The Power of Compassion

9th February, 2015 Miscellaneous

Monks of Tashi Lhunpo

Over the years I’d had some amazing changes of consciousness as the monks of Tashi Lhunpo performed their ritual dances and sacred chanting, and let’s not forget their beautiful sand mandalas – the last one I saw being made was in Salisbury cathedral. These are truly ecumenical guys who have infinite patience and then – poof – joy as away it flies. There’s an excellent video of their story below.

Over the years I’d had some amazing changes of consciousness as the monks of Tashi Lhunpo performed their ritual dances and sacred chanting, and let’s not forget their beautiful sand mandalas – the last one I saw being made was in Salisbury cathedral. These are truly ecumenical guys who have infinite patience and then – poof – joy as away it flies. There’s an excellent video of their story below.

I’ve always admired how these Tibetans have kept their culture and beliefs alive despite having had to relocate to India. Many fled over the mountains enduring great hardship. But you never hear them whinging. We can all take a lesson from them.

Young MonkWhat I wasn’t quite so aware of was the work they do with orphan children. Kids as young as 5 are taken into the monastery, educated and cared for. Now there’s an initiative to give each new young monk his own robes. This is most probably all the child will own in life. For the price of a couple of cups of Starbucks coffee you can buy a robe for a young guy like this:

Donate at www.tashi-lhunpo.org.uk  The organisers are out at the monastery buying robes for the first 50 of the young monks. But more are needed. And you know how kids grow, in this case both spiritually and physically. So the funding need is ongoing and every penny is deeply appreciated.

I’ve met some of the monks personally and been so impressed by them. One young guy had learned English in six weeks so that he could communicate with people he met on his tour of England. I still use the tingshaws he gave me when I took him home to see an English village home from the inside. All the students are incredibly bright and so focused. So eager to learn.

Mindfulness in action

Some of the older monks have endured imprisonment for their beliefs. But they have a serenity few other people can match. I asked one how he had coped with twelve years in a Chinese goal. ‘It gave me more time to meditate’ he said as he sold me some prayer flags. These guys have such humility – and a wicked smile. They really love life. The elders patiently pass on their sacred knowledge knowing that it is unlikely they will ever see their home again. I wrote about Tibetan Buddhists and their belief in reincarnation in The Book of Why. But these guys don’t ask why. They just get on with life moment by moment. True mindfulness in action. And if you’re practising mindfulness yourself you will find their chants incredibly helpful. Just immerse yourself and be in the moment. Play it loud enough and you can’t do anything else! No room for thought when these guys are in action.

And here’s a couple of performance links:

Tashi LhunpoThis is what his Holiness the Dalai Lama has to say about Tashi Lhunpo:

‘Tashi Lhunpo Monastery is one of the most important monasteries in Central Tibet besides being the traditional seat of the Panchen Lama.
After the Tibetan national uprising that took place in 1959, a handful of Tashi Lhunpo Monastery monks along with many thousands of Tibetans escaped into India. The Monastery was then subsequently re-established in Bylakuppe in Karnataka State, India. With the induction of new recruits over the years, the Monastery today has about 250 monks. Most of our major monasteries are thriving, but Tashi Lhunpo is still facing difficulties.
Through the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery UK Trust’s educational and cultural exchanges, including chanting and cham performances, the monks share our unique Tibetan culture and their special monastic tradition with people in Europe and other parts of the world. The Trust also supports the Monastery’s work in India. Any assistance extended to the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery will be much appreciated. As Patron of the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery UK Trust and because of my unique relationship with the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery I support the work of the Trust and wish it success in its attempt to help the Monastery here in India.’

Things are a little better now. A new temple is about to be dedicated and the numbers will rise to 1000. Of whom many will be children. So please, give them all the support you can.

Please Donate to Tashi Lhunpo Monastery

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