Día de Los Muertos at University of the West

Altar de Los Muertos at University of the West. Photo by the author.

Recently, at University of the West, the Buddhist-inspired institution of higher education where I direct a Master of Divinity in Buddhist Chaplaincy program, an altar of the dead (pictured above) appeared for Día de Los Muertos (the “Day of the Dead”). Created by a group of students, staff, and faculty, under the leadership of Alma Ramon, our Administrative Assistant to Academic Program Heads and Human Resources Assistant, the altar became the center of our campus’s first celebration of the Mexican holiday.

Wanting to offer their support, a group of our monastic students attended an event at the altar on Friday, officially marking Día de Los Muertos, and together chanted the Heart Sutra. I managed to grab my phone and record it. You can see it below. As one of my colleagues said afterwards: “If that wasn’t East meets West, I don’t know what is…”

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