Monks visit CNY

An enlightening tour is coming to Central New York.

Monks from the Gaden Shartse Monastery, a Tibetan refugee rehabilitation settlement in Mundgod, India, are traveling across the country sharing their Buddhist way of life and their next stop is here.

"This is a fundraising tour," said Dr. Joan Coff of Baldwinsville, who is the local director of the tour. "There's a lot of instability in world today. The underlying focus of the Tibetan culture is to bring peace and foster humanity. That's what [the monks] are all about."

Through the tour, Coff has organized various events for individuals and groups to participate in to learn more about the monks and their Tibetan culture.

"Some events are cultural, some are Buddhist in nature," Coff she said. "It's not just a Buddhist tour. It's a Tibetan culture tour."

From Nov. 1 to Nov. 9, participants can sign up for individual healings, peace talks (7 p.m. Nov. 3) at Willard Chapel in Auburn and at the Baldwinsville Public Library (7 p.m. Nov. 6), lunch on several occasions and more.

"Many have signed up for traditional Tibetan Buddhist healing," Coff said.

The visitors will also conduct a Tara Puja. A Puja is an offering that brings a deity's energy into the room for participants to absorb. Tara is a female deity that the monks will focus on while here in Central New York.

"If a person is not familiar with Tibetan Buddhism, they would probably be enchanted with the rituals, the complexities and the beauty of their traditions," Coff said. "I really encourage people to check this out."

In exile

An influential aspect of Tibetan Buddhist culture is their exile from Tibet, caused by the invasion of China in 1959. After the invasion, many Tibetans sought refuge in India establishing monasteries to preserve their way of life. Those monasteries have since grown to include orphanages, which are filling quickly with Tibetan children traveling from Tibet through the Himalayas into India.

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