A group of Tibetan monks is visiting the United States and spending time in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
The six monks are part of the Gaden Shartse Monastery in India. They are traveling across the country spreading the word about their culture and raising money for their monastery.
They ate at the Lovin' Oven restaurant in Frenchtown, Hunterdon County, New Jersey Wednesday afternoon where they spoke with people.
"They are very, very humble, very down to earth, even with this deep spiritual wisdom that they have," said Rev. Bob Janis-Dillon with First Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Hunterdon County, which is hosting the monks while they are in the area. "I think it's such a great treat. You see them at first and there's these red robes and they seem so different and foreign and then you get to talking with them and they're just people like you and me and they're just wonderful and sweet."
Maggie Cooke was in the restaurant eating lunch and had her three-week-old baby, Beatrice, with her. She asked the monks to bless Beatrice.
"It was very, very serene, actually. I had tears in my eyes. It was beautiful," said Cooke. "I'd like to expose her to a lot of different cultures, different religions, this is just a beautiful way to bless a new baby."
One of the monks, Jampa Lobsang, explained some of what they do at their monastery.
"We spend a lot of time learning Buddhism and in the morning from 5 we have morning prayer for two hours and after we do debating on Buddhist philosophy," he said.
"We give all the food, shelter, education, health care, all of these monks for free for whole life so we need some funds to continue the whole monastery," he went on to explain.
Other areas they are visiting in this region include Flemington, New Jersey and New Hope, Pennsylvania.
Find more information about their schedule in this area here: http://hunterdonuu.org/monks/
Find more information about the Gaden Shartse Monastery here: http://www.gadenshartseculturalfoundation.org/Gaden%20Shartse%20Tour%20Programs.htm
Allentown, PA 18102