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Monks Return to Laguna Beach for Tibetan Cultural Arts Tour to Create Mandala Dedicated to World Peace

The following is a press release from an organization unaffiliated with Culture OC. The information provided has been written by the submitting organization and not by the writers at Culture OC. We include this on our site in the spirit of sharing information about the arts and culture community in Orange County.


Seven holy men will offer house blessings and share Tibetan culture, sand mandala, music, history.


After a five-year hiatus, the Drepung Gomang monks of India will return to Laguna Beach for a week for their Sacred Tibetan Arts Tour. Seven monks and their driver will offer a glimpse into their culture from April 14-21. The holy men are scholars from Tibet's oldest monastery and direct disciples of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. They will construct a mandala, an intricate design made from fine, multi-colored sand, sing their unique trichord chanting at the beginning and end of each day, perform blessings to conjure positive energy at homes and businesses, and present pujas. Pujas are stylized rituals that combine chanting, music, prayer, and visualizations using Tibetan instruments and multi-tonal singing. Guests may visit to watch the monks construct the sand mandala at Healy House on the grounds of the Sawdust Art Festival. Events are open to the public; donations are gratefully accepted. All proceeds support the 2,000-plus monks who live at the Drepung Gomang Monastery in Mundgod, India and their educational and spiritual efforts toward world peace. Full schedule and details can be found at monksinlaguna.com


The mandala dissolution ceremony at the end of their visit, Sunday, April 21 at 2 pm, will be memorable. After laboring over their detailed design all week, the monks will sweep it into a pile of sand and give guests small packets to remind them of life's impermanence and the importance of good works. They will then proceed to Main Beach on foot with anyone who cares to join, accompanied by drums and cymbals, then chant and cast the remaining sand into the ocean as a reminder of the transient nature of all things.


For the eighth time, a volunteer committee of organizers led by musician Pam Wicks has arranged their accommodations in a private home, as well as their meals and transportation. Wicks said, "We feel fortunate to welcome the monks to Laguna again. They have traveled across the United States to various communities like ours since last August. Having them as our guests to share their art, culture, and blessings is a marvelous opportunity for everyone in our community to learn about this struggling nation's history, culture, and Tibetan Buddhism.


"We wish to acknowledge and thank the Sawdust Festival community for once again opening their hearts and donating their beautiful property as the site of this event," Wicks added. "Likewise, we are grateful to the Neighborhood Congregational Church for their collaboration and generosity in providing their campus for three evening events on April 15, 17, and 20."


Visitors can observe morning and evening chanting rituals and watch the mandala creation from 10 am to 5 pm daily, April 14 – 21. NOTE: On April 18 and 20, the hours are 10 am to 4 pm. 


From April 14 to 21, the monks will offer house blessings at homes, offices, galleries, studios, and churches by prior appointment. For information and scheduling or to volunteer, contact Pam Wicks at pwicks23@gmail.com.


The Sawdust Festival grounds are at 935 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach. Metered parking is available. Neighborhood Congregational Church is at 340 St. Ann's Drive, Laguna Beach (parking off Glenneyre).


Tibetan prayer flags are available for $15 for a five-foot length. The bright cloth flags will fly at the Sawdust Festival grounds, be blessed by the monks, and then be given to each donor at the conclusion of their visit. In Tibetan Buddhism, colorful prayer flags are printed with auspicious symbols, invocations, prayers, and mantras promoting peace, wisdom, and compassion. It is said that the wind spreads goodwill to all beings. For information about prayer flags, email monksvisitlaguna@gmail.com.

 

Schedule: Drepung Gomang Monks' Visit to Laguna Beach

Each day, guests are invited to hear the monks' unique trichord chanting at the beginning and end of each day, approximately 10 am and 5 pm (Wednesday and Saturday, 10 am to 4 pm). A puja is a worship ritual of chanting, music, prayer, and visualizations accompanied by Tibetan instruments.


Sunday, April 14

  • 1 – 5 pm – Opening ceremonies for the World Peace Mandala, Healy House at the Sawdust Festival, 935 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach. Metered parking available.

Monday, April 15

  • 10 am – 5 pm Mandala creation, Healy House at Sawdust Festival, 935 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach. Metered parking available.

  • 7 – 9 pm – Teaching: Introduction to Buddhism, followed by Guru Puja for good health, relief from suffering, and removal of obstacles and negativities. Neighborhood Congregational Church, 340 St. Ann's Drive at Glenneyre Street. Suggested donation $10

 Tuesday, April 16

  • 10 am – 5 pm Mandala creation, Healy House at the Sawdust Festival, 935 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach. Metered parking available.

  • 6 – 8 pm. – "Dinner with the Monks" – Over a casual Indian dinner, all are invited to dine with the monks, hear their stories, and ask questions. Kebab Kurry, The Hive, 793 Laguna Canyon Rd, Laguna Beach. Suggested donation of $40 includes dinner, tax, tip, and a donation to the monks.

Wednesday, April 17

  • 10 am to 4 pm – Mandala creation, Healy House at the Sawdust Festival, 935 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach. Metered parking available.

  • 6 to 8 pm – Explanation of the World Peace mandala with special guests from the interfaith community, followed by chanting for world peace. Neighborhood Congregational Church, 340 St. Ann's Drive at Glenneyre Street. Suggested donation $10

Thursday, April 18 

  • 10 am – 5 pm – Mandala creation, Healy House at the Sawdust Festival, 935 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach. Metered parking available.

  • (No evening events)

Friday, April 19

  • 10 am – 5 pm – Mandala creation, Healy House at the Sawdust Festival, 935 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach. Metered parking available.

  • 7 to 9 pm – Chod puja followed by teaching on the Four Noble Truths. Healy House at the Sawdust Festival grounds. Suggested donation $10

Saturday, April 20

  • 10 am – 4 pm – Mandala creation, Healy House at the Sawdust Festival, 935 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach. Metered parking available.

  • 10 am – 4 pm – Children's activities and workshops. Community wellness booths include yoga, sound healing, and kirtan (call/response chanting). Sawdust Festival grounds

  • 7 – 9 pm – Cultural pageant featuring Mandala Prayer, the Good Luck Dance, the Black Hat Dance, the Snow Lion Dance, and more. Eventbrite tickets can be purchased in advance: $15 single, family $25, under 10 years free. Neighborhood Congregational Church, 340 St. Ann's Drive at Glenneyre Street.

Sunday, April 21

  • 10 am to 2 pm – Monks will complete the World Peace mandala at Healy House at the Sawdust Festival. Immediately following is the dissolution ceremony and procession on foot to Main Beach to cast the remaining sand into the ocean as a reminder that all is ephemeral.

Monday, April 22

  • 10 am–noon – Monks will visit The Ecology Center on Earth Day to bless its new geodesic Wellness Dome and tour the farm. The Ecology Center, 32701 Alipaz Street, San Juan Capistrano.

Tuesday, April 23

  • 5 pm – Monks will visit the new Rivian South Coast Theater for a blessing ceremony. 162 South Coast Highway, Laguna Beach. 

Full schedule and details: monksinlaguna.com

 

The Drepung Gomang monks' mission

Donations from the host community support these geshes (monk scholars). Drepung Gomang Center for Engaging Compassion is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Tashi Gomang Dharma Center in Louisville, Kentucky, hosts the nationwide Drepung Gomang Sacred Arts Tours annually in the United States. During these tours, the monks visit dozens of communities to share compassion and joy. Their home is Drepung Gomang Monastery in Mundgod, India, where more than 2,000 monks live and learn. It plays a major role in serving the refugee monk community.

The four-fold mission of the visitors from the Drepung Gomang Monastery is to:

  • Contribute to world healing and peace by sharing Tibetan Buddhist teachings, sacred religious performances, and chanting, as well as Tibet's unique identity, treasures of culture, and authentic traditions.

  • Generate awareness of the endangered Tibetan civilization and human rights abuses by the Communist Chinese since 1959 and draw attention to an increasingly desperate situation due to the massive displacement of Tibetans by Chinese citizens sent there by the Communist government.

  • Raise support for the refugee monk community in south India, including food, healthcare, and hygiene needs, as well as improvements to their educational facilities.

  • Offer prayers to heal human and environmental tragedies and promote earth stewardship.

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