Tibetan Buddhism Seattle

Monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery in India created a sand mandala at Tibet Fest in 2012It is only when the music was briefly interrupted, with an announcement in perfect English, did a visitor realize they were at a cultural festival at Seattle Center, a community activity center that is the former site of the 1964 World’s Fair. A kind-looking lady in a chuba, a traditional Tibetan dress, made announcements at regular intervals between the performances.

Tsering Yuthok, the president of the Tibetan Association of Washington, from the stage introduced the musicians, and the meanings of the performances and songs, for the gathered people.

The festival, she said, is produced in partnership with Seattle Center and is the largest Tibetan cultural festival in the Pacific Northwest. It attracts people from the local Tibetan community (as well as from Vancouver B.C., Portland, San Francisco and Salt Lake City), to dress up in their traditional costumes, watch authentic Tibetan entertainment, and eat Tibetan food.

Tibet Fest Himalayan bazaar“For the first time in the 18 years of the festival, multiple grants were secured from Seattle Center, King County 4Culture, the City of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, and the Washington Arts Commission, ” Yuthok said proudly. “The festival has definitely grown over the years. Attendance has grown. So have vendors and other nonprofit participation. Sponsors, the budget and therefore the production have grown larger, and there is more variety.”

The 2013 Tibet Fest did seem extra special, including a visit from Lobsang Sangay, the democratically elected prime minister of the Tibetan administration in exile, and opened by Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn.

““Are you crazy?” Yuthok, who then served on the association board, vividly remembers saying in response to his idea.

“The Tibetan community at that time was really small and funds even smaller, ” she said now.

However, led by Shakabpa’s bold vision, the association submitted an application and the community held its first festival.

“Visitors to our festival such as East Indians, and a Chinese friend, have asked me how we manage to put on a two-day festival, knowing that our community is so much smaller than theirs, ” Yuthok said with pride.

She added, “The driving force for Tibet Fest is essentially the preservation of our culture, as it is truly being destroyed (in Tibet). That is the main goal and motivation. The unexpected reward has been the opportunity to showcase the growth of our community, when our own local Tibetan children have been able to perform Tibetan songs and dances at the festival.”

Meanwhile, for the now-enlightened visitor, the wandering window-shopping experience has quickly turned into an educational one.

Shopkeeper Tingkhye is at his cheerful best when explaining anything Tibetan or Buddhism-related. His eyes light up and an even wider grin appears, stretching the wise wrinkles on his face.

China's Tibetan Tussle  — The New Indian Express
She said, “China follows a policy of freedom of religion and belief, and this naturally includes having to respect and protect the ways of passing on Tibetan Buddhism.

Why Tibetans protesting against Chinese President's visit: Explained  — Oneindia
The Chinese Army defeated the small Tibetan Army in 1949 and imposed a 'Seventeen-Point Agreement for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet' on the Tibetan Government in May 1951.

Popular Q&A

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What are the best places for a Westerner to learn about Buddhism in San Francisco? - Quora

The answer to this question is dependant on the type of Buddhism you want to learn about. If you are curious about Buddhism in the Zen tradition, you might check out the San Francisco Zen Center (

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Anyone out there study Zen Buddhism at San Francisco Zen center?

What did you think of the place?

No, but I did take a course with a nun from there. It is into an Americanized version of zen, with a lot of psychology involved, and probably less ritual than in a purer form of Zen. However, the San Francisco Zen Center has a very good reputation. If you are interested, you can check it out without any commitment, I think.

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