Tibetan monks perform traditional dances and chants Friday

By Betsey Bruner, Arizona Daily Sun, Feb 3, 2005

Arizona, USA -- Tibetan Buddhist monks from the Gaden Shartse Monastery will present an evening of cultural performances featuring traditional dances, chanting and monastic debate Friday at 7 p.m. at the Coconino Center for the Arts, 2300 N. Fort Valley Road.

The Gaden Shartse monks, using ancient instruments and multiphonic chanting, will lead the audience through visualization and ritual, taking away negative energy. The lama will offer protection by creating a diamond-like, impenetrable layer of light around them.

"This is an energizing ceremony for people who are always giving," said Barry Ganoe, a Flagstaff resident who has been instrumental in bringing these monks to the Flagstaff area since 1989. "The purpose of religious practice in any form in Tibetan Buddhism is to bring happiness to all living beings and to restore the environment."

After Gaden Monastery was destroyed in Tibet, it was reestablished in 1969 in southern India, on land donated by the Indian Government.

Begun by a small group of elder monks and 15 young boys, it has grown to include more than 1,600 resident students, teachers, scholars and spiritual practitioners.

The high quality of the educational programs has established Gaden Shartse as a leader in Buddhist and Tibetan studies. Many of the monks were born in India, but many have escaped from Tibet. Young monks still arrive weekly seeking shelter and education.

"With the generous help of friends and neighbors, we have had the pleasure of hosting the Shartse Monks a number of times since 1989," Ganoe said. "It is always a privilege to help them raise funds for their monastery. They began touring when it became necessary to turn away young monks because they could not afford to feed them. The money raised on the tours provides for the monks food, clothing, health care, and housing and supports the educational activities at the Gaden Monastic College."

The suggested donation is $12. Tickets are available at Aradia Bookstore, Sacred Rites and at the door. Attendees are invited to bring an offering and a photo for the altar. Blessed nectar will be handed out.

For more information, call Barry Ganoe at 774-3745.