Mystical Arts of Tibet: Buddhist Monks Return to Salisbury University
One of the best parts of going off to college is having the opportunity to learn about new traditions, cultures, and experiences of people from all around the world.
That remains true at Salisbury University, where it welcomed 11 Tibetan Buddhist monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery to create a sand mandala on campus this week. This marks the sixth year that the popular attraction has returned.
Mandala is a Sanskrit word that means “sacred cosmogram,” representing the universe. In a process that takes 5 days, the monks use colored sand to craft a breathtaking piece of art, in the form of a shape. This year’s shape is the Akshobhya, or “Unshakeable Victor.” This process represents conflict resolution and world peace.
The idea behind it is we believe that whatsoever unfolds on us has to do with how we balance a state of mind,” said Geshe Loden, one of the monks. “We believe Buddhist state of mind is purified from all unhealthy emotions and therefore what unfolds around them is perfect in every aspect.”
The painting starts with an opening ceremony where the site is consecrated. This is done through chanting, music, and mantra recitation. This is also where the process of the painting begins. The monks draw the outline of the mandala followed by laying down the colored sands. They start with a smooth, clean slate, draw the lines, and layer the sand section by section.
What makes this more interesting is that after the mandala is completed, it is destroyed! This is done as a metaphor representing the impermanence of life. The sands will then be placed in an urn. Half of them will be distributed to the audience during the closing ceremony, while the remainder will be carried to the Salisbury City Park and dispersed to the water at the Bandstand for planetary healing.
This event is free and open to the public, so if you’d like to attend, it’s at the Great Hall at Salisbury University from March 13 – 17. You can also watch the mandala being created in real time here.
Click here for the full schedule of events.