Saturday, May 29, 2010

Creating A Sacred Sand Mandala

The colored sand to be used.

Early the first day, laying out the design.

Laying in the center of the mandala with colored sand.

This week a group of Tibetan monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery in India came to Bastyr University, where they spent five days creating and, ultimately, destroying a sacred sand mandala. The tradition honors impermanence of life.

Since this is near my home, I was able to stop by for a while on three days. My visits included the traditional opening and closing ceremonies, where the monks chanted and played instruments filling the air with rich sounds.

For five days the monks painstakingly laid millions of grains of sand into place in geometric shapes, containing a multitude of ancient spiritual symbols. Shortly after completion, the mandala was destroyed in a sacred ceremony as all the sand was swept into the center. Half went into an urn, and the remainder was distributed to the audience.

Then chanting, monks left the hall. They carried the urn to the lake. Once at the water's edge, the chanting began again and the sand was offered to the water in a ceremony with prayers for peace and healing the earth.

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