Valley in Grass Valley on Sunday, February 4, 2024, from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Each animal that comes with its human companion will be individually blessed. All dogs must be on a leash, all cats must be on a leash or in some type of carrying bag, and all birds must be in bird cages. Larger animals, such as horses, cows, sheep, goats, llamas, etc., must arrive in trailers and remain in the parking lot. The monks will come out to the parking lot to bless the large animals.
Donations are encouraged. Suggested donation is $5-$20. All donations go to the monks. Checks can be written to GSCF. Thank you.