Ahead of opening their eagerly awaited 50th anniversary tour at Lighthouse on 2 May the Tashi Lhunpo Monks visited Poole to offer a special blessing for the tour from a roof at Lighthouse.
Performed on their traditional long horns, or dung-chen, the blessing is designed to summon the deities and alert villagers of an auspicious occasion.
“The tashi blessing is offered for all good things to benefit everyone,” explained Jane Rasch, manager of the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery UK Trust based in Salisbury.
The Monastery was re-established in 1973 in Southern India where the Monks live in exile after fleeing their native Tibet where they faced difficulties practising Buddhism under Chinese occupation. The original cohort of 20 has now grown to 413 who choose to commit to the monastic life as young children and spend 24 years studying.
Their annual tours of the UK and Europe provide an opportunity for the Monks to share their ancient Tibetan Buddhist culture, from masked dances and sacred music to chanted texts and the making of exquisitely coloured sand mandalas. Traditionally, after prayers have been said, these beautiful creations are swept away in a demonstration of impermanence.
“I have been to the UK 15 or 16 times now,” said one Monk, “so I am quite prepared for this cold weather, but it is a bit of a surprise to some of us after India where it is very warm. We think it is important in the 21st century to share something of our culture and look forward to people coming to see out shows.”