Milwaukee meets Drepung Loseling Tibetan Monastery: A Cultural Exchange

I have been invited to Tibetan Buddhist Monastery Drepung Loseling in India for the inauguration of the new assembly hall with Nobel Peace Prize Laureate H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama in January 2008. I have been a supporter of their educational fund for the last thirteen years. Why? Because I believe in the freedoms of religion, speech and rights to assemble and receive an education. Under the present Chinese occupation of Tibet, monasteries which function for both religious and educational purposes were destroyed. Only a handful of more than 6000 remain. Tibetan refugee communities in exile are re-building their culture in India and elsewhere. Imagine an occupying power on US soil burning down all our schools and churches. H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama is not only the religious and political leader of Tibet, but a world-wide living symbol of peaceful, compassionate, logical, and respectful way of life on our planet. The “promotion of human affection” is not just Buddhist morality but a universal theme that all of us can reflect on and promote in our individual lives.

To honor my Milwaukee roots and share this experience with a wider circle, I am compiling a prayer scroll. If you wish your name or intention to be listed on the scroll, please e-mail me or stop by an upcoming show. A small donation to the Drepung Educational Fund is appreciated. I will read the scroll in the sacred space at Drepung on behalf of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Great Lakes Culture.

Consider this: Write your name or the name of your loved ones, family, friends, significant people in your life or maybe even the name of an enemy, someone you resent or one you wish to reconcile with.

Contemplate some of these when you write your names or intentions:
Freedom for people in Tibet,
Freedom for all people in exile,
Safety and long life for H.H. The Dalai Lama,
Safety and long life for spiritual leaders, teachers and healers on our planet,
Freedom of Speech for All
Freedom of Religion for All
Freedom to Assemble for All

E-mail me at or pass on your written intention at an upcoming show by January 1, 2008.
Upcoming Shows:
Mali Blues NOV 3 Club Timbuktu
Mali Blues NOV 23 Bay Shore Mall Atrium
Universal Love Band DEC 9 The Coffee House benefit for Growing Power for show details

Be a Part of the Milwaukee - Drepung Prayer Scroll.
I am honored to be your personal messenger to an Inauguration of a historic world cultural sacred site!

Another Reason to Be Involved
Most of us have busy, hectic lives for many reasons. We may not have much time for contemplative practices. The entire community of Drepung is meditating and promoting peace, kindness and universal essence of love for us. For each one of us. It is so very thoughtful of them to be thinking of us here in Milwaukee. They have time, space and energy to send us positive vibes. A very generous group of Tibetans!

Some more details:

About fifteen Americans are making the journey to Southwestern, India in January. I am the only Wisconsinite as far as I know. In another Wisconsin exchange, I will be bringing a cloth that we have painted with the youth at The Milwaukee County Juvenile Detention Center. We have left the center of the cloth blank and I hope to complete the cloth with Tibetan youth on this journey. This cloth will be part of our annual performance of Express Yourself Milwaukee at Marquette University in May 2008. There will also be a written account of this cloth in the performance program describing the art, the journey and the exchange with youth Drepung Monastery. At Express Yourself, our goal is to share healing arts with youth and this cloth will be a symbol of positive expressions of global exchange and peace. I am currently seeking permission from the abbot at Drepung for this project

I also hope to share any knowledge of composting, vermiculture and what goes on at Milwaukee’s own amazing forward-thinking farm: Growing Power. Maybe there is a future exchange that can be facilitated with Tibetan refugee farmers. They have had to adapt to a completely different environment, altitude, soil quality and way of growing and acquiring food.

On a personal level – I will be attending the inauguration ceremonies, attending teachings on three ancient Buddhist texts with H.H. The 14th Dalai Lama, participating in an empowerment ceremony and long-life ceremony for H.H. and attendees. And finally meeting Kunchok Chophel in person – we have been exchanging letters for about 13 years. He is the ‘honorary’ recipient of the donation we have sent to support the exile community. All donations are spread equally among all who live and attend the monastery — which supports childhood through university level education.

Here is more information on Drepung Loseling Monastery in exile.

Drepung Loseling Monastery in India

Drepung Loseling Monastery was one of Tibet’s largest monastic universities. Located in the hills on the northern outskirts of Lhasa, it was established in 1416 as an institute of higher Buddhist education by Khenpo Lekden, a direct disciple of Lama Tsongkhapa (1357–1419), founder of the eclectic Geluk School. The First Dalai Lama was also a disciple of Lama Tsongkhapa, and the Second Dalai Lama built a residence in Drepung, called the Ganden Potrang, which remained a hereditary seat of all subsequent Dalai Lamas. At its zenith Drepung Loseling housed some ten thousand monk students. These were drawn not only from Tibet, but also from China, Himalayan India, Mongolia, and the Mongol regions of Eastern Russia.

The Mission of Drepung Loseling Institute

Following the legacy of Drepung Loseling Monastery, India, and with the patronage of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Drepung Loseling Institute, is dedicated to the study and preservation of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition of wisdom and compassion. A center for the cultivation of both heart and intellect, it provides a sanctuary for the nurturance of inner peace and kindness, community understanding, and global healing.
In implementing this vision, Drepung Loseling Institute, has two main objectives:
To contribute to North American culture by providing theoretical knowledge and practical training in Tibetan Buddhist scholarly traditions for Western students, scholars and the general public; and
To help preserve the endangered Tibetan culture, which today leads a fragile existence in the exiled refugee communities in India and Nepal.

The Drepung Loseling Educational Fund

The Drepung Loseling Educational Fund was established in 1988 to preserve traditional Tibetan culture by sponsoring a monk in training at Drepung Loseling. Conditions in the Tibetan refugee camps in India are basic, and the average family is poor.
Young monks born in India have little parental support, and depend almost entirely upon the production of our small farm. Over half of our population is comprised of recent refugees whose parents remain in Chinese occupied Tibet; therefore, they cannot provide them with support. We also have a number of young monks who are orphans.

The Monastery accepts all sincere candidates regardless of their financial situation and must support them by means of the proceeds of the same small parcel of land provided to the original 216 Loseling refugee monks. The Fund helps provide for the basic needs of food, health care and education for these monks.

If you read this far - THANKS!!!
Pictures Coming Soon.

Last edited by Tyler Schuster. Based on work by Olde.  Page last modified on December 09, 2007

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