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Calgary Welcomes Touring Tibetan Lamas from India

March 10, 2009

Ben Tsui, by email
March 8, 2009

Calgary, March 7, 2009 -- His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama believed that Tibetan culture and scared practices do not just belong to the Tibetans alone; rather, it should be shared with the world wide citizens. It is very important to preserve and encourage such traditional endeavours.

Earlier this week, several members of the Zongkar Choede Monastery from Southern India traveled to Calgary to promote their sacred art of Tibet through the performances of monastic chanting, prayers and the construction of a large Medicine Buddha Mandala for healing and world peace. Over one hundred enthusiastic visitors anxiously packed the Glenbow Museum lobby area this morning for the Lamas’ arrival. For over two hours, the audience quietly observed and meditated along with the monks as they filled the precisely designed Mandela circle with colourful sands. Glenbow’s Indigenous Studies and Ethnology Curator Beth Carter explained, “We encourage everyone to explore and build an appreciation for all different arts and traditions at our museum!”

The ancient Zongkar Choede Monastery was built in western Tibet in 1270. It became one of the epicentres for Tibetan folk and monastic art, music, dance, artifacts and spiritual training. During the Communist Chinese Cultural Revolution of the 1950’s, the Monastery was systematically destroyed. Fewer than 5% of its original 600 monks survived the ordeal. The Monastery was later recreated in the lush green forest of coastal Southern India. Today, there are over 300 monks who actively practice Tibetan art, culture and religious traditions there.

This trip, the monks have also brought along the holy objects of Kadampa Stupa, Shakyamuni Buddha Statue, Talking Tara’s Robe, Vatisangpo’s Robe, Amitabha Buddha’s Sutra and Tantras that dated back to the 7th, 11th and 16th centuries.

2008 has been a year of natural disaster and rampant massacre of innocents in many parts of the world. Therefore, these monks hoped to generate good karma, purify negative energy and influence both individual and global healings. Tibetan Association of Alberta (TAA) member and co-organizer Lynn Chazotsang was on hand to narrate the monastic activities in the museum lobby. “This Medicine Buddha Mandala will transfer our negativities with compassion and wisdom. It will bring peace. These Lamas are the custodians of our Tibetan culture, and the sacredness of this art should be shared by everyone. It belongs to the whole world.” Chazotsang added, “Calgary is in a bad state... there is so much crime. This Mandala will help purify the negative and bless us with peace. Only caring will heal this earth!”

The visiting Lamas of Zongkar Choede Monastery will continue to perform, demonstrate and promote the traditional sacred Tibetan art – FREE OF CHARGE - at the downtown Glenbow Museum, as well as additional neighboring ethnic communities, until March 14, 2009.
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