News and Views on Tibet

Tashi Lhunpo Monks First Visit to Indiana this Spring 2003.

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Indianapolis – The International Tibet Independence Movement (ITIM) is pleased to coordinate the visit of the Tashi Lhunpo Monks (April 19 to May 1). Many special events mark this inaugural visit and the Monks’ first tour of North America. The Monks will present teachings, construct a sand mandala, perform sacred music and dance, and lead a mudra workshop. They will commemorate April 25th, The Panchen Lama’s Birthday, with a discussion on human rights followed by a candlelight vigil. The seven Monks including two ReincarnatedHigh Lamas will educate the public about Tibetan culture, share their compassionate and tolerant worldview, and bring awareness of the conditions of the Tibetan people. The historic Tashi Lhunpo Monastery founded in 1447 in Shigatse, Tibet, was re-established in 1972 in Southern India. It is most importantly known as the seat of The Panchen Lama, the second highest ranking religious leader in Tibet. In 1995, the then six year old Panchen Lama was abducted by the Communist Chinese authorities, and His whereabouts are still unknown. To learn more about these Monks, the two Lamas, their Monastery, and other tour details, please visit:

Schedule of Events
Teaching on “Essentials of Buddhism”
Sunday, April 20, 1pm
Tibetan Cultural Center, 3655 Snoddy Road, Bloomington
812-331-0014 phone;;
Suggested Donation $10

Teaching on “Introduction to Buddhism”
Wednesday, April 23, 7pm
Enlightened Tree, 263 North Madison Avenue, Greenwood
317-640-2585 phone;
Suggested Donation $15

Construction of Sand Mandala
IUPUI, University College, Cultural Arts Gallery, Room 115, 815 W. Michigan St., Indianapolis

Schedule to view mandala construction:
Thursday, April 24, Opening Ceremony, 6 to 9pm
Friday, April 25, 12noon to 4pm
Saturday, April 26, 12noon to 5pm
Monday, April 28, 9am to 6 pm
Tuesday, April 29, 9am to 6 pm
Wednesday, April 30, 9am to Closing Ceremony, 11:45am with reception to follow
317-274-3931 phone
Donations Welcomed!

The Monks will create an Amitayus sand mandala, an ancient Tibetan Buddhist ritual for the Buddha of Longevity. Watch them prepare the space through purification ceremonies, and visit during the course of this creation. The highlight of the closing ceremony is dismantling of the mandala and a procession to the Canal for the sands’ dispersal. In general, all mandalas have secret meaning. On the outer level, they represent the world in its divine form; on the inner level, they represent a map by which the ordinary human mind is transformed into the enlightened mind; and on the secret level, they predict the primordially perfect balance of subtle energies of the body and the clear light dimension of the mind. The creation of a mandala is said to affect purification and healing on these three levels.

Panchen Lama’s 14th Birthday
Film Screening: “Tibet’s Stolen Child” followed by questions and discussion

Friday, April 25, 7pm
Gallahue Hall, Room 108, Butler University, 4600 Sunset Avenue, Indianapolis
317-255-2750 phone;
Donations Welcomed

Candle light vigil
Friday, April 25, 9pm
Star Fountain, Butler University, 4600 Sunset Avenue, Indiananpolis
317-255-2750 phone;
Suggested Donation $5

The Panchen Lama is considered the world’s youngest political prisoner. In commemorating His 14th Birthday, watch the documentary, “Tibet’s Stolen Child,” listen to comments and discussion on international human rights, and participate in a candlelight vigil.

Mudra Workshop
Saturday, April 26, 3pm
Cityoga Studios, 3766 North Meridian Street, Indianapolis
317-925-7440 phone;
Suggested Donation: $20

Learn the ancient art of mudras which are sacred hand gestures practiced by Monks to gain mystical & esoteric insight.

Interfaith Church Service
Sunday, April 27, 10:30am
Unitarian Universalist Church of Indianapolis, 615 W. 43 St., Indianapolis
317-283-4760 phone;
Donations Welcomed

Join the Monks for an intercultural and interfaith service. The Monks will open with a chanted purification prayer, present sacred music, and share a history of Tibetan culture as well as a Buddhist teaching. An open discussion forum on The Panchen Lama will precede the service at 9:30am located in The Cottage. Congregation coffee hour will follow.

Cham Sacred Dance and Song Performance
Sunday, April 27, 3pm
DeBoest Lecture Hall, Indianapolis Museum of Art,1200 W. 38th St.,
317-923-1331 phone
Admission Free, Donations Welcomed

The Monks will showcase their traditions and culture. Cham originated with the earliest Buddhist practices as great masters passed their visions of deities in movements to students. Tashi Lhunpo’s performance is unique with its ceremonies that feature harmonic overtone chanting of traditional prayers, accompanied by temple instruments such as horns, flutes, bells, and drums, sacred masked dances, richly ornamented, multi-colored costumes, and monastic debate. A highlight is Kunrick, a chant with hundreds of hand gestures, each with specific spiritual meaning. This art of hand symbolism is unique to the monastery. It is performed to revitalize spiritual energies that generate wisdom, compassion, and the healing powers of Enlightened Beings. This event provides a fascinating and warm glimpse into ancient and current Tibetan culture. Richly costumed dancers, including masked animals, will perform together with a narrator accompanying each piece.

Teaching on the “Tibetan Buddhist Wheel of Life”
Thursday, May 1, 7pm
Unitarian Universalist Church, 615 W. 43 St., Indianapolis
317-283-4760 phone;
Suggested Donation: $15

ITIM is sponsoring the Monks’ visit to Indiana. Co-sponsors include Indianapolis Museum of Art, Cityoga, Enlightened Tree, IUPUI, Domont Studio Gallery, Butler University Amnesty International, Tibetan Cultural Center, Indiana University Students for a Free Tibet, and NUVO Newsweekly. ITIM was founded in 1995, by Thubten Jigme Norbu (Oldest Brother of The Dalai Lama & Retired Professor at Indiana University) and Larry Gerstein (Professor at Ball State University and ITIM President) to secure Tibet’s independence through non-violent methods. It is based in Fishers, Indiana. ITIM is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization.

Bios of the Lama’s on the Tour
Nguchul Rinpoche is the 4th reincarnated Lama of Ngulchu Dharma Badra, whose 1st incarnation was a hermit, spending most of his life in meditation. He wrote many volumes of Buddhist texts during this lifetime. His 2nd incarnation was Nguchul Jigme Wangpo and he too was a meditator. The 3rd incarnation was Lobsang Chomphel Sangdak Tenpal Gyaltsen, born in 1901. He studied at Tashi Lhunpo Monastery and eventually became the abbot of the Monastery’s Tantric college. He then travelled to Amdo, becoming the 10th Panchen Lama’s teacher in 1955. In 1965 he was imprisoned by the Chinese government and died in captivity in 1975. The 4th and current incarnation, Nguchul Rinpoche, was born in Ladhak and was recognized by His Holiness the Dalai Lama as the 4th reincarnation of Nguchul Dharma Badra. His studies currently include both Buddhist philosophy and modern (liberal arts) education.

Ali Rinpoche is a reincarnated Lama whose 1st incarnation was abbot of the Shartse college of Tashi Lhunpo Monastery during the time of the 6th Panchen Lama. After his tenure as abbot he travelled to Mongolia to teach. His 2nd incarnation was abbot of the Kalachakra college of Tashi Lhunpo Monastery during the time of the 10th Panchen Lama. Rinpoche was tortured during his imprisonment, from 1962 to 1970, in a Chinese government labor camp. The current Ali Rinpoche was born in Tibet and in 1984 he escaped, joining the Monastery in 1985. He has been studying hard for his Kachen degree and also performs divination, as did his previous incarnation.

Further Information: Larry Gerstein, President, International Tibet Independence Movement
Phone: 317.579.9015; Cell: 317.506.2249; Fax 317.579.0914;;

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