News and Views on Tibet

Tibetan monks hold ceremony for peace

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BORREGO SPRINGS: The group also seeks to bring awareness to their country’s plight.


BORREGO SPRINGS – Seven Tibetan Buddhist monks employed droning chants, clashing cymbals, ringing bells and blowing horns as they prayed for world peace Saturday morning in this desert resort town.

The monks, from Tashi Lhunpo monastery in India, made Borrego Springs’ mall one of their stops in a 10-month trek across the United States and Canada. Their journey was endorsed by the Dalai Lama.

More than 20 people sat and observed, some meditating along with the monks in the courtyard. A dozen or so others stopped and watched the ceremony, which started at 9 a.m.

“I came to see the monks and share conscious space,” said Stephanie Schoville of San Diego. She wore a T-shirt of the Hindu god Vishnu and sat cross-legged with her eyes closed during the ceremony.

Those in attendance said it was an unusual moment in the town, surrounded by the Anza-Borrego state park 30 miles west of the Salton Sea.

Valerie Guelke, branch manager of Borrego Springs’ library, watched the ceremony from the library’s doorstep. “It’s marvelous,” Guelke said. “It’s nice something like this can be brought to this community.”

The monks was scheduled to perform a monastic dance later in the evening. They had been in town three days, discussing their history, meditating and performing at Borrego Springs High School.

An unusual item adorned one of the monks’ burgundy togas: a Star of David medallion. It was a gift from Abhi Perakh of Escondido, an Israeli.

“Sharing culture, that’s the thing (you) do when you’re making peace, isn’t it?” she said. “I came here to share culture and their light.”

Ngulchu Rinpoche, who wore the gift, agreed.

“The reason we came here was to share our culture with your culture,” Rinpoche said. “I appreciate (her gift).”

Rinpoche said the ceremony would restore harmony and peace in the world. He added that the monks’ purpose was to bring awareness of Tibet’s plight.

“Right at this moment, there is a loss of culture in Tibet. There is no freedom for Buddhists,” he said.

According to the monks’ Web site — — the monastery in Tibet was the seat of the Panchen Lama, the second highest spiritual authority in the country, for more than 500 years. In the wake of the Cultural Revolution in communist China, the monastery was re-established in India in 1972.

Reach D.S. Perez at (909) 763-3468 or

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