March Newsletter: Lama Lena, Drepung Gomang Monks & Tsering Phuntsok

March 2016 Newsletter


March 10, Tibetan Uprising Day and the Drepung Gomang Monks

When we were first organizing events in New Orleans for the visit of His Holiness Dalai Lama, Ngawang Legshe, Tibetan professor at Tulane, asked me to have an event commemorating March 10, Tibetan Uprising Day.

There was a tone in his voice that was compelling, passing a connection with his country, a passion for his people, and a deep need to bring people together in awareness of the remarkable Tibetan Culture, the profound practice of Tibetan Buddhism, and the ongoing cultural genocide in his home country Tibet.

And so we did. We had a parade with prayer flags, Tibetan flags, and drums. We had an open house at our headquarters where folks could write prayers, paint mandalas, create thangka collages, and learn about Tibet. Ngawang was busy demonstrating the making of momo’s, a Tibetan dish as beloved to Tibetans as red beans and rice are to New Orleaneans.

First March 10

This year will be our fourth annual Commemoration of March 10, Tibetan Uprising Day. We gather at the Labyrinth in Audubon park, we light candles, we recite prayers in English and Tibetan, we sing the Tibetan National Anthem. We stand in silence in memory of those lost, imprisoned, tortured and oppressed. We stand for those that chose self-immolation to let the world know that the treatment by the Chinese government is intolerable. Contrary to Chinese government propaganda, the situation has not improved, and the government continues to create regulations that are designed to decimate the Tibetan people and their culture.

Labyrinth with Monks crop
The Drepung Gomang Monks from South India will be standing with us again this year for the March 10 Candle Light Vigil at the Labyrinth in Audubon Park.

They are touring throughout the US to raise money for their monastery and their community projects. Their original monastery was founded in 1416 near Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. Before the invasion of Communist China, this monastery was the home for more than 10,000 monks.

Only about one hundred monks managed to escape with His Holiness Dalai Lama when he fled Tibet in 1959. In 1969, sixty-two of the surviving monks were given forty-two acres of land in Mundgod, South India. They built the Drepung Gomang Monastic Dratsang, and today approximately 2,000 monks live there, including orphans and refugees fleeing Chinese occupied Tibet.
The Drepung Gomang Monastery Sacred Art Tour raises funds to ensure the survival of Tibetan culture, the Monastery and the good works of the Monastery. They do this by sharing the compassion and wisdom of Tibetan Buddhism and demonstrating the artistic accomplishments of the people of Tibet.

Drepung Collage

Drepung Gomang Monastery uses all donations and proceeds from the sale of Tibetan crafts and jewelry to house, feed, and educate those living and studying at the monastery, including the orphans and refugees.
Donations also support several initiatives including:
* Food Foundation Project to help provide a continuous supply of food and nourishment to the student monks at the Drepung Gomang Monastery in years to come.
* Emergency Health Fund Project to support monks seeking medical treatment.
* Old Monks Care Home to feed and provide special care to senior monks.
* Handicraft Training School where monks and lay people work together to provide employment opportunities for young people.
* Drepung Gomang Library is one of the reputed Buddhist libraries in South India.
* Construction of a New Hostel will supply housing for the growing number of monks participating in studies at the Drepung Gomang Monastery.

Each year, approximately 150 new monks from Tibet, Mongolia, Tibetan Mongolia, Russia, Nepal, the Himalayan regions of India of Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh, and the Tibetan settlements in India come to the monastery. Since the monastery is dedicated to the survival and continuance of the teachings of the Buddha, no person is refused entrance into the monastery. However, many of these monks have no financial resources to support themselves.

Donations ensure that this historical monastery continues to preserve and strengthen Tibetan Buddhist culture for years to come.


The Tibetan Flag

On March 10th, Tibetan Uprising Day, communities all over the world raise the flag to show support for and solidarity with Tibetans inside Tibet and in exile.


“On the Tibet flag the two lions are taking the wheel of the Ying Yang. The Ying Yang symbol represents spiritual energy. Upon Ying Yang, there are the 3 jewels of Buddhism, namely Buddha, the dharma, and the sangha.”

The colored jewel symbolizes all the people of Tibet, who are enjoying equally the light of freedom, spiritual and material happiness and prosperity. The Tibet flag displays two courageous snow lions representing the temporal and the spiritual power.

“The Flag of Tibet exhibits six red rays of light radiating from a golden disk in the sky which stands for the six original tribes of Tibet, namely; the Se, Mu, Dong, Tong, Dru and Ra.”
exerpt from
The Tibetan Flag is currently banned in Tibet.

Tibetan Flags are available at Tibetan House for purchase.

Below is the full schedule of events in March including:
* Dharma Teachings with Lama Lena, March 3-6
* Drepung Gomang Monks’ Sacred Art Tour in New Orleans, March 8-13
* Tsering Phuntsok returns to New Orleans, March 3-April 26

For more information about any of these events, go to www.tibetanhouse .com or visit our facebook page



Dharma Teachings with Lama Lena

Thursday, March 3 – Vajrasattva Purification
An ancient Tibetan Buddhist Practice useing visualization and mantra meditation for the purpose of clearing away bad karma.
Tibetan House
4900 Tchoupitoulas Street

Friday, March 4 – Introduction to Dzogchen – Direct Mind Perception
LHA Community Center
621. N Rendon Street

Saturday, March 5 – Meditation for Modern Times
Considered uniquely suited to our modern times, the ancient practice of dzogchen, direct mind perception, is said to offer a path to Buddhahood in this very lifetime.
LHA Community Center
621 N. Rendon Street
11am – 1pm & 3pm – 5pm

Lama Lena will teach from the text, Tsig Sum Ne Deb, “Three Words That Strike to the Heart of the Essential Point” by Garab Dorje, a heart text from the Nyingma Longchen Nyingthig Lineage with Commentary by Patrul Rinpoche.
Sunday, March 6 – Refuge Ceremony
LHA Community Center
621 N. Rendon Street
11am – 1pm
Following the ceremony there will be potluck/music feast offering at 1:30pm.
Questions, contact Tibetan House at or call (504) 897-9339.

Drepung Gomang Monks in New Orleans
March 8-13, 2016

drepung collage 2

The Drepung Gomang Monks tour the United States
to share the sacred art of Tibet and
to raise funds for their monastery
and the community services they provide.
Tuesday, March 8 at 7:30pm
Dance of the Snow Lion
This evening will include the presentation of the Snow Lion pageant as well as Tibetan Chanting and a brief talk.
Unity Community Church
3722 St. Charles Avenue

Wednesday, March 9, 12pm – 2pm
Creation of a Sand Mandala Opening Ceremony
Creating Sand Mandala, 3pm-5pm
New Orleans Healing Center
2372 St. Claude Avenue

Wednesday, March 9, 7:30pm- 8:30pm
Drepung Gomang Monks Chanting
Tibetan House
4900 Tchoupitoulas Street

Thursday, March 10, 10am-5pm
Witness Creation of a Sand Mandala.
New Orleans Healing Center
2372 St. Claude Avenue

Thursday, March 10, 5:30pm – 6:30pm
Candlelight Vigil to Commemorate Tibetan Uprising Day
Labyrinth at Audubon Park
Please bring your own candles.
We will be providing candles as well.
Rain or Shine

Friday, March 11, 10am – 5pm
Witness Creation of a Sand Mandala.
New Orleans Healing Center
2372 St. Claude Avenue

Saturday, March 12, 10am-10pm
5th Annual Sacred Music Festival
During the festival, watch the Drepung Gomang Monks finish the sand mandala.
Admission is free.
New Orleans Healing Center
2372 St. Claude Avenue

Sunday, March 13, 11am – 1pm
Closing Dissolution Ceremony of Sand Mandala
The mandala is swept up and shared with the community in a ceremony of gratitude and blessings. This event will include a trip to the Mississippi River where the sand will be released into the water.
New Orleans Healing Center
2372 St. Claude Avenue

All events are open to the public.
Donations are appreciated to support the Drepung Gomang Monastery.

At the Healing Center the monks will have a pop-up shop and be selling Tibetan Dharma items, jewelry and gifts.


Meals for Monks

The monks will be in New Orleans for eight days. If you would like to provide a meal for the monks and their driver, please contact us. Providing food for monks is considered an auspicious offering, and brings blessings to all involved. The monks will be very appreciative of your offerings.

There will be a total of nine people, who will need breakfast food such as apples, oranges, bananas, oatmeal and biscotti, lunch and dinner, for eight days. You might know a restaurant that would like to contribute, or you might want to prepare a meal. Lunches will be served near the New Orleans Healing Center, and dinners will be served according to their evening event. If anyone has a home near the Healing Center who would like to host the lunches, please contact us.


Tsering Phuntsok will be back in New Orleans, March 3-April 26.
Here are some of the events, more details coming soon!

Friday, March 11, 7pmTsering Phuntsok
Workshop with Tsering Phuntsok
New Orleans Healing Center
2372 St. Claude Avenue,
4th Floor – Interfaith Center

Events with Tsering Phuntsok
at Tibetan House

Wednesday, March 16, 7pm
An Evening with Tsering Phuntsok
Tsering Phuntsok will share his experiences as a Tibetan Monk
Tibetan House
4900 Tchoupitoulas

Wednesday, April 13, 7pm
Evening with Tsering Phuntsok, Topic to be Announced

Wednesday, April 20, 7pm
Evening with Tsering Phuntsok, Topic to be Announced

Sunday, April 17
Smoke Puja

Monday, April 25
Farewell to Tsering Phuntsok Pop-Up Dinner

Tsering Phuntsok is available for 1-on-1 appointments and blessings, if you are interested, please contact Tibetan House at
or call (504) 897-9339.