Labrang Tashikyil Tour Programs (2018)

Suggested Donations
Please make out checks to Kumbum Chamtse-Ling, Inc; memo line: “monks”
Kumbum Chamtse-Ling, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.
EIN is 20-5248653


TIBETAN

  • A Powerpoint presentation about the history, people, and culture of Tibet — in the past and in the present.  The presentation will be followed by a Q/A session. (Suggested Donation: $10 per person)
  • Hands-on workshops on Tibetan cooking, Tibetan Yoga, Tibetan Language & Alphabet, and Tibetan Art. (Suggested Donation: $10 per person)
  • Tibetan Dinner:   The monks will prepare and cook a typical Tibetan Dinner for guests.  Recipe Cards of Tibetan Dishes Will Be Available for Sale.  You may also download them here(Suggested Donation: $20 per person)
  • A performance  of a Tibetan village dance called “Tashi Sholpa.”  This dance welcomes His Holiness the Dalai   Lama  whenever he visits a monastery or Tibetan settlement.  This dance is included with the Tibetan Dinner.  The Monks will welcome the guests with this dance. (Suggested Donation: $10 per person)
tashi

Tashi Sholpa Dancer


BUDDHIST
(Suggested Donation: $10 per session)

  • Workshop of Buddhist Practices
    “Welcoming His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Mandala Offering.”  His Holiness is the guest at  each Buddhist Ceremony.  The monks will chant prayers and blow their long horns to show their devotion.Then they will make a “mandala offering” to dedicate all of their virtuous actions to benefit  sentient beings.  The monks will explain the mandala offering and teach participants how to  do the mandala mudra (using hands.)   In addition, they will demonstrate how to make a prostration correctly.Instruction & Demonstration on “How to Set Up a Buddhist Altar.” (Suggested Donation: $10 per person)
altar

A Buddhist Altar

  •  Meditation Instructions with Sacred Mantras:  ChenrezigMedicine Buddha, and Tara — followed by sitting meditation sessions.  Participants will be given copies of the mantras with their explanation.  Chantings by the monks will accompany these sessions. (Suggested Donation: $10 per person)
  • Sanskrit Meditation Practice:  Mantras and prayers chanted in Sanskrit by Ven. Lobsang Jamyang. a monk trained in this practice at Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi.   Pali and Sanskrit are the original languages of Buddhism. (Suggested Donation: $10 per person)The Mantra of Interdependent Origination as taught by ShakyamuniBuddha
    Praises for Buddha
    Praises for Bodhisattvas
    The Heart Sutra 
  • Blessing Ceremonies:  Chenrezig, Medicine Buddha, and Tara.  The monks do not give empowerment, but these tantric blessings are powerful and effective. (Suggested Donation: $20 per person)
  • Teachings on the “Four Noble Truths” and the “Seven Limb” prayer (Suggested Donation: $10 per person)
  • Slide Show:  “Buddhism and a Course In Happiness at Tashi Kyil Monastery” — How the Monks Practice Buddhism in their Monastery in order to reach Enlightenment (state of happiness) (Suggested Donation: $10 per person)
  • Slide Show:  “Death & Dying in the Buddhism Tradition” – includes the 12 Links of Dependent Origination (Suggested Donation: $10 per person)
  • Sacred Sand Mandala (World Peace (4 days) and Avalokiteshvara (5 days); Buddhist teachings (the Dharma). (Suggested Donation: $2,000)
  • Pujas (Prayer Offerings) at the location and/or  at the homes of sick people.  These pujas relieve  sufferings by eliminating negativities.  In addition, the monks may perform the Black Hat Dance.  Its purpose is to eliminate the afflictive emotions and misconceptions that cause sufferings. (Suggested Donation: $20 per person)

The Black Hat Dance

  • Blessings of Homes and Businesses to Remove Obstacles (Suggested Donation: $20 per person)
  • Prayer Flags:  Bless and Hang at a Home or Business (Suggested Donation: $20 per person)
  • Smoke Puja:  Performed Outside to Eliminate Negative Obstacles (Suggested Donation: $20 per person)
  • Mo Divination (Suggested Donation: $10 per person)
  • “Chod” (a ceremony to cut off attachments).  After the monks chant this ritual, they will perform a “Skeleton Dance” to end the ceremony.  The purpose of the dance is to remind us of the Buddhist teaching that all phenomena are impermanent and have no identity from their own side. (Suggested Donation: $10 per person)
chod

Monk Performing Chod

We will give an explanation of both the ceremony and the dances.

skeleton

Skeleton Dance

  • Debate Demonstration during which the monks will debate the meaning of a text from the Dharma (English explanation provided).  Such debates are a daily part of the learning process of a monk studying the Dharma in a Tibetan monastery.  (Suggested Donation: $10 per session)

MONKS
(Suggested Donation: $10 per person)

  • Each member of the tour group can present his own life story so that the public can better understand who he is. If you go to the Bios link, you may find that you have a question or two to ask each monk.  Each monk will have a “business card” with his name and contact information.  He will give this card to anyone who wishes to keep in touch with him.
  • The tour will give a PowerPoint presentation about life at Tashi Kyil — a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery.
  • The monks will be available to join an individual or a group at a private lunch or dinner so that persons can have a chance to associate with a monk, or monks, on a personal level.

 


Workshops

Tibetan Language & Alphabet
The monks will present a Tibetan Language & Alphabet workshop to those interested in an Asian language.  Tibetan is not like Chinese.  Instead, it belongs to the Burmese family of language.  Its alphabet is based on the Sanskrit alphabet and reads from left to right. (Suggested Donation: $10 per session)

alpha

Tibetan Alphabet

Participants should be high school age or older.   We will give you a hand-out showing the Tibetan alphabet.  The monks will show you how to write several letters and will ask for volunteers from the audience to try their hand.  In addition, common phrases like “Good Day” (Tashi Deleg) and “How Are You” (Kyaay Rong Ku Tsug Dey Po Yin Pey) will be taught so that the participants can say them easily.

tashi

Tashi Deleg: Tibetan Script

 

  • Tibetan Cooking Class
    The monks will teach participants how to make traditional Tibetan dishes, such as Mo-Mo’s (meet & veggie dumplings), Tendhuk (noodle soup with meat and veggies — meat can be eliminated), and Dey Tsi (sweet ricc pudding).  (Suggested Donation: $20 per person)
  • Tibetan Yoga Class
    Two monks:  Lobsang Jamyang and Tenpa Phuntsok, will give classes in yoga as practiced at Tashi Kyil Monastery.  Clickhere for pictures of a monk performing yoga postures. (Suggested Donation: $10 per person)
  • Buddhist Practices
    Tibetans, typically, will have a Buddhist altar in their homes.  These altars will have represenations of the Three Jewels:  The Buddha (usually represented by a statue or statue); The Dharma (a “pecha” or Dharma sutra); and the Sangya (usally statues of Bodhisattvas and eminent teachers such as Tsong Khapa).  In addition, an altar will have offering bowls (usually 7) to represent the offerings of water, flowers, incense, light, sound, and food.  Frequently, an altar will also have a stupa that represents the enlightened mind of a Buddha.The monks will demonstrate how to set up an altar correctly.  They will be selling merchandise that can be used to create such an altar.  Such items can also be bought on-line from Dharma Stores.A practitioner can find that doing their practice in the presence of their altar can help to inspire them and deepen their aspirations and meditations. (Suggested Donation: $10 per person)
  • Art Workshops
    In Tibet, the creation and celebration of art is integrated with Buddhism.  It is difficult to separate them.  However, the monks will provide hands-on workshops so that participants can enjoy the artforms and learn their significance by creating items themselves.The workshops can be geared to persons of all ages:  age four to adulthood.  However, since often the little ones enjoy the workshops the most, during the workshop we will have the monks perform a traditional yak dance to entertain the children (Suggested Donation: $10 per person)
yak

Yak Dance

  • Butter Sculpture
    (Suggested Donation: $10 per person)
    Butter sculpture is an ancient Tibetan Buddhist art. Although it is not as well known as another Tibetan ritual art, the sand mandala, it is still an important aspect of Tibetan Buddhism. Butter sculptures symbolize impermanence (a main tenet of Buddhism) and are usually destroyed anywhere from a day to a few years.They are traditionally made with yak butter, but in exiled Tibetan communities, as the weather is usually warmer, they are made with ghee, fat, and wax.   Instead of sculpting with butter as is done in Tibet, participants will use play doh. The monks can teach participants how to make flowers, the conch shell, and jewels.Butter Sculptures are traditionally made every Losar, the Tibetan New Year, and for the Butter Sculpture Festival, part of “Monlam Chenmo,” that is held soon after Losar.   Butter sculptures are displayed on altars and shrines in monasteries or family homes.
monlam

Butter Sculptures at Monlam Festival in Tibet

Butter sculptures are displayed in many different ways; typically, they are made on a paddle, as free standing sculptures, or as a decoration on tsampa cones called tormas.  They are usually made in the form of flowers, “metog,” or traditional symbols such as the 8 auspicious signs.

butter

Butter Sculpture Tormas

  • Coloring Tibetan Designs
    This workshop is designed with small children in mind.  The monks will provide prepared drawings of Tibetan designs, such as the Eight Auspicious Symbols and yaks.  All that is required is that the children bring their own crayons. (Suggested Donation: $10 per person)
  •  Sand Painting
    (Suggested Donation: $10 per person)
    This workshop teaches how to create the following designs using the same techniques as monks use in creating a Sacred Sand Mandala:
    – Eight Auspicious Symbols (Tashi Dargye)
    – Yak
    – Windhorse
mandala

Monks Making a Sacred Sand Mandala & a Monk

sand

Teaching a Child How to Make a Sand Painting:  Lotus

Sand painting is an ancient Tibetan art form. The Sacred Sand Mandala is carefully constructed from dyed sand particles to represent a tradition of Buddhism. It is a transient art form thought to have originated in India and transferred in the middle ages to Tibet. The sand mandala is constructed as a vehicle to generate compassion, realize the impermanence of reality, and to heal the environment.

Millions of grains of colored sand are painstakingly laid into place on a flat platform over a period of several days, forming an intricate diagram of the enlightened mind and the ideal world. The most common substance used in the creation of dul-tson-kyil-khor is colored sand, which is ground from stone.  Other popular substances are powdered flowers, herbs or grains.  In ancient times, powdered precious and semi-precious gems were used.  Thus, lapis lazuli would be used for the blues, rubies for the reds, and so forth.

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 the healing energies throughout the world.  For detailed information about the construction process of a mandala, click here to go to the Coordinators’ Materials link and click on the links under “Sacred Sand Mandala.”

  • Tibetan Prayer Flags
    (Suggested Donation: $10 per person)
    In this workshop, the monks will teach you how to make Tibetan Prayer Flags.Prayer flags consist of auspicious mantras and prayers which are wood block printed onto squares of cotton cloth in each of the 5 Buddha colors: red, white, blue, green, and yellow.  Squares of paper, instead of cloth, will be strung together in the children’s workshop .
flag

Usually the windhorse is at the center with 4 supernatural creatures at each corner: the dragon, the garuda, the snow lion and the tiger. The horse gallops like the wind carrying the wish-fulfilling jewel. It radiates peace, prosperity, knowledge, success, long life, protection and health. The windhorse symbolizes positive personal power that eliminates all hindrances caused by illness, accidents, malign spirits and astrological auspiciousness, bestowing personal power and good luck.

Around the horse are 20-odd mantras—powerful ritual utterances—each dedicated to a particular deity.  As the wind passes over the surface of the flag, the air becomes purified and sweetened by the mantras. This is beneficial for all beings.

In addition to the mantras,  are prayers for long life and good fortune for the person who erects the flags.
Tibetan prayer flags are flown all over the Tibetan cultural world—on high mountain passes, on rooftops, above rapids in mountain streams, bridges, monasteries— everywhere.

mani

  • Mani Stones
    The stones are usually painted with the prayer “Om mani padme hum,” a prayer asking for the qualities of wisdom, compassion, and a good heart.   The monks will teach you how to create images on flat stones and decorate them with sacred mantras. (Suggested Donation: $10 per person)