Tibetan Buddhist Monks Brought the Lessons of Mandala Sand Painting to Loomis Chaffee, United-States
Tuesday 20 April 2010
Monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery completed a four day stay and demonstration of Mandala Sand Painting for the Loomis Chaffee community.
The sand paintings- meticulously produced by hand over a period days or longer serve multiple purpose in buddhist practices.
The sand paintings serve as cosmograms, with multiple levels of allegory and meaning- from the profane to the sacred.
“…On the outer level they represent the world in its divine form; on the inner level they represent a map by which the ordinary human mind is transformed into enlightened mind; and on the secret level they depict the primordially perfect balance of the subtle energies of the body and the clear light dimension of the mind. The creation of a sand painting is said to effect purification and healing on these three levels.
The mandala sand painting begins with an opening ceremony, during which the lamas consecrate the site and call forth the forces of goodness. This is done by means of chanting, music and mantra recitation.
The lamas begin the exhibit by drawing an outline of the mandala on the wooden platform. On the following days they lay the colored sands. Each monk holds a traditional metal funnel called a chakpur purpurpur while running a metal rod on its grated surface. The vibration causes the sands to flow like liquid onto the platform…” (Mandala Sand Painting Complete, Loomis Chaffee School)
To demonstrate the fleeting nature of life and the interconnections of the physical world, sand mandalas are destroyed- their sands shared with others and returned to the earth via water.
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