News and Views on Tibet

Tibetan monks coming to Klamath

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A chance meeting will result in a series of weekend “chants” meetings.

Last summer, Coralee Whitsett, who raises yaks and is promoting a Tibetan Conservancy for Nomadic Culture & Yak, was displaying her animals at a Tibetan festival. That led to a chance meeting with a person who passed along information about Whitsett, her yaks and her organization to Gelong Lobsang Wangchuk, an American monk with the Monks of Gaden Shartse in India.

A few weeks ago, Wangchuk contacted Whitsett, who lives in Klamath Falls, saying the touring monks were interested in visiting Klamath Falls.

Friday through Sunday, Wangchuk and monks from Gaden Shartse, a monastery built in the remote countryside of South India in 1969 after the founding group escaped the Chinese takeover of Tibet, will offer music, dance, talks, individual consultations, private healings, empowerment sessions, astrological readings and, of course, chants.

Activities begin Friday from 2:30 to 4 p.m. at the Oregon Institute of Technology College Union auditorium with chants, music, dance and a program on “Buddhist Visions of Peace.” A similar program will be offered from 6 to 8 p.m. with a program on “The Disappearing Tibetan Culture.” People will be encouraged to join the monks for dinner at the Siam Restaurant on Washburn Way.

Saturday’s activities will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall on Highway 140 near Shield Crest Golf Course. Whitsett’s yaks, animals native to Tibet, will be on display. She owns a small herd of rare black and white, or royal, Tibetan yaks that she displays at Tibetan cultural gatherings.

Throughout Saturday, individual consultations, house blessings, private healings, empowerment sessions and astrological readings will be offered by appointment with group blessings also available. For information call 892-3908 days or 273-6561 after 7 p.m.

A open potluck dinner will be held at the Unitarian fellowship hall at 5:30 p.m.

An evening of chants, music, yak dancing for children, and a program on “The Monastic Life and Refugee Life” will be offered at 7:30 p.m. at the Linkville Theater, 201 Main St. The suggested donation is $5 for adults and $3 for children.

Activities will conclude Sunday with a 9:30 a.m. fellowship service at the Unitarian fellowship hall.

Whitsett hopes interest will lead to further, expanded future visits by the monks.

“If we have any interest at all I’m sure we can bring them back next year,” said Whitsett, who is working with Ben Kerns to coordinate this weekend’s visit.

Monks scheduled to visit include Lharmpa Ngawang Lungtok, 72, who received an initiation from the Dalai Lama at Lhasa, Tibet; Geshe Jangchup Sangye, who joined the Shartse monastery at age 12 and has studied Tibetan grammar, poetry, rituals and rights, mandala drawings and astrology; Geshe Lobsang Choedar, a monk since he was 16, who studied philosophical texts for 14 years; another Gelong Lobsang Wangchuk, a former nomad trained in drawing and sand mandala; and Gelong Lobsang Lhundup, who was admitted to a monastery at age 8 and is studying Tibetan literature, poetry, painting and mandala drawing.

Monks are taken on monastic tours “to introduce the teaching of sutra and tantra of Buddhism in general” and to promote the welfare of Lhopa Khangsten, one of the houses as the Shartse monastery. The number of people living at the monastery has increased, creating a need for more living quarters, classrooms and facilities.

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