The Venerable Geshe Kalsang Damdul (Gesha la) completed a two-day visit to Columbus College of Art & Design, speaking to students and blessing the new Master’s of Fine Arts (MFA) space.
On Monday, Oct. 25, students, faculty, and community members came together for an event that filled Canzani Auditorium to capacity. In his presentation, Enjoying the Path, Geshe La focused on learning through reasoning and logic and drew analogies to modern day dilemmas.
“Growth comes in three stages of wisdom: studying, contemplation, and experience. This sequence is engaged in the present moment. If your mind wanders to the past or future, you have lost focus and mindfulness.”
He continued, “If you have [so much] homework, take a breath and sit silently for a moment. Don’t spoil the end result with overexertion and rigidness. Casually open your heart and mind; this allows peace and happiness to dawn inside you.”
At the conclusion of the program, Geshe la invited audience members to place their art-making tools on stage for a personal blessing. Participants watched quietly as the rhythmic prayer was directed toward an array of SLR cameras, graphite pencils, sketch pads, and glass blowing instruments.
“We believe that the deities are here to witness,” said Geshe la. “[During the blessing], we request that they protect the objects, that they serve as their guardians. We also say a series of auspicious prayers for the auspiciousness of them.”
Geshe la’s visit to CCAD continued Tuesday, Oct. 26, during a luncheon and blessing at the new MFA space on the third floor of Design Studios on Broad.
The Rev. Tim Ahrens, First Congregational Church, joined Geshe la in his blessing of the MFA space. “My blessing is that all that happens here is blessed, combines the best of the human spirit, and gives back to all of us,” said Ahrens after the traditional Buddhist blessing.
“You’ve done a remarkable thing for us,” said CCAD President Denny Griffith. “It’s an unusual moment for an art school to have a world religious leader on campus, and we appreciate your presence, wisdom, and humor.”
Working directly under his Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Geshe la is the assistant director of the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics in Dharamsala, India. He has traveled throughout Europe and the US and has taught at Portland (Oregon) State University as a visiting Tibetan Scholar.
Geshe La is teaching Tibetan Culture and Buddhism at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio through Nov. 3.
News about Columbus College of Art & Design, including the accomplishments of CCAD alumni, faculty, staff, and students.