Thursday, April 09, 2009

Tibet on campus

Spearheaded by PG major Tashi Chogyal '09 (see earlier posts), if you're in the area do attend or at least come by to see the sand mandala--

Tibetan Monks to Perform Sacred Healing Dance
April 3, 2009

The famed Tibetan monks who sold out Carnegie Hall with a show including multiphonic singing, 10-foot horns, and masked dancing, will appear at Kilworth Memorial Chapel for a single performance on Saturday, April 11, at 8 p.m. The monks from Tibet's Drepung Loseling Monastery will also spend three days creating a mandala (circular and cosmic) painting of colored sand, which will then be destroyed in a ceremony symbolizing the impermanence of life. The events coincide with the 50th anniversary of the takeover of Tibet by China's former chairman Mao Tse-Tung. Tickets are $11 for the public, $6 for campus members.

The Dance for World Healing features multiphonic singing, wherein the 10 monks simultaneously intone three notes of a chord, and traditional instruments such as the long dung-chen horns, drums, bells, cymbals, and gyaling trumpets. Rich brocade costumes and masked dances create an exotic atmosphere. The performance is part of an international tour endorsed by the Dalai Lama. The aim is to raise awareness of threats to Tibetan civilization and to raise support for the Tibetan refugee community in India.

The Drepung Loseling monks have won world renown. They are featured on the Golden Globe-nominated soundtrack of the film Seven Years in Tibet, starring Brad Pitt, and have shared the stage with Philip Glass, Paul Simon, Sheryl Crow, Patti Smith, the Beastie Boys, and other artists.

During their Tacoma stay, the monks will construct a 10-foot wide mandala sand painting in the Reading Room of Collins Memorial Library. This will begin with a ceremony including chanting and mantras starting at noon on Thursday, April 9, and finish with a ceremony starting at noon on Saturday, April 11. The painting requires that millions of grains of sand are painstakingly poured into place on a flat platform over many hours. Each monk holds a traditional metal funnel called a chakkpur while running a metal rod on its grated surface. The vibration causes the colored sand to flow like liquid onto the platform. At the end the sand is swept up and placed in an urn. To fulfill the function of traditional healing, half of the sand will be distributed to the audience in small sacks or vials, while the remainder will be ceremonially poured out on the Ruston waterfront to disperse the healing energies of the mandala throughout the region.

Sponsors of the event are University of Puget Sound's Cultural Events and the Associated Students of the University of Puget Sound, with support from the Chism Endowment, Department of Asian Studies, and Students for a Free Tibet. Tickets for the performance are available at the information desk in Wheelock Student Center.