Bahai News -- The Exponent - Monks share compassion and wisdom of the East FEATURES

Monks share compassion and wisdom of the East

Photo courtesy of Dave Raymer

Tibetan monks work on a sand sculpture. Ten Buddhist monks will be in the area during the weekend to participate in various religious events.

By Julie Glaser
Assistant Features Editor

As part of a nationwide tour, ten Tibetan monks will visit Purdue and the surrounding areas this weekend. The monks will participate in various community events and discussions beginning today and lasting through Monday.

The monks began touring in 1996 after the Dalai Lama decided it was important to create a bridge between the cultures of the East and the West. The monks' goal in their travels is to introduce Westerners to the Drepung Gomang Monastery where the monks live in India after being exiled from their country by the Chinese to raise money for their monastery and to share the compassion and wisdom of Tibetan Buddhism.

"They want to make friends with Americans," said Dave Raymer, a Lafayette resident and Tibet supporter who was instrumental in organizing the monks' visit.

At 2 p.m. today in the Purdue Memorial Union, there will be a welcome reception for the monks hosted by the Purdue Student Union Board. From 5-6 tonight the monks will participate in a public discussion at Twice Turned Pages, 518 Main St., Lafayette. From 7-9 Saturday night, the monks will participate in a multi-faith discussion group at St. Thomas Aquinas Center. Religious leaders from Purdue and the surrounding community will be present at the event. Those attending include leaders from the Roman Catholic, Islamic, Lutheran, Jewish, Mennonite and Bahai communities.

The Rev. Jim Barnett of St. Thomas Aquinas Center said that they were very open to the monks' visit because he thinks it will be a great cultural experience for all involved.

"When the monks come in, they want to get with local religious leaders," Barnett said. "They are very much committed to sharing in an inter-faith group about peace and the situation in the world right now."

Barnett said he thinks students have much to gain from the monks' visit. "I'd say the number one thing is that a huge portion of the world is Buddhist and is a major force of promoting peace in the world, especially during a time when we are facing terrorism and the United States' invasion and occupation of Iraq.

"The monks give us the opportunity to look at another perspective, a perspective of non-violent ways to achieve peace," Barnett said.

On Sunday, the monks will teach about their culture in the Tibetan Cultural Pageant from 4-6 p.m. at St. Thomas Aquinas Center. From 3-5 p.m. Monday they will be at the Purdue International Center to take part in children's programs, and they will then cook a traditional Tibetan meal from 5:30-7 p.m. at the International Center that is open to the public with reservations. From 7:30-9 p.m. Monday they will participate in a forum with the Purdue Students for a Free Tibet.

n For meal reservations call the International Center at 743-4353.

©Copyright 2003, The Purdue Exponenet (IN, USA)

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The Purdue Componenet:
Phayul (Tibet>:

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