Starting this Friday DePauw University will be host to a group of seven monks from Labrang Tashikyil Monastery in Dehra Dun, India. The Tashi Kyil Monks of Tibet will be visiting campus in an event coordinated by the Center for Spiritual Life and the Meditation Club. The event is part of a national tour that the monks are going on across the United States.
The monks will be on campus for five days between March 15th and 19th and the visit is intended to increase awareness about Buddhist spiritual practices and allow students to experience a few Buddhist practices and customs.
A series of events have been organized in conjunction with the monks’ visit to allow student interaction and to help students learn more about Tibetan Buddhism and its culture firsthand. These will include a butter sculpture workshop, a prayer flag workshop and a meditation and yoga session, all of which will be led by the visiting monks.
The event also will address a series of topics regarding Tibetan Buddhism such as ideas regarding life and death as well as the search for reincarnation.
One of the trip’s planners, first-year and Coordinator of the Meditation Club Michael Chen, highlighted how the event is also planned to help students fight anxiety and relieve pressure.
”We invited monks that are dedicated to exploring spirituality to help students learn more about the different cultures and also have the chance to learn about new ways to improve mental health” said Chen.
Some of the events will even focus directly on providing relief to those facing personal issues. “The monks will create a sand mandala to bring calmness along with blessings from the god of mercifulness to those who have been facing challenges” said Chen.
Sophomore Area Guede Ramos commented on why she believes such an event will be valuable to DePauw students. “It will be beneficial for students who identify as Buddhists to see their religion represented and celebrated on campus.
“To have these Buddhist monks come to campus is a once and a lifetime opportunity,” said Guede Ramos. “To get to practice meditation with them and participate in their workshops will really teach me so much about Tibetan Buddhism.”
Looking towards the future, Guede Ramos mentioned a desire to see future visits as such on campus.
“I would really like for these monks to come back again, but also monks from other Buddhist schools such as Zen Buddhism,” said Guede Ramos. “It would be great to bring figures from the underrepresented religions on our campus.”
Another one of the event coordinators, Sami Aziz, director of the Center for Spiritual Life, summed up the benefits of such an event. “In a time of so much difficulty and pain for the campus it’s good to have people so full of peace and love to share peace and love with the campus through their programs, workshops and presence.”