As part of Centre College’s upcoming bicentennial, Tibetan Buddhist monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery will construct a mandala sand painting in the Campus Center, Nov. 5-9 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“The monks’ visit to campus is a prime example of how global citizenship permeates every aspect of the Centre experience,” said Patrick Noltemeyer, chief planning officer and special assistant to the president. “Having them on campus will help build excitement for the celebration of the College’s 200th anniversary and educate our students, faculty and staff at the same time about the richness and depth of the Tibetan culture sphere, with hundreds of communities in China, India, Nepal, Bhutan and Central Asia.”
Painting with colored sand is one of the most unique and exquisite forms of art in the Tantric Buddhism culture.
In these pieces, millions of grains of sand are specifically placed on a flat platform over a period of days or weeks to form the image of a mandala. To date, the monks have created mandala sand paintings in more than 100 museums, art centers and colleges and universities in the U.S. and Europe.
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, and will be held on Nov. 5 at 11:30 a.m. in the Campus Center.
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 while running a metal rod on its grated surface. The vibration causes the sands to flow like liquid onto the platform.
The closing ceremony of the work will be held on Nov. 9 at 11:30 a.m. in the Campus Center.
Related events will be held throughout the week, as well, including a convocation on meditation for focus and stress relief on Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. in Newlin Hall. There will also be a lecture on Tibet today on Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. in the Ewen Meeting Room in the Campus Center.
“We are very fortunate to have the monks on campus to install this public art, and we hope it will inspire members of our campus community,” Noltemeyer concluded.
by Kerry Steinhofer
November 1, 2018
The photos used in this article were provided by the Mystical Arts of Tibet website.