Five Tibetan monks of the Gaden Shartse Monastery will be visiting Newport from March 12 through 17, to present talks, demonstrate ancient Tibetan traditions and share peace with Lincoln County’s residents.
The monks are on a two-year tour of the United States and visited Newport and Lincoln City last year to present a series of three talks. This year, the six-day visit will include the construction of a sacred Medicine Buddha Sand Mandala, which is created through meticulously placing colored sand into an intricate pattern using the same metal funnels that have been used for 800 years in the creation of Tibetan sand mandalas.
The mandala will be created at the Pacific Maritime Heritage Center in Newport over the course of their visit, and the public is welcome to observe the process from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on all but the opening and closing days, during which the schedule is altered for the opening and dissolution ceremonies. The Maritime Center is located on the Newport Bayfront at 333 SE Bay Blvd.
During the monks’ daily work, those visiting the site will also have the opportunity to meet and purchase handcrafted items from them. There will also a series of public talks, as well as sacred rituals and ceremonies and a pair of artistic workshops for all ages — some events will take place outside the Maritime Center, those details can be found in the tour schedule online.
A hands on experience
On Saturday, March 16, from 10 a.m. to noon, the monks will host a butter sculpture workshop at the Newport Recreation Center. The practice of butter sculpture traditionally involves using yak butter and barley flour to sculpt “tormas,” figures used in rituals or as offerings in Tibetan Buddhism. This beginner’s workshop is suitable for all ages.
On Sunday, March 17, from 10 a.m. to noon, the monks will be hosting a two-part workshop at the Maritime Center on Tibetan Calligraphy and sand mandalas. Participants will receive instruction on how to create the intricate, elegant script of Tibetan calligraphy. At that workshop, there will also be a chance to try what the monks will spend all week doing, even using the same tools — though the workshop designs will be far less daunting for new mandala-makers. For younger attendees, who may struggle with these activities, there will be mandala designs to color with crayons.
Pre-registration with the Lincoln County Friends of Tibet is recommended for attending either workshop.
There is no admission cost for any of the events, though some events do have a suggested donation, generally ranging from $10-30. However, no one will be turned away for lack of funds.
For more information and a full schedule of events, visit www.sacredartsoftibettour.org or the “Lincoln County Friends of Tibet” Facebook page. To contact the Lincoln County Friends of Tibet, email [email protected] or call 530-748-9365 or 541-336-1315.