Gaden Shartse Monastery Returns to Olin to Open W&J Art Series

Created: September 24, 2015
Last Updated: July 10, 2020

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WASHINGTON, PA (Sept. 24, 2015) — The Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) Art Series begins Sept. 28 with the arrival of The Gaden Shartse Monastery of Tibet’s “Sacred Arts of Tibet” Tour.

Various events, detailed below, will be held at Olin Fine Arts Center between Sept. 28 and Oct. 2, including public lectures and a musical performance.

A highlight of the Monastery’s visit will be the ongoing construction of a sand mandala in the lobby of Olin Fine Arts Center. The monks will create this art over a period of between 75 and 125 hours by applying colored sand to a large surface through a method of tapping a sand-filled metal cone. Sand mandalas typically represent the architectural layout of the palace of a specific deity.

“W&J Arts Series is dedicated to bringing a variety of culturally significant performances to our students. We strive to bring the monks back every 4 years so that every student has the chance to interact with them,” said Olin House Manager Arlene Shaw. “Not every student will be able to travel to Tibet or to see Buddhist monks in person outside of the college, so this helps to enhance their understanding of the world beyond the United States and Europe.”

This is the third time W&J has had the pleasure of hosting The Gaden Shartse Monastery of Tibet. The organization was previously in residence at W&J in 2008 and in 2011.

Prophesized by Buddha himself, the Gaden Monastery was created in 1409 CE and is the original Buddhist monastery of the Gelug tradition of Tibet. Its creation is said to have been prophesied by Buddha himself, and one of the monks visiting W&J is Geshe Lobsang Khamchuk Rinpoche, who was recognized as the reincarnated high lama Gedun Jinpa by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 1990.

“Exposure to different art forms helps the budding artist, and indeed everyone, expand their horizons and see the world in a new way. Interaction with people from different cultures develops the artist within, as they see a new way of looking at the world and methods of practicing or achieving art,” Shaw said.

The Monastery will host two lectures, The Four Noble Truths, The Teaching of Buddha and World Peace and the Unity of all Religions, on Sept. 29 and 30, respectively, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The monks will perform Tara Puja and Tea Offering Rituals on Oct. 1 at 7:30 p.m. This ritual invokes Tara Puja, the female emanation of the Buddha of Compassion, to help relieve the suffering of all sentient beings with lots of chanting and musical instruments.

The monks will eat their meals at The Commons, W&J’s dining hall, and will visit classrooms in order to interact with students. Shaw said she hopes the Monks will be able to give new experiences to the entire community as well.

“With a varied season for the W&J Arts Series at an affordable price,” she said, “It is hoped that every community member will find something that peaks their interest, and perhaps something new that they’ve never experienced before.”

More information about the Monastery is available at The Gaden Shartse Monastery of Tibet website. Information about other upcoming Arts Series events is available on the W&J Arts Series webpage.

 

Gaden Shartse Monastery Schedule of Events at W&J:

Monday, Sept. 28

  • Mandala Construction in Olin Lobby, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Opening Mandala Ceremony, 11 a.m.

Olin Lobby, Manjushri, The Buddha of Wisdom

Tuesday, Sept. 29

  • Mandala Construction in Olin Lobby, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Evening Lecture (free and open to public): Olin Theatre, 7 to 8:30 p.m., The Four Noble Truths, The Teaching of Buddha Suffering, the Causes of Suffering, the End of Suffering, and the Path to Freedom, followed by Q&A

Wednesday, Sept. 30

  • Mandala Construction in Olin Lobby, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Evening Lecture (free and open to public): Olin Theatre, 7 to 8:30 p.m., World Peace and the Unity of all Religions, followed by Q&A

Thursday, Oct. 1

  • Mandala Construction in Olin Lobby, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Evening Performance (ticketed event): Olin Theatre, 7:30 to 9 p.m., Tara Puja and Tea Offering Rituals. The Tara Puja is done in most Tibetan Monasteries daily to dispel obstacles and to help flourish all Dharma activities. It is a lively, active practice involving lots of chanting and musical instruments, including the drum, bells, cymbals and conch. Tara Puja is the female emanation of the Buddha of Compassion, the ritual is invoking her to help relieve the suffering of all sentient beings. There will be a Q&A afterwards.

Friday, Oct. 2

  • Mandala Construction in Olin Lobby, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Closing Mandala Ceremony, 3:15 p.m.

About Washington & Jefferson College

Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.

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