March 22, 2010

Tibet Week enriches partnership

The sand mandala, to take shape during Emory’s Tibet Week from March 22 to 27, is a sacred art born from painstaking detail.

Monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery in Atlanta will assemble millions of grains of sand on a flat platform at the Carlos Museum, symbolizing the complex yet systematic process of achieving a fully enlightened state.

“It points to our own primordial purity and beauty,” says Geshe Lobsang Tenzin Negi, director of the Emory-Tibet Partnership. “Each one of us at our most fundamental primordial level possesses a seed or potential for the perfect state of mind.”

Along with live demonstrations of the sand mandala and Tibetan Thangka scroll paintings, the 10th annual Tibet Week celebration will encourage the Emory community to make meaningful connections between the Western and Tibetan Buddhist intellectual traditions through lectures, performances and exhibits.

This year’s event also anticipates the campus visit, from Oct. 17-19, of His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama as Emory’s Presidential Distinguished Professor. The 2007 appointment, the only one of its kind accepted by the Nobel Peace Laureate and leader of the Tibetan people, was an outgrowth of the Emory-Tibet Partnership.

Established in 1998, the Emory-Tibet Partnership fosters the cross-fertilization of Western and Tibetan knowledge through study abroad and service learning opportunities, original research in philosophy and contemplative practice, and a historic initiative to develop a comprehensive science curriculum for Tibetan monastics.

“Tibet Week celebrates this rich partnership and draws strength from these two important civilizations,” says Negi, a senior lecturer in the Department of Religion.

Learn more about the scope of the Emory Tibet-Partnership’s educational initiatives — including the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative — at a panel discussion, “Science Meets Dharma: Transforming Education at Home and Abroad,” on March 24. Emory also welcomes the Second International Conference on Science Translation into Tibetan.

Other highlights include an opening ceremony March 22 featuring Sangsol smoke offerings, used by Tibetans to mark important life cycle events.

New this year are two talks sponsored by the Emory chapter of Students for a Free Tibet: “Why the Dalai Lama Matters — More Than Ever,” on March 25 by Robert Thurman, Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University and a close friend of the Dalai Lama; and “Surviving the Dragon: A Tibetan Lama’s Account of 40 Years of Chinese Rule,” on March 24 by Arjia Rinpoche, the former abbot of the legendary Kumbum Monastery in eastern Tibet.

In the arts arena, monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery will perform sacred dance and chants at Glenn Memorial Auditorium, coupled with the electro-acoustic folk rock sounds of the Dharma Bums, a politically active band founded in India and Nepal. Ticket purchase required for this event.

All other events are free, from films and lectures to guided meditations and artist demonstrations.

View the Tibet Week calendar for the full schedule of events.

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