Campus News

Monks to Perform at Bowdoin

Story posted February 15, 1998


BRUNSWICK, Maine -- Monks from the Drepung Loseling monastery in Tibet and American lama Surya Das will be on the Bowdoin College campus the weekend of Feb. 5-7 with performances, meditations and lectures, all open to the public.

The monks will be giving a performance titled "Sacred Music Sacred Dance for World Healing" on Friday, Feb. 6, at 8 p.m. in Pickard Theater. Tickets are $12.50 for the general public and available at Smith Union Information Desk weekdays from 8:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.

The monks' music is renowned in the west for its multiphonic sound. Chantmasters simultaneously intone three notes, or a complete chord. This so-called "overtone singing" effect transforms the body into an amplifier of tone.

The two-hour performance includes 12 selections of music and dance. The monks have sung around the world and worked with performers such as Paul Simon, Natalie Merchant and Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead. They have recorded five CDs and been the subject of two PBS documentaries.

The monks will also create a mandala sand painting in Morrell Lounge, Smith Union, beginning Thursday, Feb. 5. The sand painting, in which millions of grains of sand are painstakingly laid into place on a flat platform, is said to represent the world in divine form, a map by which the human mind is transformed and the balance of body and mind. The sand painting begins with an opening ceremony at noon on Thursday. The lamas will then draw an outline of the mandala, followed by the laying of colored sands displaced through metal funnels. The public is invited to watch the construction and presentation of the mandala, which will be on display all weekend.

Meanwhile, American lama Surya Das will give a lecture at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 5, in Kresge Auditorium, Visual Arts Center, on the political and religious implications surrounding Tibet. The talk is free. On Saturday, Feb. 6, Das will lead a guided meditation from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Dance Studio, Sargent Gymnasium. There is no charge, but a teaching gift is requested. Please bring a meditation cushion if available. No prior experience is required.

Das, born Jeffrey Miller, is a western Buddhist meditation teacher and scholar, a translator of Tibetan texts, and a specialist in Oriental religions and poetry. In September 1997, Das appeared at Bowdoin, giving a lecture and guided meditation.

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