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Loyola University New Orleans to host Tibetan Nuns of Kathmandu for evening of sacred performance

Loyola press release - November 8, 1999

Loyola sponsors weeklong activities to highlight Tibetan Nuns first trip to North America as part of "Women’s Freedom and Spiritual Liberation" tour

(New Orleans)—As part of their first trip to the West, nuns of Kathmandu will visit the Loyola University New Orleans campus, during the week of Sunday, Nov. 14 –Thursday, Nov. 18, 1999. This tour of the nuns of Khachoe Ghakyil Nunnery marks the first time a troupe of Tibetan nuns has ever traveled to North America. As part of the tour, the nuns will combine sacred dance, music and theater with the creative innovations of formalized philosophical debate and religious practice. This represents a breakthrough of Tibetan women to an unprecedented status in the spiritual life of Tibetan culture, a new, egalitarian culture that is emerging in the Tibetan refugee communities of India and Nepal.

Khachoe Ghakyil Nunnery is one of a new generation of nunneries established in exile. It was founded in 1986 under the direction of Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche, spiritual director of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition. The tour is a fund-raiser for the nunnery that, because of the religious suppression in Tibet, has seen its population grow from five to 200 nuns.

Planned activities include:

Tibetan nuns in concert—Sunday, November 14 at 7:30 p.m. in Roussel Performance Hall. General Admission is $15 and $5 for students. A sacred performance of "Land of Snows" comes vividly to life as 11 nuns perform colorful masked dance and vibrant harmonic chants.

Sand mandala painting—Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, November 16–18, Daytime in the Danna Center Art Gallery. A sand mandala is a two-dimensional geometric design drawn in colored sand that represents the emergence of Buddha. Nuns will work on the design throughout the three days.

Nuns engage in discussions with students—Tuesday, November 16 at 12:30 p.m. in Nunemaker Auditorium in Monroe Hall.

Interview with nuns about their experiences—Wednesday, November 17 at 12:30 p.m. in Women’s Center, Mercy Hall Room 103.

Recital hour performance and question/answer session—Thursday, November 18 at 12:30 p.m. in Nunemaker Auditorium in Monroe Hall

Ceremony to destroy mandala—Thursday, November 18 at 4 p.m. in the Danna Center Art Gallery, followed by walk to Audubon Park Lagoon. On the final day of building the mandela, the magnificent work is "disassembled," swept up and carried in ritual procession to be poured into a nearby body of water.

Reception—Thursday, November 18 at 5 p.m. in the Danna Center Art Gallery.

All events are open to the public and, with the exception of the concert, free. Loyola’s main campus is located at 6363 St. Charles Ave.