Buddhist Monks

Buddhist Monks

Every summer Torino Ranch hosts approximately a dozen Buddhist monks for a period of two to three weeks during a portion of the summer program. Their visit is a part of a cross-country trek by the monks to spread joy and zen to the staff, children, counselors and volunteers who tirelessly facilitate the camp experience.

The mornings at Torino Ranch capture the beauty and uniqueness of the mountain spirit. It’s not uncommon to see several dozen individuals join the monks in a morning meditation session.

During the course of the day the monks may join the children and young adults to play soccer, bocce ball, archery, and other activities. Often they will host a Question and Answer session with all individuals to discuss their lives.

“Meditation is supposed to open our minds and hearts to receive goodness,” says Brett. “The Buddhists say when your heart and mind are open to receiving goodness, the blessings begin to overflow. In that state of mind, you can make a wish, invoking the Dharma guardians to grant it if your intentions are pure. The meditation is about stripping away the ego, embracing a mindset of cherishing oneself and sacrificing for the benefit of everyone. It takes you to such a pure level of consciousness.”

Buddhist monks perform several sacred practices that take years of discipline and training to perfect. One of these is the Snow Lion Dance. The Snow Lion is a mythical animal, whose fearlessness represents Tibet and its desire to be free, as well as the eloquent quality of an enlightened mind.

Occasionally the monks will construct a sand Mandala. The intricate design takes several days to create and once it is finished there is a ceremony to dismantle it, which provides a great lesson in impermanence and not being attached to material things.

Buddhist Monks at Torino Ranch