Tibetan Monks Geshe Tsewang Thinley and Geshe Tenzin Gyatso paid a visit to the South Laguna Community Garden Park to lead a meditation and offer blessings for peace in honor of World Kindness Day last Sunday, Nov. 12.
Carly Sciacca, assistant manager of the garden and 13-year volunteer, said garden members invited the monks to celebrate world peace and kindness, acknowledge veterans for Veterans Day and chant to end strife and war in the world.
“They’ve visited Laguna a few times,” Sciacca said. “I had the idea that, because the garden is a community meeting space in South Laguna, we would love for them to offer a blessing.”
After blessing the space, the monks stayed in the garden for a “peace potluck” organized by garden members.
“I’m very happy to be here with the people of Laguna. We have made a lot of friends and hope to be back next year,” Geshe Thiney said. “I like the beach, the weather and the people are very open. We’ve gone to all the local beaches during our stay.”
At a past visit, Sciacca said the head monk mentioned something after the blessing that stuck with her.
“These vibrations, these good feelings, now they’re in every molecule of water,” she recalled the monk telling the public. “And they’re going to stay in the garden.”
“Everyone was struck by that,” Sciacca said. “I think it is true. Once you do something like this in a space, and you have these people coming together and offering each other hope, love and compassion, it changes the space, and it changes the people.”
“This garden is so much more than a garden,” she went on to say. “You look around, and people are really connecting. It’s why we need open spaces like this within our community. They’re healing.”
The visit to the community garden park was one of the four “World Kindness” events the monks are attending around Laguna Beach this November. The day before the garden blessing, Geshes Tsewang and Tenzin participated in the Ability Awareness Project’s World Kindness Day activities on Main Beach.
This coming weekend, the monks will construct a sand mandala at the Hugo Rivera Gallery, located at 550 South Coast Highway. On Nov. 18, an opening ceremony and prayers will lead off the mandala’s construction until 5 p.m. The monks will finish constructing the mandala at 11 a.m. the following day.
In Tibetan Buddhism, sand mandalas are believed to effect purification and healing for the environment and for those who view it. Before a sand mandala’s creation, monks consecrate the site with sacred chants, invoking deities to ask for their healing blessings. The finished mandala is consecrated and, having served its purpose is swept up and dispersed into the flowing water.
The closing ceremonies begin at 3:30 p.m. with the dissolution of the mandala. The monks will walk to the beach to disperse the sand at 4 p.m.
The monks will also offer prayers and chanting at the opening of Laguna Beach Yoga at 312 Broadway on Nov. 19 at 7 p.m.