For the first time ever, eight Tibetan Buddhist refugee monks traveled from India to midcoast Maine as part of their 13-month tour of the US. The Sacred Art Tour brings awareness to the plight of Tibetans, as well as a profound experience in the ancient lessons of impermanence, compassion and peace. The monks created an intricate mandala, made from ground, dyed marble, in the great room of the Langlais Sculpture Preserve, a property of the Georges River Land Trust, in Cushing. The compassion mandala was a work of extraordinary beauty, and took the monks four days to create. Upon completion, visitors were able to witness the dissolution ceremony and follow the monks to the banks of the Georges River for a traditional blessing of the water with some of the marble dust from the mandala.
With events held at Wheeler Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, Dancing Elephant and the First Universalist Church in Rockland, more than 900 people enjoyed this unique and inspiring global experience. Tibetan culture and traditions were celebrated through a culinary evening, an outdoor fire puja, a Tibetan cultural pageant, and visits to local elementary schools. The interconnection of all things, and the importance of compassionate conservation of our lands and heritage, was a message that the Land Trust was happy to share through the Sacred Art Tour.
Tibetans continue to be persecuted, oppressed, tortured and killed by the Chinese Liberation Army. Since 1949, when the Dalai Lama fled Tibet and settled in India, more than 1.2 million Tibetans have died at the hands of the Communist Chinese. During the past 60 years of Chinese occupation, more than 6,000 of Tibet’s monasteries, including Drepung, have been abandoned or destroyed. Although The Tibetan people are some of the most oppressed people on earth, they choose the middle way of peace, kindness and ease. The only way that the Dalai Lama and millions of Tibetans are able to practice their culture and traditions is to live in exile.
The Tibetan plateau is a critical and endangered landscape that is vital to care for, to maintain the health of our planet. Some of the largest rivers run from the highest places on earth, and the pollution and climate change that effects these rivers is contributing daily to our global environmental crisis.
India has welcomed the Tibetans, and the 2000 monks of the Drepung Gomang Monastery are thriving there. Their annual visit to the US raises consciousness of how we are stewards of this planet together, and that we are all family. Their peaceful nature comes from a dedicated practice of mindfulness, and their joy rises from the ability to understand the nature of impermanence.