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From the Heart of the Himalayas
(April to June 2017)
Dharamakirti e.V. in cooperation with Peace Stupa Hungary and Vision Himalaya, invites everyone to experience the living spirit of Buddhism and the Himalayan tradition with our program of Ladakhi cultural and spiritual performances. In the spring of 2017, monks and local artisans from the remote Himalayan region of Ladakh will travel to Europe in order to foster intercultural connections and a greater understanding between the people of Europe and the Himalayas. All donations received during our tour will go towards the building of a new school and library project in Leh, in order to promote cultural preservation as well as community development. Those who attend the performances will be invited to join in traditional spiritual ceremonies and will enjoy ancient folk singing and dancing coming from the heart of the Himalayas. .
Purpose of the Tour
The purpose of this Himalayan spiritual and cultural tour includes two main aims.
(1) We hope to promote the common spirit between the people of Europe and the Himalayas.
(2) To raise donations for building a school and library in Ladakh that will embody this very spirit of interdependence and compassion.
1. Promoting the Common Spirit
The main purpose of our tour is to promote a greater understanding of the common spirit of peace, compassion, and interdependence between the people of Europe and the Himalayas. It is absolutely vital for the future of our globalized world to encourage a direct mutual exchange of ideas and practices between traditional and modern cultures in order to foster a greater appreciation and understanding of our common goals and values as one human species on this precious earth. The Buddhist tradition encourages the development of wisdom and compassion for the sake of all beings. Ladakh is one of the last remaining regions in the world that still actively infuses Buddhist principles with its culture in a traditional setting. It is our sincere wish that this tour will provide Europeans a glimpse into the deeply rooted Himalayan culture and spirituality and that this will encourage both communities to learn from one another in order to create a more harmonious world.
2. Building a School and Library in Ladakh
Secondly, we hope to collect donations and seek support of any kind from well wishers for our school and library Projects in Leh in order to be able to start construction in 2018. For the past ten years, our monks have been active in serving the people of Ladakh with social and spiritual projects that include constructing new temples, renovating and restoring old monasteries, organizing sponsorships for young monks and orphans, and arranging yearly free medical health care camps. After the success of these projects, We now wishes to embark on a very important mission to build a resientail school in Leh, which will provide free education and full-time housing for orphans and children from economically disadvantaged villages throughout the Himalayan region. This has been a long-time wish and dream of our monks to build a school that combines both modern education with the traditional values of Ladakh by educating the students about Ladakhi language, culture, and and Buddhist ethics. This school will also include a library open to the public that will serve as an important center to preserve the rich textual tradition of the Himalayas and provide a communal platform for sharing ideas and purpose.
We are totally dependent on the generous support of donors and sponsors in order to accomplish the aims of our community projects and to provide our continuous service in preserving Buddhist culture. Therefore, in order to materialize this vision, we have decided to organize this cultural and religious tour in order to give Europeans the chance to experience Ladakhi culture and values in their own hometown. Donating to this community project in Ladkah will help create an auspicious connection between Europe and the Himalayas that we hope to cultivate long into the future. This means we will also seek advice, consulting, and volunteer offers from European community members who wish to be part of our vision to contribute to the cultural and spiritual sustainability of the Himalayas in a practical way.
The tour itself will consists of two aspects: First part, being of a spiritual nature, which will offer the audience a chance to experience the ancient Tibetan Buddhist dances, chants, and sacred rituals. All these rituals are deeply meaningful and symbolic. They are performed on the basis of the essential aspects of the Buddha’s teachings on loving kindness and compassion. These rituals serve as an aid to inspire and achieve the fundamental values of our existence.
In the second part, we will share the spirit of Himalayan culture through Ladakh’s traditional artistic expressions. All the dances and songs have been handed down to our group of artists from their ancestors and trace all the way back to the beginnings of one of the oldest civilizations of the Himalayan region. These dances and songs are still performed and enjoyed by the local people of Ladakh during any important event such as marriages, births, harvests, village festivals, and opening ceremonies for monasteries and new houses. Singing and dancing is an indispensible part of Ladakhi society and is enjoyed by everyone, regardless of gender or age.
Spiritual performance by seven monks:
1. Peace Prayer: a ceremony through which we invoke the blessings and presences of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.
2. Black hat dance: a vigorous tantric dance, symbolizing the power to subjugate evil spirits and inner afflictive emotions.
3. Tantric buffalo dance: a very popular tantric ritual in the monasteries introduced to Tibet by Guru Padmasambhava in the 7th century. Cham dance signifies the victory of knowledge over ignorance. In the Buddhist thoughts, the greatest evil is the ego. It is that sense of self, which is the greatest illusion we must lose in order to gain true knowledge.
4. Skeleton dance: an important invocation dance for protection, representing the ephemeral and temporal nature of our lives.
5. Chod meditation: a spiritual practice of feeding your inner demons through deep visualization and chanting, accompanied by the sound of the ritual drum and bell which are fully synchronized with the melodious chanting.
6. Dedication: an offering of all merit and good intentions will be dedicated towards world peace and religious harmony with the prayer of auspiciousness.
Cultural performance Ladakhi artists:
1. Api and Meme dance: the grandfather and grandmother dance is a symbolic movements and expressions of health and happiness. It reminds us of the beauty of old age. This dance is always performed at the beginning of any festival and celebrations.
2. Yak dance: Yak is the symbol of strength and stability for nomadic people living high up in the Himalayas and plays a very important role in the survival of those living in that mountainous region.
3. Chabskyan dance: a very fast dance showing the skill of concentration by holding a traditional jug on the dancers head. This dance is one of the most popular shows for locals.4. Skeleton dance: an important invocation dance for protection, representing the ephemeral and temporal nature of our lives.
4. Shondol dance: a show for ladies, where women, beautifully dressed in traditional costumes, dance elegantly.6. Dedication: an offering of all merit and good intentions will be dedicated towards world peace and religious harmony with the prayer of auspiciousness.
5. King Gesar: an eleventh-century epic of the Tibet’s most famous mythical and spiritual king. The story became a national epic of Ladakh as the King Gesar Saga.
Our tour will be offering a wide selection of traditional Himalayan handicrafts for purchase. All proceeds will go directly to the Himalaya House school building project. Handicrafts will include traditional clothing, jewelry, paintings, wall hangings, prayer beads, oils and balms, Dharma objects, and much more.
In addition to these performances we can also offer for our events:
- Public Dharma talks
- Butter sculptures monastic ritual art (torma Making)
- Slide shows of Ladakh
- Movie screenings of Buddhist and Himalayan cultural films
- Creating the sacred Mandala of any Buddhas. (Minimum 3 days required)
- Cooking workshops with special Ladakhi and Tibetan dishes
- Traditional singing, dancing, and music workshops for children and adults
We will be more than happy to receive your suggestions or interest in adding additional activities to the program.
Local organizers will not be responsible for any costs associated with transportation of the performers. Individual organizers can either offer a suggested flat donation of 1,500 euros for one evening performance or can offer a donation based on ticket sales after deducting event costs. We welcome offers from local organizers to accommodate the performers.
Other Himalaya House Projects
Additional ongoing projects requiring funding that may interest potential sponsors include:
- Restoration of old monuments (stupas)
- Digitizing rare texts and publishing them
- Health care for the sick and elderly in various Ladakhi villages
- Promoting environmental awareness and protection in the Himalayas
Request for Support
We are completely dependent on the support of community donations and individual contributions in order to materialize our vision for the building of a school for orphans and disadvantaged children in Ladakh that will bring together modern concerns and traditional values. This will help the sustainability of Himalayan culture through integrating education programs that are socially and ethically aware with the needs of a global, modern society. We do not wish to rely on corporate or large sponsorships because we wish to foster a direct contact between European and Himalayan communities that will always put our ethical and social concerns first. This will require a great level of trust, communication, and concerted effort between both our communities. Thus we humbly request your support and input regarding our upcoming European tour. Local organizers are encouraged to get in contact with Himalaya House directly to help make this dream a reality. Your compassion and support will enable a better, more sustainable world through cultivating a greater understanding of the shared values of peace, compassion, and interdependence between communities.
Thank you so much for considering organizing an event in support of the Himalayan people.
Tashi Deleg & Jullay