by Geri Loizzo

Editor’s note: Read on and then enjoy all of the videos from this special in-person event.

The laws of impermanence teach us that things are changing all the time — a teaching that has been especially apparent in the time of covid. Like all institutions of learning, Nalanda Institute has had to adapt to the change from in-person contact to online classes. For many of us, keeping a feeling of connection and intimacy in the little square boxes of Zoom has posed a challenge, even as the benefits of becoming more accessible to new friends connecting around the globe have been felt and greatly appreciated. While not IRL (in real life), you could say this new accessibility has provided more opportunities to experience a wider variety of the courses and daily meditation offerings IRT (in real time). Still, for some, the yearning for an in-person experience has been brewing for quite some time!

As the world began to tip its toes back into the pond of meeting up in-person, our team set out on a plan to host an event which would allow us to return to NYC’s cultural home of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Tibet House US, for an evening of poetry, art, Tibetan Chant, and blissful music — we figured we could all use a little fun. So, in our attempt to embrace the laws of change, we set-out to learn another art — mastering the skill of the hybrid event. This absolutely could not have been possible with the technical genius of A/V Director Walt Matteson.

Joining us for the evening were various artists and presenters, as well as friends attending the event, both from home and in-person. On a large Zoom screen, we saw integrative works from artists Michela Martello and Ana Maria Velasco, who joined in from Taiwan and Colombia. In-person, we heard engaging commentary on Tantra in Art from Eric Mendlow and Dr. Joe Loizzo. Also joining us in-person to thoughtfully present poetry written by members of the Nalanda Institute community was Elizabeth Rovere. Tibetan Chant Master, Geshe Tashi Dorje led a meditation for peace along with his incredibly moving and powerful chanting. Notable flute and tabla musicians, Eric Fraser, and Naren Budhkar graced the room with blissful sounds of evening raga. A host of old and new friends braved some extreme northeastern weather to attend, and a couple of responsible ones stayed home so as not to infect others, having just learned of a positive covid test result.

A repeated comment, heard over again by attendees was, “When can we do this again?” (A timely question, as our next hybrid event is a daylong retreat on cultivating gratitude, on January 7th)

If you didn’t get a chance to join the gathering on November 11th, please enjoy these videos of this delightful event. Our heartfelt gratitude goes out to our dedicated staff, Diane Bertolo, Tom Damrauer, Dan Donohue, Rahshaana Green, Walt Matteson, to our Board Members and donors who make it all possible, and especially to you — our community of contemplative artists, teachers, seekers, learners, altruists, practitioners, and future buddhas!