The Gaden Shartse Tibetan Monks from India are visiting Hunterdon County and New Hope from December 2-8, 2013. They will be performing at Delaware Valley High School and appearing at several cultural events as part of their Sacred Earth Healing Tour. Flemington and Frenchtown restaurants have also generously offered to provide lunch for the monks throughout the week. The public is invited to join them. The First Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Hunterdon County is sponsoring their stay.
The monks’ schedule includes a ‘Chay Drol’ Purification Ritual & Group Healing at the Cornerstone Treehouse, 419 York Road, New Hope, on Friday, Dec. 6, from 6-8 p.m. Chay Drol literally translates as “to make free of obstacles,” and is a ritual that helps to remove impediments which prevent one from achieving enlightenment, say adherents.
The ritual begins with the Lama generating himself in the form of the Buddha Tara. He then places colored strings and pieces of cloth on various parts of the participant’s body; and through ritual, one’s negativities and obstacles are fused to the strings and pieces of cloth. The Lama then uses ‘Wisdom Weapons’ to cut the obstacles from the participant, thereby freeing them and opening the door to liberation. Hokey smokes!
All donations and proceeds from their events go to support the monks in their mission to share their culture, as well as practices and paths to inner peace, compassion and tolerance. Accomplishments of previous tours have provided funds for construction of new buildings at Gaden Shartse, including the new debate hall. Additional funds raised by past tours have supported medical needs, teachers’ salaries and the day to day expenses of the monastery.
Gaden Shartse Monastic College is situated amid lush green hills and jungle in the remote countryside of southern India. It was founded in 1969 as an effort to reestablish one of the great monastic traditions of Tibet.
A small group of elder monks and 15 young boys, all of whom had managed to escape the destruction in Tibet, settled on land given to them by the Indian government in Mundgod, Karnataka. Today, it is at the forefront of the revival of Tibetan Monastic education with more than 1,600 resident students, teachers, scholars, and spiritual practitioners. Due to the success of the academic program and the quality of the teachers at the monastery, Shartse has established a reputation as being the leader in the field of Buddhist and Tibetan studies.
More than 70% of the members are between the ages of 10 and 25 and 80% of these were born in Tibet. To this day, young monks arrive at the Monastery weekly from Tibet seeking shelter and education. More information can be found on their website at www.GadenShartseCulturalFoundation.org and www.hunterdonuu.org/monks.