PEMBERTON TOWNSHIP – Tibetan monks visited the Deborah Heart and Lung Center on Thursday, blessing the hospital patients and staff through a colorful, musical chant.

“It’s a very interesting and very unusual culture. … We’re really proud to host this event,” said Joseph Manni, vice president of operations and chief operating officer at the hospital. “These gentlemen are direct emissaries of the Dalai Lama.”

The Buddhist Hospital Blessing was performed by seven of the eight visiting monks, who reside at the Drepung Gomang Monastic College in India, founded by the Dalai Lama when he and his followers were exiled from Tibet in 1959 after the Chinese government took over the country.

The monks are on a “Sacred Arts” tour to raise awareness of Tibetan society in exile as well as solicit funds to support the monastery. According to a statistics report presented at the event, 1.2 million Tibetans have died since the Chinese occupation began, and 6,000 Buddhist monasteries have been destroyed.

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The monks of Drepung Gomang Monastic College

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