Gaden Shartse Monks Tibetans share culture in Hood River

August 24, 2005

On Friday, area residents will have a rare opportunity to meet the monks of Gaden Shartse, one of Tibet’s “big three” universities/monasteries. The monks, who are living in exile in India, are trying to save their culture — which has been forbidden in Tibet since its occupation by Communist China — by sharing it with the world.

There will be an opening ceremony in downtown Hood River at Overlook Park, Second and State, beginning at noon, where the monks will demonstrate traditional Tibetan dances and music. From 1 to 4 p.m they will demonstrate the Tibetan art of sand mandala at the Hood River County Library. (Gifts will be available for purchase there and at Columbia Art Gallery.)

Also in honor of the event, ancient and modern Tibetan artifacts will be on display at Hood River Jewelers, 415 Oak. St., from 1-5 p.m. Dog River Coffee will host award-winning author and photographer Brandon Wilson, who will speak about his amazing trek from Lhasa to Kathmandu with his wife and a Tibetan horse named Sadhu. His book, “Yak Butter Blues,” will be available for purchase, and Wilson will sign copies. Dog River will also sell chai from 1-4 p.m., with proceeds going toward the refugee work of Gaden Shartse.

For those who would like a hands-on experience with Tibetan culture, there will be a butter sculpture class for adults and children ages 6 or older at Riverside Community Church. Reservations are required; tickets may be purchased at Waucoma Bookstore in Hood River, Collage of the Gorge in White Salmon, Klindt’s Book Sellers in The Dalles, and Mt. Hood Country Store in Mt. Hood.

At 4 p.m., an ancient ceremony teaching impermanence — the Dissolution of the Sand Mandala — will be in the library. Participants will receive sand from the mandala.

For a taste of Tibet, plan to attend the 5:30 p.m. reception and community potluck at Riverside Community Church, where Tibetan momos (dumplings) will be sold. Reservations are required for this event; contact or call (541) 354-6272.

At 7 p.m. the day’s events will be wrapped up with “An Evening of Tibetan Culture” at Riverside Community Church, which will include ancient and rare dances, music, monastic debate demonstration, and a short talk. Reservations and tickets are required; tickets are $10 for adults, and $5 for students in grades 1-12. Tickets are available at Waucoma Bookstore and Mt. Hood Country Store.

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