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By Gregory Flannery · September 23rd, 2008 · News


“We’re talking about basic human rights — being able to eat, being able to have housing, (not) having your life threatened,” Farnsworth says. “You can talk about love and compassion all you want, but people are being hurt by the Dalai Lama’s actions.”

The issue attracted attention earlier this summer when a crowd leaving the Dalai Lama’s lecture in New York City started heckling Dorje Shugden followers who held signs saying, “Dalai Lama, Give Us Religious Freedom.” Police officers urged the protesters to leave the scene for their own safety.

“There were 50 police officers there who said, ‘We can’t protect you. You’ve got to get on the buses and get out of here,’ ” Farnsworth says. Farnsworth is a lay student at Dagom Tensung Ling Monastery in Bloomington, Ind., GSL’s “sister” monastery.

“There was one primary reason why we established our monastery: to preserve our lineage,” Kuten Lama says. “The hardship is because (the Dalai Lama) took our religious freedom, our human rights. But it is very hard for us ordinary persons to explain to the world because he is so powerful and famous and our words are not too important.”

Taming the monkey

The spirituality and culture that GSL will celebrate this weekend at Tibet Fest are rich in color and flavor.

The monks prepare the meals, featuring Tibetan vegetables, noodle threads and momos.

“Momos are dumplings with meat or with potatoes and cheese, but it tastes different from the dumplings that you get in Chinese restaurants,” says Jamyang Lama, a monk, translator and teacher at GSL. “They contain secret Tibetan spices and a lot of love.” The festival includes a photography exhibition documenting a 2007 pilgrimage to Mongolia by monks and stu dents from Cincinnati and Bloomington. The photos of shrines in the Gobi desert, like the prayer room at GSL, capture something of the paradox of Buddhism — a tradi tion that employs an intricate iconography while holding that all phenomena are essentially empty.

“Tibetan culture is very intricate, very ancient, very colorful and very symbolic,” Jamyang Lama says. “The most important is how art and culture connects with the mind and happiness. When you study the Tibetan culture and heritage, you learn how to cultivate happiness and be kind.” The festival includes lectures such as “Taming Monkey Mind.” “ ‘Monkey mind’ is a metaphor,” Jamyang Lama says. “Our mind is like a monkey, always jumping and striking things. It never sits still. In this lecture, we talk about meditation so everything you do can be more productive and beneficial.”

Tibet Fest is part of a fundraising effort for construc tion of a new monastery in traditional Tibetan architec tural style. Students at UC’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning helped create the concept for the new building.

The expansion bodes well for a lineage experiencing a double persecution. “We are hoping to build a monastery and heritage cen ter that will be a great asset to Cincinnati,” Jamyang Lama says. “It will be very special for the city because there are few cities in this country that have this kind of presence. There is a growing interest in studying our beliefs and traditions in the community. Therefore our space in the monastery is too small.”

TIBET FEST will be held 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Clifton Cultural

Arts Center, 3711 Clifton Ave.Admission is free.



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