The Buddhist lamas of the Drepung Loseling Monastery are creating an intricate, traditional sand mandala at The American Theater in Hampton, VA. This is their 13th annual visit.
The lamas consecrated the site for the mandala at the opening ceremony with chants and music on Tuesday, July 31, at 7 pm.
The lama-artists are creating their sacred art, a White Tara mandala, on the stage of the theater. The public is invited to observe, 10 am - 6 pm, through Aug. 3.
White Tara is the Tibetan Buddhist diety of protection, the embodiment of motherly love and compassion.
After constructing a chalk line drawing, the artist-monks "paint" the five-foot square mandala with brightly colored sand. Millions of grains of sand are carefully positioned through the use of metal funnels and scrapers, amidst a meditative environment provided by a CD of overtone chanting.
Drummer Connie Ralston, volunteering at the event, shows visitors how to use the materials to participate in the community sand mandala.
I tried my hand at adding blue curliques to a white cloud on the community mandala.
The public is invited to the closing ceremony, 2 pm, Sunday Aug 5. The completed mandala will be ritualistically deconstructed as a symbol of of the impermanence of life.
A portion of the sacred sand will be distributed to the audience, and the rest will be carried in a procession to a nearby source of water, to be returned to the earth as a blessing to the world.
On previous US tours the lamas have displayed this sacred art in museums across the country, including the Arthur Sackler Gallery, Washington; Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago; Peabody Essex Museum, Salem; the Indianapolis Art Museum, Indianapolis; Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, and The Provincial Museum of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.
Sponsor, actor Richard Gere, notes, "The Mystical Arts of Tibet tours, put together by Drepung Loseling and Richard Gere Productions, have accomplished extraordinary things, not only in America but also around the world. The production by the monk-artists of Drepung Loseling Monastery is both highly professional and beautiful, and expresses the purity and sophistication of the Tibetan sacred performing arts. I am deeply honored to be associated with it."
These events are taking place at:
The Charles H. Taylor Arts Center's American Theater
125 East Mellen Street, Hampton, VA 23663
UPCOMING EVENTS WITH THE MONKS:
Thursday August 2, 10am - 6pm: Construction of the Mandala - Free"-
Friday August 3, 10am - 6pm: Construction of the Mandala - Free
Saturday August 4, 10am- 4pm (All day workshop, $50 fee):"-The Healing Power of Compassion: Insights from the Convergence of Modern Science and Buddhist Science of Mind Led by Geshe Lobsang Tenzin Negi
Sunday August 5, 12 Noon: Lecture: The Symbolism of the Mandala- Free
Sunday August 5, 2pm: Closing Ceremonies and procession to the water.
Mystical Arts of Tibet, "Mandala Sand Painting." http://www.mysticalartsoftibet.org/Mandala.htm#top Accessed 08 01 12.
White Tara Thangkas http://nepalscraft.com/productdetails.asp?productid=536 Accessed 08 01 12.
See Buddhist Monks build a sand mandala. Emory.edu click here; Accessed 08 01 12.
The partnership between Emory University and the Drepung Loseling Monastery http://tibet.emory.edu Accessed 08 01 12.