Created with the guidance and blessing of His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet, the Gyuto Wheel of Dharma Monastery was established in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to share the wisdom teachings of Tibetan Buddhism while preserving Tibet's great monastic traditions and unique culture in exile. His Holiness bestowed the Monastery's mission and its name (Tibetan: Cho-Kor-Gon, or "Wheel of Dharma").
Gyuto Wheel of Dharma Monastery bears the distinction of being the first western branch of Tibet's Gyuto Monastery, an ancient institution whose monks hold a rare unbroken lineage of tantric Buddhist teachings. This pure Dharma wisdom has been handed down uninterrupted through the generations of great Tibetan and Indian masters, directly from the teachings of the historical Buddha himself.
The daily life of a Gyuto monk is one of continous Buddhist practice of awareness, compassion and lovingkindness cultivated for the benefit of all sentient beings. The monks achieve this through joyous effort, prayer, meditation, generosity, and through the skillful application of the tantric arts and tantric wisdom-view. Visitors experience the Monastery's peaceful atmosphere as a reflection of the Buddha's teachings and of the monks' openhearted practice of their monastic vows.
The Gyuto monks' meditation practices include the Buddhist ritual arts for which they are famous: The unique and powerful multiphonic chanting of prayers, elaborate butter sculptures of Buddhist images, and the creation of very intricate, impermanent sand mandalas.
Traditionally, Tibetan tantric monks are believed to effect healing through their ritual activities. Their harmonic chanting is said to activate the body and mind to transcend mundane "discriminative" thought, and to bring about an integrated state of enlightenment. Tantric ritual practices are always performed as blessing ceremonies for the earth and all beings.
The Gyuto monks are well known in Tibet and admired in the exile Tibetan community for their living example of spiritual ideals. In the west, the Gyuto monks first shared a glimpse of their sacred rituals in 1967, when, with permission of the elder Tibetan religious masters, they embarked on their first world tour. The transcendent beauty of their chants, combined with the dramatic power of traditional monastic dance, has inspired and transformed audiences all over the world.
In Minnesota, the monks of Gyuto Wheel of Dharma share their extraordinary heritage by serving the second largest community of Tibetan-Americans in the U.S., as well as western students of Buddhism and Tibetan culture. Their days at the Monastery are spent in prayer, solitude and service.
All are welcome at the Monastery's public events and weekly teachings.