Tibetan Mandala

Recently, on my daily afternoon walk, I gazed down the street and thought I was seeing an illusion. We occasionally get some interesting characters, but a Tibetan monk on Isle of Hope? Long story short, it was a Tibetan monk. Gary Butch, from Elizabeth’s on 37th, is working to help raise money to help build a clean water system at the Drepung Loseling Monastery in India (www.drepung.org for more information). A group of monks were staying at his home on Isle of Hope while they were working on a Tibetan Mandala. The Mandala sand painting creates a sacred space around the area of the painting. There is an opening ceremony with chanting, of which you see a photo, and a closing ceremony, after the work is completed. This Mandala took 6 monks a total of 8 days to complete. You can see the monks using long cylindrical metal cones to precisely “paint the picture” with grains of colored sand. During the closing ceremony, the sand is placed in a box and wrapped in silk. The sand is then dumped into a river, signifying the transitory nature of material things. Speaking of Tibetan tradition, one of my favorite quotes is from His Holiness The Dali Lama. “As human beings we all want to be happy and free from misery…We have learned that the key to happiness is inner peace. The greatest obstacles to inner peace are disturbing emotions such as anger, attachment, fear and suspicion, while love and compassion and a sense of universal responsibility are the sources of peace and happiness.”

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All photos copyright  Dan Biggerstaff Photography. All rights reserved © 2011.