Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Tibetan Cultural Center

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

I was very amused to read recently about JRA placing Tibetan Prayer Flags on his bicycle. The timing seemed like a bit of a coincidence, because Sarah and I had just visited the Tibetan Cultural Center in Bloomington a few days before. I was technically there working on a photography assignment, but Sarah and I both got carried away and we spent a lot longer there than we expected.

The Tibetan Cultural Center is an interesting place, tucked away on a road not too far from town, but in the midst of a small forest. It was founded, and run for many years, by the Dalai Lama’s older brother. I had ridden/driven past the entrance many times but never visited. I’m glad we finally decided to go check it out.

It’s a beautiful, peaceful, wooded spot, so much so that you forget that you are just a couple of miles from the mall. I only submitted two or three of these photos for my assignment, but I want to share more of them here.

One of the first things you see when you enter the property are some prayer flags, like JRA wrote about.

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There are several of these amazing sand paintings, in various places.

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There’s a visitor’s center, and a gift shop. We didn’t visit either this time, preferring to spend our time outdoors.

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Gorgeous designs adorned the narrow drive through the property.

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And, a couple of interesting structures, much like this one. According to their Web site they are “traditional Tibetan Stupas (Tib. Chorten).”

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Close examination of the sand paintings reveals they are three-dimensional.

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A couple of Buddhas add interest.

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There’s another building, I’m not sure what this one is called, but it’s intriguing. According to a sign, the cylinders are “Mani Corlo,” or Tibetan prayer wheels, and they “contain millions of mantras (prayers) for spreading spiritual blessings and well being to all beings everywhere. Each wheel contains millions of imprinted mantras” … ” Each revolution is as meritorious as reading the inscription aloud as many times as it is written on the scroll, and this means that the more mantras that are inside a prayer wheel then the more powerful it is.” It also states that the wheels are to be spun clockwise.

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We spent quite a while admiring the artwork, and of course, spinning the wheels. As a cyclist, I know that spinning wheels can be therapeutic. The same was true here.

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I was amazed at the beauty of the Tibetan Cultural Center, and everything it has to offer. I will definitely be going back to learn more. Conveniently, it’s right along many of my bicycle routes, so it could make for a good place to pause for a few pensive moments during a ride.

4 Responses to “Tibetan Cultural Center”

  1. Bill Lambert Says:

    I have some Buddhist friends who have spoken of how beautiful that place is. Thank you for sharing your experience. I think you will do well on your assignment!

  2. Jon Grinder Says:

    That’s a beautiful spot. I could spend a bit of time ther, with a sketchbook and some watercolors, for sure.

  3. John Romeo Alpha Says:

    Those are some excellent detailed photos, Apertome. The gearhead cyclist in me started to think about hooking up a drive train to those prayer wheels in order to get them spinning at high revs.

  4. John Says:

    I enjoyed this. Eddie Murphy did come to mind when I saw those prayer wheels. Tacky of me I know, but it happened.

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