Programs Offered by the
Drepung Gomang Tour
Drepung Gomang Tour is sponsored by the Tashi Gomang Dharma Center of Drepung Gomang center, located in Louisville, Kentucky. The center is a 501 (c) 3 is committed to preserving the Tibetan Culture, Traditions and Religion. We bring the tour to you to help the exiled Monastery located in South India raise funds to educate, feed, house and care for almost 2,000 exiled Tibetan Monks.
The authentic Tibetan programs that we offer are a blend of ancient cultural, religious, and artistic expressions. You may choose to offer an educational program focusing on ancient historic beliefs, an artful performance or display that demonstrates colorful Tibetan traditions, and/or a truly inspirational combination of Tibetan art, history and sacred traditions that completely inspire the spirit.
Please review the general overviews of each program. We are flexible and will adapt our programs to fit your needs and desires. We will bring them to individuals privately, as well as small and large audiences.
We have suggested donations for our programs. The funds raised are second to our mission to share the wisdom, compassion and good will sent to us from the Monastery in India as expressed through our 8 Tour Group Monks.
Cultural Pageant (click here for the Program Notes)
Experience ancient Tibetan cultural rituals of dance such as yak dance, snow lion dance, Good luck dance and sacred chants, prayers and debate as authentic Tibetan traditions comes to life as follows.
Cultural Performance Group
Sand Mandala: 5 or 6 day construction
The Drepung Gomang monks are renowned for the Sacred Art of Sand Mandala Construction. The event includes opening ceremonies, informal conversation and socializing as the mandala is created and formal closing ceremonies. Closing ceremonies include prayers, chanting, deconstruction of the mandala and sharing the blessed sand.
The monks will construct the following Sand Mandalas:
- Amitayus Sand Mandala (Tsepek Mae)
- Buddha of long life and compassion, love and peace.
- Medicine Buddha Sand Mandala (Menlha)
- The manifestation of the healing energy of all enlightened beings
- Green Tara Sand Mandala (Dol jang)
- Female Buddha that grants protection and relief from sufferings, generates compassion, love and peace.
Gomang Monks Creating Sacred Sand Mandalas
The tour group is led by Geshe Lharampa (a doctorate holder in Buddhist Philosophy, a highly qualified Buddhist teacher), a monk who has achieved the equivalent of a PhD. Geshe-la is available to give talks on the main tenets of Buddhist philosophy and is happy to answer your questions about the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. His teachings will be given in Tibetan and translated into English by a translator.
Some of the teachings that can be arranged are:
- Introduction to Buddhism
- Basic meditation practice
- The Four Noble Truths
- Elements of traditional Lamrim Practice
- Elements of Lojong (training the mind)
Puja is a Sanskrit word that means “offering.” The monks chant prayers and perform rituals specific to the type of prayer being offered. Prayers are addressed to Buddha’s, bodhisattvas and deities. Their primary purpose is to overcome negativity that may be obstacles in obtaining release from suffering and to promote spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical well-being.
Prayers may be for a house blessing, wellness, for the souls of those who have left this world, (including animals), the clearing of karma, purification of local negative energy, world peace, individual or global healing, financial security, spiritual evolution, the development of wisdom, and the removal of obstacles.
The prayers are recited in the traditional overtone chanting, each monk singing a full chord of three notes. The prayers are often accompanied by symbolic hand gestures, cymbals, drums, horns and flutes.
Some typical pujas are for
- World Peace and Healing
- House or Business Blessing
- Tara and Guru Puja
- Tea or Fire Puja
Monks Chanting a Puja
Our monks will facilitate hands-on workshops for all ages. Work one on one with monks to learn how to create art in the rare Buddhist tradition. The following are the workshops currently planned:
- Butter Sculpture
- Coloring Tibetan Designs
- Sand Paintng
- Mani Stone
Butter Sculpture: two-hour workshop
Butter sculpture is an ancient Tibetan Buddhist art. Although it is not as well known as another Tibetan ritual art, the sand mandala it is still an important aspect of Tibetan Buddhism in its own right. Butter sculptures symbolize impermanence, (a main tenet of Buddhism,) along with more ritualistic components, and are usually destroyed in anywhere from a day to a few years. They are traditionally made with yak butter, but in exiled Tibetan communities, as the weather is usually warmer, it is made with ghee, fat, and wax. Butter sculptures are displayed on altars and shrines in monasteries or family homes. They are traditionally made every Losar, the Tibetan New Year, and for the Butter Sculpture Festival, part of the Great Prayer Festival, or "Monlam Chenmo" that is held soon after Losar. In it, monks made huge, story high butter sculptures displayed outside the Jokhang in Lhasa, the holiest temple in Tibetan Buddhism.
Butter Sculptures at Monlam Festival
Butter sculptures are displayed in many different ways; typically, they are made on a paddle, as free standing sculptures, or a decoration on tsampa cones called tormas. They are usually made in the form of flowers, "metog," or traditional symbols such as the 8 auspicious signs.
For children: a simple version of the Losar traditional butter sculptures on wooden plaques. Designs for adults--adapted for various levels of ability--include
- flowers (several styles)
A longer workshop with a higher level of complexity will also include the Four Friends and the Eight Auspicious Symbols (Tashi Dargye).
The Four Friends
Materials Required (unless indicated, participants bring their own materials)
- roll of waste paper
- scotch tape
- form cardboard or thin plywood for the cutouts
- patterns for cutouts (supplied by tour)
- play doh (mixed colors)
- carving tools (supplied by tour)
Coloring Tibetan Designs: one-hour workshop
This workshop is designed with small children in mind. The monks will provide prepared drawings of Tibetan designs, such as the Eight Auspicious Symbols, snow lions and yaks. All that is required is that the children bring their own crayons.
Dorje Snow Lion
Sand Painting: two-hour workshop
This is a two-hour workshop and includes teaching how to create the following designs using the same techniques as monks use in creating a Sacred Sand Mandala
- Eight Auspicious Symbols (Tashi Dargye)
- snow lions
- stylized fire patterns
Sand painting is an ancient Tibetan art form. The Sacred Sand Mandala is carefully constructed from dyed sand particles to represent the particular esoteric, textual traditions of Buddhism. It is a transient art form, thought to have originated in India and been transferred in the middle ages to Tibet. The sand mandala is constructed as vehicle to generate compassion, realize the impermanence of reality, and a social/cosmic healing of the environment.
Millions of grains of colored sand are painstakingly laid into place on a flat platform over a period of several days, forming an intricate diagram of the enlightened mind and the ideal world. The most common substance used in the creation of dul-tson-kyil-khor is colored sand, which is ground from stone. Other popular substances are powdered flowers, herbs or grains. In ancient times, powdered precious and semi-precious gems were also used. Thus, lapis lazuli would be used for the blues, rubies for the reds, and so forth. When finished, to symbolize the impermanence of all that exists, the colored sands are swept up and poured into a nearby river or stream where the waters carry the healing energies throughout the world.
World Peace Sand Painting
All of the designs will be be pre-drawn so visitors can draw the sand following the lines.
Materials Required (participants will bring their own supplies)
- small pillows
- two thin steel tubes (about 1-foot long and a half inch in diameter)
- thin plywood "slates"
- colored sand (available in crafts stores)
Mani Stones: two-hour workshop
The prayer stones (called “mani stones”) of Drepung Gomang Monastery are painted with the prayer “Om mani padme hum," a prayer asking for the qualities of wisdom, compassion, and a good heart. The monks will teach you how to create images on flat stones and decorate them with sacred mantras.
Please visit our website: http://www.drepunggomang.org/test-tour-page/192-group-workshops for more pictures and details of these workshops