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Easton last tour stop for monks
Tibetans to create ancient art inside local business
The Express-Times, August 29, 2001

EASTON, Pennsylvania -- Ten Tibetan Monks are scheduled to visit The Yoga Studio of Easton tonight during a stop in the Easton area.

The visit includes the creation of a sand mandala in Palmer Township on Monday and Tuesday.

Nine of the monks, from the Drepung Gomang Monastery located in South India, were in the area Monday; a 10th was in New York City with plans to be in Easton today, according to Michael Lear, organizer of the monks’ stay.

The monks’ visit concludes their yearlong tour of the United States to raise money for their monastery in India. In late March, they visited the Yoga Studio at 524 Northampton St. in Easton.

During their last stop, the monks performed Tibetan prayers, chanting and costumed dances reflecting the mystical and sacred qualities of their endangered culture, Lear said in a news release.

The monks’ lectures covered topics such as Tibetan yoga, Tibetan Buddhist medicine and the political situation in Tibet.

Tonight’s session is set to begin at 6:30 p.m. in The Yoga Studio of Easton. The suggested tax-deductible donation is $17 but no one will be turned away, said Lear, who owns SOMA Health Potentials at 27 S. Second St. in Easton.

Drepung Monastic University opened in 1416 in Tibet, which is in central Asia and within the boundaries of China in the nation’s southwest region. When communist China completed its invasion of Tibet in 1959, 100 of the 5,500 monks studying there followed the 14th Dalai Lama into exile in India, according to Lear’s release. The monastery opened in 1969, Lear said.

India’s government donated the land for the Drepung Gomang Monastery. Hundreds of Tibetans - some as young as 6 years old - flee Tibet each year to come to the monastery and study, Lear said.

During their visit to Easton area, the monks are creating a sand mandala dedicated to long life inside Wilson Products Compressed Gas Co. at 3411 Northwood Ave. in Palmer Township. The company’s owner, Bruce Groner, supports the monks and invited them to create the mandala.

The art of creating mandalas - three-dimensional forms of sand - is known in Tibetan as dul-tson-kyil-khor or mandala of colored powder, according to Lear’s release. Millions of grains of sand are painstakingly laid on a flat platform over a period of days.

When finished, to symbolize the impermanence of all that exists, the colored sands are swept up and poured into a nearby river or stream where the waters carry healing energies throughout the world, according to Lear’s release.


Updated: 1-9-2001

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