After another year, the Tibetan Monks have returned to Nevada County |

After another year, the Tibetan Monks have returned to Nevada County


What: Tibetan Monks are returning to Nevada County for two weeks.

Where: Banner Community Guild Hall at 12629 McCourtney Road.

When: See the schedule below.

Info: If you have any questions, please contact Joseph Guida at (530) 798-9576 or by email at

The schedule:


3 p.m. Business Blessing

7 p.m. Opening Ceremony


10 a.m. Family Art Event

2 p.m. Business Blessing

3 to 5 p.m. Blessing of animals at Animal Save (520 East Main Street)

7 p.m. Chenrezig, Buddha of Compassion empowerment


3 p.m. Vajravidarin group healing


7 p.m. teaching Climate Change and the Six Root Delusions


7 p.m. teaching Climate Change and the Six Root Delusions


7 p.m. Blessing of the Sacred Objects


7 p.m. Prayers for the sick, dying, and recently deceased

March 2

10 a.m. Family Art event

3 p.m. teaching Climate Change and the Six Delusions

7 p.m. Cultural Event (chant, debate, slide show, tea ceremony)

March 3

3:00 p.m. Chey Drol (removing obstacles) group healing

March 4

Noon - Tibet Radio Hour on KVMR-FM Geshe la and Shanu

March 6

7 p.m. dinner and a movie with the Monks (the Monks will be making dinner)

March 8

7 p.m. dinner and a movie with the Monks (the Monks will be making dinner)

March 9

10 a.m. Medicine Buddha Empowerment

3 p.m. Closing Ceremony

Peaceful, maroon-robed individuals offering positive thoughts and engaging local residents has been imprinted in Nevada County’s collective memory for the past 19 years.

This year, as expected, the robed ones have returned.

The Sierra Friends of Tibet have been bringing Tibetan Monks to the area to help spread their wisdom, and inform the community of the injustices incurred on Tibet by the Chinese.

Joseph Guida, who formed the organization in 1996, is the longest lasting member of the group. He’s been bringing Tibetan Monks to Nevada County since 1999, which makes this one of the longest lasting two-week events to go on in the county, according to Guida.

This year, as is common, the monks will host a variety of blessings and projects at the Banner Community Guild Hall, as well as roam the county offering prayers, teaching Buddhist philosophy and spreading their practice. In addition to the prayers and sand mandalas, this year the monks will focus on climate change and the teachings of the Six Root Delusions. In addition, this year the monk’s will be cooking dinner, something that hasn’t yet happened previously, according to Guida.

Sierra Friends of Tibet

The club, Sierra Friends of Tibet, originated out of Guida’s desire to do something for Tibet, which arose during a 1978 trip to Nepal. While there, Guida bought English books on Tibet’s history, and learned about the Chinese invasions. He quickly realized that the Chinese Communist Party’s first major incursions occurred in 1950 — the same year as Guida’s birth.

“When I look at my whole life, the Tibetan people (have been) oppressed by a foreign colonizer,” said Guida.

With the help of a few of Guida’s friends, the Sierra Friends of Tibet came into formation, with the goal of raising “awareness of Tibet, advocating for self-determination for the Tibetan people, and to end the illegal occupation” set forth by China, according to the club’s website.

In the 22 years the organization has been around, not everyone has stayed. Still, Guida has always been able to attract fresh faces and keep the club running. There are about 30 volunteers with the club.

“People go but the organization stays steady,” said Guida.

‘We appreciate them as much as they appreciate us’

Each year when the monks’ come to town, the Sierra Friends of Tibet ensure they receive free medical care from a dentist, optometrist and general physician from the area. Dr. Gerald Chan, an optician in Grass Valley, has been providing free eye examinations for the monks for many years.

“They’ve been very grateful,” Chan said. “Each year they come in and thank us for what we do for them.”

Two years ago, however, the monks came to take on a more intimate meaning for the doctor. During that time, Chan’s wife developed a brain aneurysm and had a stroke. When the monks heard about it, 3,000 of them — from Nevada County and in Tibet — gathered to pray for her health.

Today, after their prayers and a whole lot of treatment from many doctors and psychologists, Chan’s wife is doing almost as well as she was prior to the events. As Chan remarks, “a casual observer would have no idea that she had a brain aneurysm or stroke.” The doctor has not forgotten their continued kindness and gratitude.

“We appreciate them as much as they appreciate us,” he said.

From Nevada County to Paradise

After two weeks in Nevada County, the monks will head to Paradise to speak with first responders. There, they will spread their understanding of Buddhism, which advocates logic, encouraging people to go out and apply the Buddha’s teachings, not to just blindly accept them.

“After every teaching the Dalai Lama says, ‘Don’t believe me,’” said Guida. ‘Take my teachings, go out into the world and see if they work. If they don’t work, my teachings are wrong.’”

You can contact Sam Corey at 530-477-4219 or by email at

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