Monks provide students with a real experience of Buddhism

Buddhist Monks

Religious Studies students at the University of South Wales, Caerleon Campus recently benefited from a truly unique experience taking part in workshops and seeing a live performance from the Buddhist Monks of the Tashi Lhunpo Tibetan Monastery.

The workshops included a performance session which allowed students to learn the ritualistic movements, dance, prayer and chant of the Tibetan Monks. Hands-on workshops provided an opportunity to have a taste of some of their traditional creative activities including building sand mandalas (pictured below), butter sculptures and printing a prayer flag. In groups, each activity was taught to the students by a Monk, giving them the chance to spend time talking with a young Tibetan to learn more about their life and culture.

Buddhist Monks 2

To get a taste of the types of experiences on offer to students at the University, pupils from Treorchy Comprehensive also joined the students in the workshops.

The day culminated firstly in a ceremonial “destruction” of the sand mandala and a blessing, followed by a spectacular and colourful evening performance “The Power of Compassion” which was enjoyed by students, staff and general public.

Buddhist Monks 3

The day was a great way for students to experience examples of Buddhism first hand having studied the religion in lectures. The workshops were a chance to underpin the theoretical knowledge gained as part of the course, one of many similar opportunities provided to students of Religious Studies at the University of South Wales.

Third year Religious Studies student Matt Wickenden who took part in the day said “The monks have shown us rituals and some dancing. It’s all fascinating stuff and it’s great to take part in the workshops.”

Alongside several visits of this kind from faith groups, the Religious Studies course at the University of South Wales also offers students the chance to bring religion to life with study trips to India, Nepal and Istanbul.

Speaking of the event, Senior lecturer Nick Swann said “It was wonderful hosting the Tashi Lhunpo Monks. Events like this complement students’ scholarly work, bringing their reading to life. Yesterday was a valuable opportunity for students to learn more about religion 'on the ground’ through spending time with these Buddhist monks.

It’s been great to hear from students that they found it fun as well as worthwhile for their studies.”