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22march20109OXFORD - With a pinch of flour thrown into the air with a Buddhist prayer, Miami University students and faculty kicked of Tibetan Culture Week. About 75 people gathered for a Tibetan prayer flag ceremony outside Upham Hall Monday, March 22.

They stood quietly, some holding burning incenses, in the frigid misting rain as a Geshe Kalsang Damdul, a Tibetan monk, chanted prayers and rang a bell.

Each person then took a pinch of flour and held it above their heads saying together "sooo" three times before tossing it in the air.

"I thought it was a lot different than anything I'd been to before," said Rachel Howell, a sophomore at Miami, who attended the ceremony for her anthropology class.

Miami sophomore Thea Peterson said she saw prayer flags hanging in temples in India while living there as a child. She also visited her father in Tibet last year while he was living there.

"I just really like the culture," said Peterson, who attended the ceremony with friends from her Hindi class at Miami.

The ceremony was the first event in a week that will include a meditation session, lecture and others with Geshe Kalsang Damdul. The activities are conducted ahead of the October visit by the Dalai Lama.

On March 24, Geshe Kalsang Damdul will present "An Introduction to Tibetan Meditation" from 9 to 10 a.m. and a lecture "Toward a Compassionate World in the 21st Century" from 3 to 4 p.m. in 212 McMillan.

On March 25, "Global Women's Day: Tibetan Women" will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Shriver Center and a showing of the film "Kundun" will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. in 101 Bachelor Hall.

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