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Standing room only

Sacred chants and laughter spilled out of the Carman Community Room at the Liverpool Public Library the evening of Oct. 21. The sound caused some entering the facility to pause with curiosity at the door but, if they were looking for a seat, they were out of luck.

More than 100 people had already packed the room to hear the seven monks from the Gaden Shartse Monastery located in the Tibetan Refugee Settlement at Mundgod, India.

The monks visited the library to share some of their sacred multiphonic chants with the community and, through a talk and slide show, provide a glimpse into life at the monastery.

The visit was only part of a tour spanning several continents. The monks will be in Central New York through the month of October. "The Sacred Earth and Healing Arts of Tibet" tour is raising money for the education of monks at the monastery, and helping to spread Buddhist teachings.

An anonymous donor made the stop in Liverpool possible.

Jangchub Chophel, the monk who helped present much of the event is originally from Southern California. He gently joked with the audience about the tour's plans for getting out of the area before winter arrives.

"I love Central New York," he said. "It's our favorite place - in October it is. Maybe not so much in February. I planned the whole tour out of coming here in October and getting out in November."

Humor embedded throughout the event did not overshadow the seriousness of the monks' chants.

The monks sang twice, once as an invocation to the "destroyer of death." The second time was a dedication chant, the purpose of which is to take positive energy and dedicate it to all living beings.

The chants are actually prayers in the Tibetan language used in conjunction with hand movements to bring enlightenment. The sound varied from low and guttural to higher harmonies.

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