Ancient Tibetan rituals will play out overlooking Yaquina Bay this coming week, as monks from Gaden Shartse Monastery in India present a week of cultural events at Newport’s Pacific Maritime Heritage Center.
From Tuesday, March 12, through Sunday, March 17, the monks will offer a number of public talks as well as family-friendly workshops on Tibetan butter sculpture, mandala making and Tibetan calligraphy.
The centerpiece of the week will be the creation of a Medicine Buddha Sand Mandala, a meticulously crafted and brilliantly colored sand painting featuring intricate designs and symbols representing the cosmic abode of the Tibetan Medicine Buddha figure.
During the daily work on the mandala, the five monks will be using the exact same metal funnels that have been used for more than 800 years in the creation of sand mandalas in Tibet.
The public is invited to come and observe the intricate and meditative process of the mandala’s creation. Guests will also have the opportunity to see displays on Tibetan culture as well as to meet the monks and to buy handcrafts made by Tibetan refugees in India.
Tuesday, March 12
Opening ceremony Pacific Maritime Heritage Center
The monks get their visit underway with traditional chanting and cleansing the environment of negative energies. Noon, 333 SE Bay Blvd.
Slideshow and “debate” Pacific Maritime Heritage Center
A slideshow on the “Life of a Tibetan Monk,” followed by a live demonstration of Tibetan monastic “debate,” an event that resembles very fast Tai Chi, usually accompanied by lots of laughter. This will be followed by a question and answer session. 7 pm, 333 SE Bay Blvd.
Wednesday, March 13 -Saturday, March 16
Pacific Maritime Heritage Center
See the brilliantly colored sand painting take shape as the monks painstakingly craft intricate designs and symbols. 10 am to 6 pm daily, 333 SE Bay Blvd.
Wednesday, March 13
Vajravidaran Healing Ceremony
Pacific Maritime Heritage Center
In this ceremony, The tour’s high Lama, Geshe Lobsang Wangyl manifests himself as the figure Vajravidaran and then works to remove and heal hindrances and obstacles, using sonorous Tibetan chants, hand mudras and traditional Tibetan ritual instruments. 7 pm, 333 SE Bay Blvd.
Thursday, March 14
Tibetan teachings Center for Health Education
Geshe Lobsang Wangyl gives a talk on the Tibetan Buddhist teachings of “The Wisdom of Love and Compassion.” 7 pm, 740 SW 9th Street.
Friday, March 15
Chay Drol Ceremony Center for Health Education
This colorful healing ceremony involves the the literal tying up of audience members in colorful string representing various obstacles, which is then cut away to clear a path to Enlightenment. 7 pm, 740 SW 9th Street
Saturday, March 16
Butter Sculpture Workshop Newport Recreation Center
A chance for people of all ages to try their hand at this art form, traditionally performed with yak butter and barley flour. During special festivals in Tibet, these intricate sculptures could reach 12 feet high. 10 am-noon, 225 SE Avery Street.
“Death, Bardo and Rebirth” Pacific Maritime Heritage Center
Geshe Lobsang Wangyl gives a talk on the Tibetan Buddhist practices and beliefs regarding death and dying. 2 pm, 333 SE Bay Blvd.
Medicine Buddha Empowerment Ceremony Pacific Maritime Heritage Center
A ceremony marking the completion of the sand mandala, and transmitting its healing energy to those present through the use of ritual instruments and the sonorous chanting of the monks. 7 pm, 333 SE Bay Blvd.
Sunday, March 17
Calligraphy and Sand Mandala-making Workshop Pacific Maritime Heritage Center
The monks will offer instruction on Tibetan calligraphy and give everyone the chance to fill in simple mandala designs with colored sand. And for those too young for either, there will be mandala designs to color with crayons. 10 am to noon, 333 SE Bay Blvd.
Dissolution Ceremony Pacific Maritime Heritage Center
After spending almost 100 hours working on the creation of the Medicine Buddha Sand Mandala, the monks will ceremonially sweep it away, signifying the impermanence of all things. Small portions of the swept-up sand will be given to audience members afterwards as mementos. 2 pm, 333 SE Bay Blvd.
Admission to all events is by suggested donation of $10 to $30, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. Mandala viewing is by simple donation.
All proceeds raised go directly to support the monks of Gaden Shartse monastery through the Gaden Shartse Cultural Foundation, a 501©3 registered charity.
This visit by the Tibetan monks of Gaden Shartse monastery is presented by Lincoln County Friends of Tibet.