ENCINITAS, Calif. — A group of Tibetan Buddhist monks are planning to make a visit to North County in the coming weeks.

The monks of Gaden Shartse Phukhang Monastery, from Southern India, are on an 18-month tour of the U.S., and have chosen to stop in the coastal town of Encinitas.

The Sacred Arts of Tibet Tour is meant as a way for the monks to share their “sacred Earth and healing arts,” a spokesperson for the tour explained. This will help them raise money for the daily needs of 1,700 monks, as well as support their university temples. 

While in Encinitas, the monks will construct a sand mandala at the Seaside Center of Spiritual Living, located at 1613 Lake Dr.

What is a sand mandala? This is an ancient and sacred Tibetan Buddhist art form involving the creation and destruction of mandalas, or geometric configurations of symbols, made from colored sand.

Sand mandalas are said to represent a perfect universe.

“The geometric patterns and colors represent a map to transform the ordinary human mind into an enlightened mind,” Geshe Palden Sangpo, a monk who practices Tibetan Buddhism, stated during an interview at the Carolina Asia Center.

The public is invited to watch this labor-intensive process they described as “meditative” between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. starting Sunday, Nov. 26 through Sunday, Dec. 3. Donations are encouraged.

dissolution ceremony
A dissolution ceremony is seen. (Sacred Arts of Tibet Tour)

From group healing rituals to tea ceremonies and guided meditation, there are several other events set to take place in Encinitas involving the Tibetan Buddhist monks that are open to the public. Here’s a breakdown of the tour’s schedule:

California Center for Creative Renewal (1905 Crest Dr. in Encinitas)

Sacred Tibetan Music and Group Healing Ritual (Saturday, Nov. 25 from 3-5 p.m.): Visitors are invited to come early to walk the labyrinth, meditate in the healing gardens, and shop in the Buddhist arts and crafts marketplace. Reservations are recommended due to limited space. Suggested donation amounts are $25 in advance and $35 at the door.

A Peaceful Day in the Garden with Buddhist Meditation Teacher Christie Turner and Art Therapist Ellen Speert (Friday, Dec. 1 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.): Enjoy a quiet and peaceful day in the center’s beautiful garden. There will be a labyrinth walk, meditation, art in the healing gardens, and lunch with the monks. Suggested donation amounts are $25 in advance and $35 at the door.

Ananda Encinitas & The Temple of Joy (946 Hermes Ave. in Encinitas)

Tea Ceremony and Khangso Music Ritual (Sunday, Nov. 26 from 2-4 p.m.): A bowl and a cup will set in the center of the Lama’s table, and tea will be poured into the cup, which they say is symbolic of our lives. In the ceremony, each person is invited to make a wish to be granted by Enlightened Dharma Guardians. The suggested donation amount is $20.

Seaside Center of Spiritual Living (1613 Lake Dr. in Encinitas)

Opening Ceremony for Constructing the Buddha Maitreya Sand Mandala (Monday, Nov. 27 from 5-6:30 p.m.): Chai tea and cookies will be served.

Teaching on Impermanence, “Finding Peace in Uncertain Times” (Tuesday, Nov. 28 from 2-3:30 p.m.)

Interfaith Panel on Loving-Kindness with Panelists Rev. Christian Sorensen, Rabbi Dr. Wayne Dorsick, and Geshela Chodak (Tuesday, Nov. 28 from 5-6:30 p.m.): The evening will begin with the music from Cantor Kathy Robbins and end with the monks offering a Tibetan Buddhist blessing using their traditional instruments.

A Conversation On Compassionate Care (Wednesday, Nov. 29 from 12:30-2 p.m.): Healthcare workers and home health caretakers are invited to bring their lunches, and enjoy a conversation with the monks on compassionate care. Chai Tea and sweets will be provided.

“A Day in the Life of a Monk” Q&A (Thursday, Nov. 30 from 5-6:30 p.m.)

Mandala Sanctuary Celebration of Divine Sound, Peace, and Generosity (Saturday, Dec. 2 from 6:30-8 p.m.): Devotional singing with Sharon Kumuda Janis, and a showing of her film “Peace Pilgrim: An American Sage Who Walked Her Talk” with a short discussion about “Peace Pilgrim’s Timeless Wisdom in Today’s World.”

More information on the purpose of their tour, the programs, and their schedule while in North county can be found here.