Losang Samten, a Tibetan scholar and former Buddhist monk, braved the snow and cold to visit the Tricycle office today. Samten–who was born in Tibet but fled to India after the Chinese took control in 1959–is spiritual director of Tibetan Buddhist Center of Philadelphia; Chenrezig Tibetan Buddhist Center of Middletown, Connecticut ; and Chenrezig Himalayan Cultural Center of El Paso,Texas. In addition to serving as spiritual director, Samten is an accomplished sand painter. In 1988, Samten came to the US as instructed by the Dalai Lama, to demonstrate the meditative art of sand painting (see two of his sand mandalas below). This was the first time a Tibetan mandala was shown in the west. Since then, he has created sand mandalas for museums and universities across the country. He also served as the religious technical advisor and sand mandala supervisor (as well as actor) for Martin Scorsese’s film Kundun.

During his visit this afternoon, Samten spoke about his new book, Ancient Teachings in Modern Times, and gave a short teaching. Afterward, over tea and cookies, we discussed the importance of preserving the Tibetan language and shared stories of adventurous travel abroad. Stay tuned, a video of his visit will be made available on tricycle.com soon.

If you’re planning to be in the New York City area this weekend, join Losang Samten at the Rubin Museum on Friday evening at 7 o’clock. Samten will be discussing his book with psychiatrist and author Mark Epstein. To buy Losang Samten’s book, click here.Samten creating a sand mandalaSamten's sand mandala

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