Tibetan monks visit Giggleswick
Ben Harris


Tibetan monks living in exile in South India visited Giggleswick to share their masked dances, traditional music and sacred mantras.

The monks from the Tashi Lhunpo monastery ran a workshop with our pupils and guests from year five at Lady Lane Park School in Bingley.

The children were treated to a hands-on workshop with the monks, giving them the chance to learn more about Tibetan culture and try their hand at making sand mandalas, prayer flags, butter sculptures and Dukar wheels.

The Tashi Lhunpo Monastery has a long and interesting history, founded by the first Dalai Lama in 1447 and renowned for its Tantric tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Following the Chinese occupation of Tibet and the Cultural Revolution, the monastery was re-established in exile in a Tibetan refugee settlement in South India.

Head of Giggleswick Junior School, James Mundell, said “It was a fabulous opportunity and privilege for the children to meet the monks in person and learn about their life and monastic traditions. Huge thanks go to Jane Rasch who coordinated the workshop and her incredible work as the founder of the charity set up to support the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery back in 2003.

“One of the many highlights for the children was writing their names in Tibetan and learning a few words too. The morning ended watching the monks perform their tantric prayers and Mudras – symbolic or ritual gestures – which are used to generate wisdom, compassion and healing powers.”

The monks combined their visit to Giggleswick with a performance for the general public at the Richard Whiteley Theatre in the evening.

The monks have been touring from their monastery for two decades sharing their culture with audiences at festivals and theatres throughout the UK and Europe. They have been frequent visitors to the Edinburgh Fringe, and appeared at Glastonbury Festival, WOMAD, London’s South Bank Centre, The Royal Opera House and guested at the fictional Lockfest Festival (with the Pet Shop Boys) on BBC Radio 4’s The Archers.