Tibetan Monks Visiting Durango

Tibetan sand mandala

This is not Durango craft breweries. This is not tubing the Animas River. This is not the Durango train. Those are amazing things to do in Durango, but they’re things you can do all the time — or, at least, regularly.

But this? This you can’t do every day. Or even every month or every year. That’s because the Tibetan Monks of the Gaden Shatse Norling Monastery in India don’t come to Durango every day. The monks will be visiting Durango this month and will participate in a series of events July 11-15. Events include Dharma talks and interfaith discussions, creating a sand mandala and ritual chanting.

Tuesday, July 11

11 a.m – Noon, Sorrel Sky Gallery, 828 Main Ave., Durango: Welcome the monks during the opening ceremony at Sorrel Sky Gallery where the monks will construct an intricate sand mandala over the next five days. Visitors are welcome to watch them work as they spend 75-125 hours creating the mandala dedicated to the Buddha of Wisdom — a 75- to 125-hour process. The event is free, but any donations are tax-deductible and will go to the Gaden Shartse Cultural Foundation

7-8:30 p.m., Himalayan Kitchen Restaurant, 992 Main Ave., Durango: Visiting Tibetan monks will engage in a traditional Tibetan-style debate. Liberation, in the highest sense, is attained through the fusion of the intellect and intuition. The path to freedom requires wisdom, which can only be achieved through the deep questioning of one’s beliefs by both oneself and others. The monks will also lead participants in a meditation focusing on Peace and Compassion.

Wednesday, July 12

10 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Sorrel Sky Gallery: Watch the monks as they work on their intricate sand mandala.

6-7:30 p.m., Durango Dharma Center, 1800 E. Third Ave., Durango: Join to listen as the monks discuss The Six Perfections: Ethics, Patience, Effort (Joyful Perseverance), Concentration, Wisdom,  and Generosity. The event is free, and everyone is welcome, but a suggested donation of $10-$15 will benefit the Gaden Shartse Cultural Foundation. Visitors can also buy sacred objects that will be available for purchase.

Thursday, July 13

10 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Sorrel Sky Gallery: Watch the monks as they work on their intricate sand mandala.

6:30-7:30 p.m., YogaDurango, 1485 Florida Road, Building C #201, Durango: Join the visiting Tibetan Monks who perform ritual chanting at YogaDurango Studio.

Friday, July 14

10 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Sorrel Sky Gallery: Watch the monks as they work on their intricate sand mandala.

7-8:30 p.m., Himalayan Kitchen Restaurant: Listen as the monks discuss Climate Change and the Six Delusions. The suggested donation is $10-$15, but no one will be turned away. Everyone is welcome!

Saturday, July 15

10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sorrel Sky Gallery: Watch the monks as they work on their intricate sand mandala.

4 p.m., Sorrel Sky Gallery: After spending dozens of hours working on their sand mandala dedicated to the Buddha of Wisdom, join the Tibetan Monks in a closing ceremony. The ceremony will start at Sorrel Sky Gallery, from which the monks will carry their mandala to the Animas River. There, the sands of the mandala will be swept away in the river’s current to symbolize the impermanence of life. Guests who watch the ceremony will receive blessings and a little bit of the sand to keep as a souvenir.

7-9 p.m., St. Marks Episcopal Church, 910 E. Third Ave., Durango: Join the monks Saturday night for the final event of their visit to Durango. The monks along with religious leaders from the Durango community will participate in an Interfaith Discussion on World Peace and Unity of Religions.

The monks depend on donations and charitable giving to continue their teachings. All events are free and open to the public, but tax-deductible donations will go to help preserve Tibetan culture and provide educational supplies, teachers, buildings, maintenance and outreach at Gaden Shartse Phukhang Monastery in the Tibetan Refugee Settlement at Mundgod, India.

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