The Mystical Arts of Tibet

The weeklong residency of The Mystical Arts of Tibet begins with opening ceremonies at noon on October 28 at Lake Superior State University, and culminates in a not to be missed performance of Sacred Music Sacred Dance for World Healing on November 1 at the Arts Center. In addition to the famed multiphonic singers of Tibet’s Drepung Loseling Monastery performing, the Tibetan Monks will also create a Mandala Sand Painting, host a lecture series, and family-friendly performances for local area schools. Tibet: Magical Land of Spiritual Wonders photo exhibit will also be running in conjunction with the festivities at the Arts Center Gallery throughout the week.

“We are honored to host the Tibetan Monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery,” stated Dr. Rodney Hanley, LSSU President. “We look forward to welcoming them to our community, learning about their traditions, and embracing their culture, helping to raise awareness and support for their worthy cause.”

The Mystical Arts of Tibet tour is co-produced by Richard Gere Productions and Drepung Loseling Institute, the North American Seat of Drepung Loseling Monastery, India. Endorsed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the tour has three basic purposes: to make a contribution to world peace and healing; to generate a greater awareness of the endangered Tibetan civilization; and to raise support for the Tibetan refugee community in India.

The week-long residency begins on Monday, October 28 at 12:00 p.m. with an opening ceremony for the creation of a Mandala Sand Painting, during which the lamas consecrate the site and call forth the forces of goodness. This is done by means of chanting, music and mantra recitation. Millions of grains of sand are painstakingly laid into place on a flat platform over a period of days to form the image of a mandala. Please see the daily schedule of events and livestream at https://www.lssu.edu/arts-center/tibetan-monk-residency/

Also starting on Monday, October 28, the Arts Center Gallery will feature a photo exhibit entitled, Tibet: Magical Land of Spiritual Wonders. It is an exhibition of twenty-one stunning color images taken by some of the world’s foremost photographic artists. Images include the Potala Palace (home of the Dalai Lama), the Yumbu Lagang (Tibet’s first castle), the Jokhang (Tibet’s first temple), Samye (Tibet’s first monastery), as well as many other spiritually important and culturally significant subjects.

A Community Sand Painting project, sponsored by JKL Bahweting Anishnabe School, will take place in the lobby of the Arts Center and will give everyone the opportunity to try their hand at sand painting. This runs from Tuesday, October 29 through Thursday, October 30, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. All community members are encouraged to participate in this unique Tibetan tradition.

On Tuesday, October 29, there will be two family-friendly performances of Sacred Music Sacred Dance for World Healing, reserved for EUP and northern Michigan students and teachers. Educators can contact the Arts Center Box Office at 906-635-2787 for ticketing information.

On Wednesday, October 30, there will be two lectures in the Arts Center. The first, Meditation for Focus & Stress Relief occurs at 1:00 p.m. and the second, Death & Dying: The Tibetan Tradition is at 7:00 p.m. On Thursday, October 31, an addition lecture entitled A Buddhist Approach to Working with Emotions will take place at 1:00 p.m. All lectures are free and open to the public.

Traditionally most sand mandalas are destroyed shortly after their completion. This is done as a metaphor for the impermanence of life. The sands are swept up and placed in an urn; to fulfill the function of healing, half is distributed to the audience at the closing ceremony, while the remainder is carried to a nearby body of water, where it is deposited. The waters then carry the healing blessing to the ocean, and from there it spreads throughout the world for planetary healing. The closing ceremony is free, open to the public, and will be held on November 1. It begins at 12:00 p.m. in the Arts Center, and then travels to Rotary Park for the dispersal of the sand into the St. Mary’s river.

The residency culminates on Friday, November 1 at 7:00 p.m. in the Arts Center with the performance of Sacred Music Sacred Dance for World Healing. The performance features multiphonic singing, wherein the monks simultaneously intone three notes of a chord. The Drepung Loseling monks are particularly renowned for this unique singing. They also utilize traditional instruments such as 10-foot long dung-chen horns, drums, bells, cymbals, and gyaling trumpets. Rich brocade costumes and masked dances, such as the Dance of the Sacred Snow Lion, add to the exotic splendor.

Free parking is available in Lot K, in front of the Arts Center, and Lot E, behind the Cisler Center. The Arts Center is wheelchair accessible. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors, and $5 for children, and free for LSSU students. Visit lssu.edu/arts-center or call 906-635-2787 for directions, tickets, and more information.

This residency is funded by the LSSU Charter School Office, LSSU Campus Life, the Fund for LSSU, the Issues and Intellect Fund, and the Arts Midwest Touring Fund, a program of Arts Midwest that is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Crane Group.