Over the course of a three-day residency, the Tibetan monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery created a sand mandala at the Collis Center. The lamas started their work by drawing an outline of the mandala on a wooden platform. Next, the monks began laying millions of grains of colored sands on the platform by pouring the sand from traditional metal funnels called chak-pur. Each monk holds a chak-pur in one hand, while running a metal rod on its grated surface; the vibration causes the sands to flow like liquid.
During their residency, a community sand-painting was created next to the monks' sand mandala. Campus and community members participated in the creation of the painting with some gentle guidance from the monks.
On the Saturday evening of their residency, the monks performed "The Mystical Arts of Tibet" in which they performed ancient temple music and mystical masked dances drawn from sacred festivals.
Traditionally most sand mandalas are destroyed shortly after their completion. This is done as a metaphor of the impermanence of life. At the closing ceremony, the sands were swept up and placed in an urn; to fulfill the function of healing, half was distributed to the audience, while the remainder was carried to the Connecticut River, where it was deposited. The waters carry the healing blessing to the ocean, and from there it spreads throughout the world for planetary healing.
Photos by Kawakahi Amina