Posted on: September 11, 2022 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

Photo by Case Western Reserve University

By Omar Eloiza, Arts & Entertainment Editor

The anticipation may have been building for more than two years at Moraine Valley, but Saturday’s show featuring Tibetan monks at the Fine and Performing Arts Center actually has been 2,500 years in the making.

The monks of Drepung Loseling Monastery will perform “Sacred Music Sacred Dance” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the Fine and Performing Arts Center in a culmination of a week of programming featuring The Mystical Arts of Tibet. Endorsed by the Dalai Lama, the “Sacred Music Sacred Dance” performances have been taking place throughout the Western world for almost 35 years.

The program was originally scheduled to come to Moraine Valley in 2020, but due to the emergence of COVID-19, it was pushed back indefinitely. Now the community of Palos Hills will finally be able to experience the sacred music and dance of a rich culture that spans more than 2,500 years of history.  

According the Mystical Arts of Tibet website, the monks have toured all throughout North America, South America and Europe since 1988. The tours have included accompanying programs to promote knowledge of Tibet, which has been an endangered culture since the invasion by China in 1959.

An opening ceremony on Wednesday at noon will welcome the traveling monks to the Moraine Valley library, where they will commence the construction of a sacred mandala sand painting. Over four days, they will do the intricate work of mindfully constructing the mandala, grain by grain. The closing ceremony for the completion of the sand mandala will take place Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

Lectures will take place Wednesday through Saturday on topics concerning the cultural and spiritual significance of Tibet and the monks’ Buddhist practices.

Photo by Bed Doyle
Tibetan Buddhist monks create a mandala sand painting in an education center in Texas.

The first lecture is scheduled to take place after the opening ceremony at 1 p.m., entitled “Death and Dying: The Tibetan Tradition.” While death is a much-avoided topic in the Western world, it is an important topic of discussion in Tibetan Buddhism and is central to its philosophy.

“Symbolism of the Mandala” follows on Thursday at 11 a.m. This lecture covers the history behind the mandala and how it serves the philosophy of Tibetan Buddhism, which deals with topics such as temporality and the fleeting nature of time.

Also on Thursday, “Tibet Today: The History of a Diaspora” will cover Tibet’s refugee situation and the invasion of Communist China, which has led to the modern diaspora of Tibetans. This lecture will take place at 4 p.m.

The final lecture will be on Friday at 3 p.m. “Meditation: Tools for Conscious Living” will deal with the practice of mindfulness meditation, sharing the techniques used by Tibetan monks so that inner peace and contemplation may be pursued by the human spirit.

The library events are free and open to the public. Tickets are required for “Sacred Music Sacred Dance” and may be purchased here. Tickets are free for students.