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November 5, 2010
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab



Tibetan monks visit SRU, offer diversity, art       


SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Seven monks and a translator from the Gaden Shartse Monastery Sacred Earth Healing Arts of Tibet will spend Nov. 8-12 on the Slippery Rock University campus discussing their life and showing their artistic talents as part of Tibetan Culture Week.

           The visit is hosted by SRU’s International Arts and Cultures Series and is sponsored by SRU’s College of Humanities Fine and Performing Arts, the Office of International Services, the SRU Asian Studies Center and the departments of philosophy, political science, modern languages and cultures, geography, geology and the environment, and art.

           Andrew Colvin, assistant professor of philosophy, is organizing the visit.

           The Gaden Shartse Monastery was founded in Tibet in the mid-1409s as a learning center dedicated to developing practices to inner peace and compassion. It was destroyed during the Chinese invasion in the 1950s and has been re-established in India, Colvin said. The SRU visit includes monks of the Gelygpa order of Tibetan Buddhism, which is headed by the Dalai Lama.

           Monks from the monastery have been visiting the U.S. since 1989 with a two-fold mission: To be of service to the world community by helping to spread peace, harmony, compassion and tolerance through cultural exchange, interfaith dialog, and Buddhist teachings; and to raise funds that will provide for the education, maintenance, housing and medical needs of the Tibetan Refugee Settlement at Mundgod, India.

           As part of their campus visit, the monk will begin creation of a sand Mandala at 8 a.m. Monday in Carruth Rizza Hall. Their work, which will cointue daly until 5 p.m., will be available for viewing through Thursday. The monks use metal tubes filled with colored, ground gemstones to build the intricate sacred sand painting (Mandala). The highly trained monks will create a detailed, two-dimensional, sand painting.

           The meditative Mandala will be destroyed in a ceremonial dissolution at noon Nov. 12. Some of its materials, which signify the transience of life, will be distributed to interested participants and the remainder carried to Rock Falls Park for release.

           The group will screen the film “What Remains of Us,” as a fundraiser, at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Advanced Technology and Science Hall Auditorium.The film, presented in conjunction with Tibetech, is described as “a breathtaking and poignant film – filmed undercover for 10 years, by a young Tibetan from Québec, Canada, who enters her homeland for the first time – carrying a video message from the dalai lama to Tibetans inside Tibet.”

           The film explores hope, nonviolent resistance and what happens when indigenous cultures disappear. 

           Journey to the Roof of the World: Sacred Dances and Chants of Tibet will be offered at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in Swope Music Hall.

           The presentation will cover a number of sacred sounds heard from the roof of the world. Long hidden behind the Himalayan mountain ranges, the ancient Tibetan culture remained virtually untouched by the outside world for thousands of years. Those attending will have an opportunity to experience the rare sounds and dramatic imagery of Tibetan sacred dances, music, and chants.

           Admission is $5 for the general public, free for SRU students.

In addition to the campus events, the monks will present two, off-campus events sponsored by Ginger Hill Unitarian Universalist Church of Slippery Rock.

A Vajravidharan Healing Ceremony is at 7:30 p.m., Monday. Venerable Jangchub Chophel, a Buddhist monk in the Tibetan tradition and the director of the Gaden Shartse Cultural Foundation, will lecture at 7:30 p.m., Nov. 12, about “The Inside Job: Journey of a Western Buddhist Monk.”

While in the area, the monks will be staying with current and retired SRU faculty members.

Additional information may be found at

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania’s premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.