Eight lamas of the largest Tibetan monastery in the world will be in Lawrence Thursday through Oct. 4. The monks are touring North America to present Tibetan culture and spiritual programs.
The visiting lamas include the present abbot of the Ganden Monastery, the former abbot, a doctor of Tibetan medicine and experts in ritual, sand mandalas and chanting. During the visit they will present public talks, seminars and special ceremonial practices.
The Ganden Monastery was built in 1409 and grew to be one of the foremost monastic complexes in existence, according to information provided by the Gandhara Tantric Institute, a regional nonsectarian Buddhist group. The monastery was destroyed by the Chinese communist army in 1959. About 300 monks escaped and built a small monastery in south India to preserve their traditions. Today, more than 4,000 monks reside in the same small monastery. Because of these overcrowded conditions, the Dalai Lama approved this tour for the lamas to present Tibetan cultural and spiritual programs and raise funds for a new teaching hall.
Their visit to Lawrence and greater Kansas City is sponsored by the Gandhara Tantric Institute, whose members have been active in Tibetan teachings for a quarter of a century.
The monks' schedule of events in Lawrence is:
``Freedom and Liberation,'' a talk, 7 p.m. Thursday at Terra Nova Hall, 920 1/2 Mass.
``Tara Empowerment,'' 8 p.m., Oct. 2, Lawrence Arts Center, 200 W. Ninth.
``The Tibetan Spiritual Tradition,'' a one-day seminar with a special Tara blessing, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Oct. 3, Terra Nova Hall, 920 1/2 Mass.
``Wheel of Time Sand Mandala,'' construction starts on Thursday at the Helen Foresman Spencer Museum of Art, Kansas University. Talk and closing ceremony will be noon Oct. 4 at Spencer Art Museum.
The Kansas City schedule is:
``Kindness, Compassion and Insight,'' a talk 7 p.m., Oct. 6, Unity Temple on the Plaza.
``Amitayus Empowerment,'' 8 p.m., Oct. 8, Shambhala Center, 2302 S. Ferree, Kansas City, Kan.
``Chenrizig Empowerment,'' 8 p.m., Oct. 9, Shambhala Center.
``Living and Dying in the Dharma,'' weekend seminar with a special Mahakala blessing ceremony, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Oct. 10-11, Shambhala Center.
``Manjushri Empowerment,'' 8 p.m., Oct. 13, Shambhala Center.
There is a charge for these events, except the closing ceremony talk at the Spencer Museum. All proceeds from the events will help the lamas. For more information, call (800) 625-6829, or (816) 436-6273.