Tibetan monks will visit Norman over the next two weeks to share Tibetan culture with the community.
The Norman Culture Connection will host the Sacred Arts of Tibet, a series of events that showcase Tibetan culture with the help of traveling Tibetan monks. The events will be held in person from Sept. 7-19. All events are free and open to the public.
“Very little is known about the Tibetan culture, so it's a unique opportunity for us to bring them here to share their culture,” said Marial Martyn, the executive director of Norman Culture Connection.
The event began on Tuesday, Sept. 7, from 1:30-2:45 p.m. with a lecture on “The Art and Culture of Tibet” at MAINSITE Contemporary Art on 122 E Main St.
The A1 Pet Emporium will host pet blessings from 9:30-11 a.m. on Sept. 11, where the monks will do a brief ritual blessing for the health and wellbeing of pet and owner, Martyn said. Animals must be on a leash or in a crate.
Also on Sept. 11, Norman Public Library Central will host a Tibetan calligraphy and butter sculpture class from 2-3:30 p.m. Pre-registration is required at the library’s website.
“Indigenous Welcome Gathering” and “Indian Hand Games” will be held from 2-4 p.m., Sept. 12 at First American United Methodist Church.
There is also a lecture series at 7 p.m Tuesday, Sept. 14 through Thursday, Sept. 16 at St. John’s Episcopal Church. Topics include the power of loving and kindness, climate change, and Vajravidarana healing. Masks are required, and chairs will be spaced out for social distancing, Martyn said.
The creation of the “Boundless Love” sand mandala will be held at St. John’s Episcopal Church. The opening ceremony is on Monday, Sept. 13 at 7 p.m.
“It's created one grain of sand at a time and creates this beautiful imagery which represents boundless love,” Martyn said.
Martyn said the community is welcome to see its progression from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 14 through Friday, Sept. 17.
The closing ceremony for the sand mandala is Sunday, Sept. 19 at 2:30 p.m.
“They have a ritual where they are going to sweep it up. It represents the impermanence of all things. Even though they create this beautiful piece of art, this boundless love, that ritual is to also demonstrate to us that nothing ever lasts,” Martyn said. “Everybody that's there for the closing ceremony will get a little bag of the sand to take home with them as a blessing.”
The monks are vaccinated and will be wearing masks. Martyn said they will encourage people to wear masks and will have masks available.
“We really want to encourage the student population, faculty and staff to come over. It's very close to campus. So it's very easy parking, just park and come in. We created an environment that is beautiful with Tibetan music and art of Tibet will be decorating the room,” Martyn said.
The complete schedule for the events can be found at the Norman Culture Connection website.