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Monks bring blessings to Camden

By Susan Mustapich | Nov 05, 2019
Photo by: Susan Mustapich Buddhist monks from the Drepung Gomang Monastery created a world peace mandala in the sancturary of the First Congregational Church, during their Sacred Arts Tour.

CAMDEN — An intricate world peace sand mandala was created the week of Oct. 28, when the First Congregational Church hosted the Drepung Gomang Monastery Sacred Arts Tour.

The seven Buddhist monks are Tibetan refugees, who shared messages of peace, hope and well wishes for the community, expressed through their traditions and culture.

The public was invited to the activities of the Sacred Arts Tour. At the opening ceremony, the monks began to create an intricate World Peace mandala in the church sanctuary. Later that day, a sand painting workshop was offered as well an evening Tibetan cultural performance.

The Sacred Arts Tour includes seven Tibetan refugee Buddhist monks who are sharing the message of compassion through offering the traditions and culture of Tibet.

During the week, a traditional Tibetan Momo dinner was held, a Fire Puja ceremony took place at the Wheeler Bay Wildlife Sanctuary in St. George, as well as a meditation and and talk on impermanence at The Dancing Elephant yoga school in Rockland.

On Nov. 1, the monks offered a closing ceremony, during which they took turns carefully unmaking the sand mandala, which they gracefully swept into a pile in the middle of the round table, while chanting and playing instruments. As part of the ceremony, they brought some of the colored sand to the Public Landing for a blessing of the water.

Also as part of the ceremony, the monks expressed gratitude and gave gifts to their hosts, including khatas, white scarves representing great respect. The Sacred Arts Tour leader Geshe Minyak Rinpoche joyfully presented the gifts to First Congregational Church Reverend Ute Molitor, and other members of the church, Rachel Nixon from the Dancing Elephant, and Cynthia Trone, the local coordinator for the tour.

Rev. Ute Molitor thanked the Buddhist monks for holding the sacred space together during the creation of the world peace mandala.

"Minyak Rinpoche, you and your fellow monks have gifted us with great beauty and touched up a deep longing in all our hearts. You have taught us about our mutual belonging and our shared call to cultivate compassion and mindful presence," she said.

Donations were accepted during the tour to support the 2,000 Buddhist monks living in exile at the Drepung Gomang Monastery, in Mundgod, India.

Drepung Monastery was founded in 1416 near Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. In 1959, prior to the invasion of Tibet by Communist China, more than 10,000 monks lived at Drepung Monastery. After the violent occupation by the Chinese government, the 14th Dalai Lama was forced to flee Tibet. He was followed by 80,000 refugees. About 100 Drepung Gomang monks managed to escape with the Dalai Lama. In 1969, 62 of the surviving monks were given land in Mundgod, South India, where they rebuilt the Drepung Gomang Monastery. The Sacred Arts Tour supports the education, nutrition and health of the monks at Drepung Gomang Monastery.

This visit is the second time the Drepung Gomang monks have visited Midcoast Maine. Their first visit was March 2018 at Georges River Land Trust’s Langlais Sculpture Preserve in Cushing.

For more information visit or contact local coordinator Cynthia Trone at or 706-9045.


Geshe Minyak Rinpoche, center, led the Sacred Arts Tour of the Drepung Gomang Monastery in Camden the week of Oct. 28. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
Geshe Minyak Rinpoche joyfully presents a khatas scarf as a thank you to First Congregation Church Reverand Ute Molitor on Nov. 1. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
Becky Brace, First Congregational Church Office Manager was one of six people presented white scarves called khatas and gifts as an expression of gratitude from the monks of Drepung Gomang Monastery. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
The sweeping up of the intricate sand mandala during the closing ceremony of the Sacred Arts Tour symbolizes impermanence. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
At the First Congregational Church, monks from the Drepung Gomang Monastery swept up the colored sand used to make an intricate peace mandala, and collected some of the sand for a blessing of the waters at Camden Harbor. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
Seven Buddhist monks of the Drepung Gomang Monastery walk through Camden to the harbor for a blessing of the waters Nov. 1. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
On Nov. 1, Buddist monks from Drepung Gomang Monastery ended their Sacred Arts Tour in Camden with a blessing of the waters. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
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Comments (1)
Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Nov 05, 2019 15:14

Becky, you look great and such a wonderful happening at our Congo Church. Yes I  still think of it as my church. Although I miss the Camden Church and my friends there, I love this Arizona weather and am content to live here with my daughter Maureen and her husband Scott. '84 and counting. Hope to reach 100 yrs young! Love to you all!

Mary "Mickey" (Brown) McKeever ...+;0)....

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