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Soul on Fire: Tibetan monks visit Encinitas

Our friends over at the California Institute for Human Science (CIHS) are welcoming the monks of Gaden Shartse Monastic College to lead a course on Tibetan Buddhism along with a series of healing and empowerment ceremonies. Each offering is designed to help illuminate the nature of the mind and provide us with the courage and renewal needed to meet modern life’s challenges.

The series began on July 1 and will still be open at the time this column comes out. The Medicine Buddha healing (bringing to light the inner capacity for healing), a Vajrasattva Empowerment (associated with the purification of karma and removal of obstacles) and a White Tara empowerment (associated with compassion and long life). Seems timely.

I asked what the benefit for the readership will be to participate in what is being offered by the monks. I was told that this group provides the opportunity to observe and learn from the representatives of an unbroken lineage, a rare glimpse into the life used in the mastery of spiritual practice.

Observing the monks makes me think of the quote by Thich Nhat Hanh.

“There is a misconception that Buddhism is a religion and that you worship Buddha. Buddhism is a practice, like yoga. You can be a Christian and practice Buddhism. I met a Catholic priest who lives in a Buddhist monastery in France. He told me that Buddhism makes him a better Christian. I love that.”

Seeing the reverence and dedication to something greater than yourself is always inspiring and brings us closer to our own enlightenment. I hope you take this opportunity to check it out while they are in Encinitas.

The monks of Gaden Shartse Norling Monastic College arrived in the United States in February for their 2020-2022 Sacred Arts of Tibet Tour. They were in Grass Valley when the coronavirus required them to return to their stateside monastery in Long Beach for the quarantine. During this time, the tour monks and monks at Gaden Shartse Thubten Dhargye Ling have offered daily prayers and the creation of Four Sacred Sand Mandalas dedicated to the healing well-being of all sentient beings. Sheltering the monks during this challenging time has been made possible by the kind donations of their sponsors.

The primary purpose of the tour is to present the Tibetan perspective of Buddha’s teachings, present numerous Empowerments, and provide lectures. The generous funds donated help maintain the Gade Shartse University’s temples, classrooms, library, texts, kitchens, food, grounds, and fields. Approximately $2 is needed to support one monk for one day.

The success of the tour is due to the help and generosity of those who support the tours.

All of the community events series will be held online and are open to the general public.  Find out more and get details on what offerings are still available by visiting the CIHS website at