Program for peace.
If it weren't for the Venerable Lady Jangchup Palmo, the Dalai Lama
might never have come to Eugene in May 2013.
The Tibetan woman - whom many call Amala, a title of respect that means
"honored mother" - started her campaign to persuade him to come a dozen
years ago, said Sharon Tabor, who became interested in Budd hist
teachings 25 years ago.
"Amala wrote to His Holiness every week for 11 years, asking him to
come to Eugene," Tabor said. "If it hadn't been for her, his visit
probably never would have happened."
It was standing room only in Matthew Knight Arena on May 10 last year
when the Dalai Lama spoke. And while he was here, he promised Palmo he
would return to Eugene to consecrate the Palmo Center for Peace and
Education when it's built, said Tabor, an active supporter of the
effort and a deep admirer of the Cottage Grove woman and her life's
"So we have some urgency to get the center done," she said. "The Dalai
Lama is 78 years old now, and Amala is being treated for cancer that
Jangchup Palmo was raised in a Tibetan Buddhist family until she was 15
years old, when the communist Chinese invaded the country, "and she saw
her parents and three siblings killed right in front of her," Tabor
said. "She was shot six times, but she survived."
According to accounts of her life by the Eugene Sakya Center, headed by
her son, the Buddhist scholar and lama Jigme Rinpoche, Palmo was held
captive for several years. Eventually, she made her way to Mount
Kailish in Tibet.
There, she studied for three years "with a monk who became her
teacher," Tabor said. "He taught her to heal by finding forgiveness and
compassion within herself."
As part of her practice, Palmo spent 13 years living and meditating in
caves in Tibet and India. She came to the United States in 1997.
One year later
Supporters of the Palmo project, including Rinpoche, are working as
quickly as they can to make their namesake's dream come true. But in
the meantime, they also wanted to commemorate the first anniversary of
the Dalai Lama's visit and his commitment to the Eugene center.
"We decided we should do an anniversary concert, and then we got in
touch with a group of Tibetan monks that does residencies in
communities around the world, sharing their traditions, and we decided
to bring them here," Tabor said.
The result is a week's worth of art, music and dance that begins Friday
during the city of Eugene's downtown First Friday ArtWalk. Mayor Kitty
Piercy will welcome the Tibetan monks from the Drepung Loseling
Monastery in Tibet, who will chant and perform a "Black Hat Dance."
The evening also will include live music, a display of children's art
with the theme of "Compassion and Kindness," a silent auction, a slide
show of Tibet and a sale of Tibetan crafts.
The event continues Saturday with an opening ceremony to launch the
six-day creation by the monks of an elaborate sand mandala, which they
will work on from five to seven hours per day until it is finished at
On June 13, the 11-member group will give an evening performance,
"Sacred Music Sacred Dance for World Healing," in the Soreng Theater at
the Hult Center for the Performing Arts. The residency culminates June
14 with a 5-or 10-kilometer Run With Peace at 9 a.m. in Alton Baker
Tibetan music and dance
The monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery tour internationally
under the title "The Mystical Arts of Tibet." They play traditional
instruments that include 10-foot-long dung-chen horns, drums, bells,
cymbals and gyaling trumpets.
The monks sing with "multiphonic" voices, each creating a complete
chord by controlling the vocal muscles to produce overtones. They dress
in costumes of rich brocade fabrics and elaborate masks and headdresses
while performing dances such as the "Sacred Snow Lion."
Despite their other-worldliness, the Drepung Loseling monks have become
celebrities of sorts in their own right, performing on the same stage
with the likes of Paul Simon, Natalie Merchant, Patti Smith and the
Beastie Boys. Their music has graced the soundtrack of the movies
"Seven Years in Tibet" and "Kundun."
For those who know the ins and outs of sand mandalas - or who remember
the one created in three days in the Eugene Public Library two years
ago by a smaller group of monks from the same monastery - the pieces of
art consist of millions of grains of colored sand deposited on a table
or platform by monks. They will be using tiny metal funnels called
chakpurs to create intricate patterns and borders.
Almost at once after finishing the elaborate work of art, the monks
sweep all the sand together, symbolizing the impermanence of everything
material. In Eugene, they will distribute some of the sand to people
attending the closing ceremony.
The monks will carry the rest in procession to the Willamette River,
where it will be scattered in the water to carry a healing blessing to
the ocean and the planet.
Follow Randi on Twitter @BjornstadRandi. Email
The Mystical Arts of Tibet
The monks of Tibet's Drepung Loseling Monastery bring a week of art, music and dance to Eugene.
Friday: 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. (dance and chanting at 6:30 p.m.), First Friday ArtWalk, Composer's Hall, Hilton Eugene Conference Center, Willamette Street and Seventh Avenue; live music, children's art, silent auction, slide show of Tibet, Tibetan craft sale
Saturday to June 12: Noon, Lane Community College downtown campus, 101 W. 10th Ave.; opening ceremony for creation of sand mandala; work on mandela continues until 5 p.m. Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 8 and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 9-12; closing ceremony at 6 p.m. June 12
June 13: "The Mystical Arts of Tibet: Sacred Music Sacred Dance for World Healing," 7:30 p.m. in the Hult Center's Soreng Theater; tickets $15 to $42, available at the Hult Center box office, 541-682-5000 or hultcenter.org
June 14: Run With Peace 5K or 10K, 9 a.m., Alton Baker Park, 100 Day Island Road; information and registration at bit.ly/1hkHCOr
Palmo Peace Center: palmocenter.org