Monks in the Midwest


By Holly Lukasiewicz

Adorned in red and yellow garments draped over one shoulder, leaving the other bare, the Tibetan Monks from the Gaden Shartse Monastery in India will share their gifts as artists, healers and astrologists Sept. 28 through Oct. 5 at the Omaha Healing Arts Center.

Gaden (meaning “joyfulness”) and the monks who inhabit it are sure to bring a bit of happy times to Omaha as they travel in conjunction with the Sacred Earth and Healing Arts of Tibet Tour. This monastic tour gives our Western culture a small window of opportunity to experience a greater understanding and appreciation of Buddhism. Through healing ceremonies, the Sacred Sand Mandala construction and performances of traditional music and dance, the monks bring awareness to the struggles of Tibet’s people for independence.

After traveling halfway across the world, one of the most intricate and illustrative rituals the Tibetan Monks will demonstrate is the Sacred Sand Mandala. The construction will take place Tuesday, Oct. 1 through Saturday, Oct. 5. During this time, the public is allowed to watch the monks in action.

Mandala, meaning “circle” in Sanskrit, is a symbol of the universe and its energy and is created to remind us of the cycle of life and death. Within the Mandala itself, there are many meanings, from cosmic diagrams to meditation support, according to the Art Network Web site.

An Omaha Healing Arts brochure says viewing the colorful sand constructions can “open the mind and awaken the spirit. According to Tibetans, when a Mandala is built of sand, the goodness that it brings is multiplied by the number of grains of sand that it contains.”

Other times to witness the words and presence of the Tibetan Monks are dispersed throughout the week. If you’re a healer or are questioning your ability as one, you may want to check out the blessing and empowerment of the “Healing for Healers” ceremony Saturday, Sept. 28 at 8 p.m., during which there will be a Q & A session.

On Wednesday, Oct. 2 at 7:30 p.m., a lecture titled “Tantra: Esoteric Path of Tibetan Buddhism” will be given by the Senior Geshe of the Gaden Shartse Monastery on “how to accelerate one’s evolutionary path.” The time for traditional chanting and meditation with the monks will be at 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 4.

At 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 5, the monks will sweep away the colored sands to symbolize the impermanence of all that exists as part of the closing ceremony of the Sacred Sand Mandala. The mixed sand will be distributed to the audience as blessings for personal health and healing, according to the Art Network Web site.

All events are at Omaha Healing Arts Center, 1216 Howard St. Call 345-5078 for more information or to schedule empowerments, healings or astrology by the monks.

In their absence, the memory of the monks’ time here will linger like the words of the 14th Dalai Lama, a spiritual leader to millions and 1989 Nobel Peace prize recipient: “For as long as space endures and for as long as living beings remain, until then may I, too, abide to dispel the misery of the world.”


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