Six Tibetan Buddhist monks of the Labrang Tashi Kyil Monastery in Dehradun, India, will return to the University of Notre Dame to create a sacred peace sand mandala, a painting of colored sands considered the most unique and exquisite artistic tradition of Buddhism.
The monks will construct the mandala each day this week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a one-hour closing ceremony to be held at 10 a.m. Friday (Sept. 28). Members of the public as well as the Notre Dame campus community are welcome to visit and watch the progress of the mandala throughout the week.
The Tibetan art form, called dul-tson-kyil-khor or “mandala of colored powders,” represents the cycle of life — creation, the beauty of existence and its impermanence, and the return to the natural world for creation again. The monks will create the mandala in the First Floor Reading Room at the Jordan Hall of Science.
“Continuing the ecumenical monastic tradition begun between Thomas Merton and the Dalai Lama, we have invited the monks to reflect on the common goal of compassion among all religious traditions and philosophies in the response to suffering,” said Dominic Vachon, director of the Ruth M. Hillebrand Center for Compassionate Care in Medicine, which is co-sponsoring the event with Notre Dame International.
At the conclusion of the intricate process, the colored sands will be swept up to symbolize the impermanence of all that exists. A portion of the sand will be given to guests and the remainder carried in a procession by the monks to a flowing body of water, where it will be ceremonially poured to disperse the healing energies of the mandala throughout the world.
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