Surfing has had a longstanding association with spirituality, often being talked about in terms of Zen — after all, it’s pretty much impossible to think about anything but the present moment when you’re riding a wave. This association seems now to have been fully embodied by some of the monks of Gyuto Monastery, a “traditional community of 500 monks in New Ramoche Monastery in Sidbhari, Dharamsala in Northern India, home to His Holiness the Dalai Lama for the past 57 years.”
If the name “Gyuto Monks” sounds familiar, that’s because of their famed chanting — one of their LPs was even Grammy-nominated. But now will the Gyuto Monks be known for their surfing chops, too?
The Gyuto Monks have been doing annual retreats at Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia since 2008, when they assisted with a visit from the Dalai Lama. They’re there again right now, and will be until the 24th, in conjunction with a photographic exhibition called “Mindful Practice – Gyuto Monks Summer Retreat” by Tobi Wilkinson. Their site says, “No need to book in advance for most events just drop in to participate.”
Are these actual monks surfing? We’re waiting for confirmation on that. Though it wouldn’t be a first: we have been aware, in the past, of (for example) the Australian activities of Geshe Sonam Thargye, a monk and surfer who likens the sport to meditation.