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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Buddhist monks visit A&M on cultural tour

Vanessa Peña — THE BATTALION
Tibetan monks craft a sand mandala in the MSC Reynolds Gallery.
Vanessa Peña — THE BATTALION Tibetan monks craft a sand mandala in the MSC Reynolds Gallery.

MSC FLI is hosting Tibetan monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery this week in order to offer the campus a culturally enriching experience on Buddhism through lectures, art and cultural events.
Alex Hager, business honors junior and Tales of Tibet director, said the monks tour the country to expose universities to Tibetan culture.
The monks, who have been here since Monday, have been taking part in a series of educational seminars open to the public. Cultural events have include a sand mandala demonstration, cooking workshops and lectures about Buddhism.
“I am most looking forward to the completion of the Mandala, honestly,” Bailey Kalka, finance freshman and FLI member said. “Just because of the detail that they go through and how painstaking it looks, but the ease that they show while doing it.”
Kalka said when the monks complete the Mandala, they will destroy it and transport it to a moving body of water.
“The philosophy there is that through the moving body of water it will be taken to the ocean, then to all of the world,” Kalka said.
Kalka, who is a recent convert to Buddhism, is using this week to further develop himself spiritually and said the experience has been very interactive.
“It has been even more mind opening than learning by myself with books or the internet or meditating,” Kalka said. “Like the monks told me — one of the first things that Buddhists said was that, ‘If you want to be Buddhist, no one else declares you Buddhist.’”
Micayla Bean, MSC FLI co-director and recreation, park and tourism science junior, said the monks’ visit is meant to better educate A&M students on a culture that they may not be as familiar with.
“Today we are learning how to paint Tibetan scriptures on stones,” Bean said during Wednesday’s art workshop. “It’s a great opportunity to see how people from a different culture live.”
The monks’ visit has sparked a wide range of interest from many students around campus, including Luchen Jiang, a curriculum and instruction graduate student.
“I came to the workshop because I wanted to learn more about Buddhism,” Jiang said.
Colby Seay, educational administration graduate student, said organizations and events that share different cultures are becoming more important because of globalization.
“I would greatly like to see more organizations that are more globally focussed pop up on campus. I think FLI is doing a great job to bridge the gap, especially with the ‘Tales of Tibet’ program,” Seay said.
“Tales of Tibet” will continue through Sunday and will conclude with completion of the Sand Mandala in Reynolds Art Gallery.

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