Aug. 20 2014 12:00 AM

Monks share blessings, smiles and peace in Lansing

More than 60 people attended a last minute stop on a Tibetan monk tour of the United States Sunday at The Light House Chapel.

The Monks of Ganden Shartse Dokhang are touring to share their culture, philosophy and arts, and to raise money to build dorms and a prayer hall at their monastery in Southern India.

The event raised more than $1,500 for the monastery construction effort, said Linda Mogyoros, minister of The Light House Chapel.

While the trip aims to raise money, Geshe Gyaltsen, one of the coordinators for the monastery, said the spiritual mission is most important.

“But most important is to help people in their daily life with health and peace and relaxation,” he said.

The six monks shared a meal with the congregation before the ceremony. They mingled easily with teens and elders, laughing and freely offering prayers and blessings to anyone who asked.

The monks shared a vajra ceremony that involved chanting, sprinkling water with a peacock feather onto participants and a purification practice. The healing purification involved using a ball of dough to absorbe negativity, disease and injury from the body. Participants received colorful woven twine, called a protection cord, to carry the protection they received with them around their neck or wrists.

After the ceremony the monks were presented with traditional khatas, silk scarves, by members of the congregation.

The monks had singing bowls, incense and other Tibetan items on sale after the ceremony.

“We are helping by offering purification ceremonies to help with health, not for people to become Buddhists. We’re not here to change your religion. Keep your religion. We want to help spread peace.”

Mogyoros said the ceremony was unforgettable.

“I kinda zoned out for a while,” she said of the ceremony, which included bells, anointing, chanting and gifts.

Kathy Caldwell, of Grand Ledge, said she walked away with this message: “With an attitude of compassion all things are possible.”