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Program for peace.

Byline: Randi Bjornstad The Register-Guard

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

has metastasized."

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

June 12.

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

June 14: Run With Peace 5K or 10K, 9 a.m., Alton Baker Park, 100 Day Island Road; information and registration at

Palmo Peace Center:
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Title Annotation:Visual Arts
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:Jun 5, 2014
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