As part of their United States Tour, the Gaden Shartse Monks will be at L’Auberge creating a beautiful and sacred Green Tara sand mandala from Friday May 26 through Friday June 2.
The mandala takes days of effort, completed by several monks at a time, including several Mandala Masters. Throughout the day, the public will be invited to observe the creation in process, as a team of monks take part in this ancient ritual of building an intricate sacred sand painting.
The creation of a sand Mandala is one of the most ancient and revered Tibetan traditions. Mandala means literally “world in harmony.” According to Buddhist scripture, sand mandalas transmit positive energies to the environment and to the people who view them. A tradition dating back over a thousand years, these specially trained monks use metal tubes filled with colored sand, creating a detailed, two-dimensional sand painting. Prayers are said throughout the making of the mandala.
Mandalas formed from sand are unique to Tibetan Buddhism and are believed to effect purification and healing. The Monks begin construction of the sand mandala by consecrating the site with sacred chants and music. Over a number of days, they fill in the design with millions of grains of colored sand. While constructing a mandala, Buddhist monks chant and meditate to invoke the divine energies of the deities residing within the mandala. The monks then ask for the deities’ healing blessings. At its completion, the mandala is blessed. The blessed sand is swept up with small portions offered to those present. The rest will be taken to Oak Creek where, after a short ceremony, it will be poured into the water to bless and purify the environment and all beings.
It is estimated that 80 hours or more will go into the making of the upcoming sand mandala. As you can see in the photos, it is a focused art form requiring the monks to bend over the table. Due to this we have scheduled a few short days in the mix. The Tibetan sand mandala is characterized by its highly-detailed design and rich colors. Representing a cosmic map of a specific spiritual universe, it’s symbols hold deep layers of esoteric meaning. Used as a sacred object of meditation, the sand mandala symbolizes impermanence or the transitory nature of our material world.
The Green Tara of Compassion is the mandala that will be created at L’Auberge. Green Tara, a female Buddha, is one of the most revered figures in Tibetan Buddhism. Considered the “Goddess of Universal Compassion,” Green Tara represents compassion in action. She is most often seen with her left leg folded beneath her in a meditation posture, her right leg extended. From a foundation of meditative ease, she is ready to spring quickly into action for the benefit of all beings. Green Tara has become a role model for living an engaged, heart centered spiritual life in our modern times. She calls us to action by her example.
On an artistic level, the mandala is created with extreme detail and studied precision to produce a stunning visual effect. The sand is not an easy medium to work. They lay each grain of sand down with purpose of creating a larger vibrant vision. The making of the sand mandala is a culturally expanding opportunity to watch a centuries old art form being created today.
The Mandala will be in progress during the following times:
- Friday, May 26 – 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. (11 a.m. Opening Blessing)
- Saturday, May 27 – 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
- Sunday, May 28 – 10a.m. – noon
- Monday, May 29 – 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
- Tuesday, May 30 – 2 p.m. -5 p.m.
- Wednesday, May 31 – 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
- Thursday, June 1 – 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
- Friday, June 2 – 2:30 pm Closing Ceremony