sand mandalas

Meditative stream of images in ‘Samsara’ raises questions

“Samsara,” a dazzlingly beautiful documentary directed by Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson, consists of a non-narrative stream of images shot in 25 countries. It is best enjoyed as a kind of meditation, writes Seattle Times movie critic Moira Macdonald in this review. The film is playing at Seattle’s Cinerama.

Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson’s stream-of-images documentary “Samsara” floats by, its pictures piling up like turned pages in a magazine. Shot in 70mm and playing on Cinerama’s massive screen, it’s often dazzlingly beautiful — a shot of clouds erupting like cotton over a volcano; a massive church whose windows are a candy-colored kaleidoscope of stained …

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Tibetan monks at Musikfest to make mandalas, meditate and chant for world peace

wildmind meditation news

Sienna Mae Heath, Lehigh Valley, PA: Monks at Musikfest will set the tone for a peaceful yet energetic festival this year.

The Tibetan monks of the Drepung Loseling Monastery will perform for several days, starting with a mandala sand painting ceremony noon Thursday at Handwerkplatz and ending with the closing ceremony 6:30 p.m. Aug. 6 when the monks will hand out half of the sacred sand to audience members and then pour the other half into a nearby body of water to spread its healing properties throughout the world.

The monks will make a mandala design out of millions of grains of colored sand during the mandala sand …

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Tibetan Buddhist monks focus on sand – and sea

Southwest Florida residents have the chance to see something few westerners ever get the opportunity to see — the creation and blessing of a sand mandala by a group of Buddhist monks.

Throughout the week, the group of five Tibetan monks will be at Unity of Naples building the Chenrezig mandala one grain of colored sand at a time.

Once complete, the sand painting will be blessed and ritually dissolved to symbolize the impermanence of life.

“This is the first time I’ve seen this being done live,” said Susanna Tocco, 36, of Naples. “It’s amazing — the precision, the patience. It’s …

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Toddler’s dance destroys monks’ intricate sand painting

toddler destroys mandala

Destroyed sand mandala (Inset: security footage of toddler running over the mandala)

Thanks to Dave Csonka for passing this along:

Talk about a test of faith.

Eight Tibetan monks spent two days cross-legged on the floor at Union Station, leaning over to meticulously create an intricate design of colored sand as an expression of their Buddhist faith. They were more than halfway done.

And then, within seconds, their work was destroyed by a toddler.

Monks are bald, so they couldn’t rip their hair out. But were they angry? Did they curse?

No. They simply smiled and started over.

“No problem,” said Geshe Lobsang Sumdup, leader of the group from the Drepung Gomang Monastery in southern India.

The whole story is at KansasCity.com (archived copy).

These sand mandalas are intended to be demonstrations of — and trainings in — impermanence anyway. Monks spend days making very elaborate patterns by pouring sand, and then they ritually destroy the image, often pouring the sand into water. So that Lama Sumdup was unfazed by the artwork’s premature demise was a sign that the practice was working as planned.

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Monks bring wisdom to Lichfield (ic Birmingham, UK)

ic Birmingham (UK): In the chapter house of Lichfield Cathedral two Tibetan monks are sitting cross-legged on chairs scooping coloured sand from pots and tapping it onto a table to create a vibrant, geometric pattern. A third is curled up asleep on the floor.

This is not the only incongruous image created by these shaven-headed, ruby-robed chaps who are visiting Lichfield this week. They have also been spotted dancing around the cathedral close and visiting children at a school in Nechells, Birmingham.

Monks from the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery in Southern India are taking part in the Lichfield Festival as part of a five month tour of Britain.

“The reason for coming to England is to bring our culture to the West,” said Kachen Lobsang, though an interpreter.

“We want to show the people here about the existence of Tibetan Buddhism.

“It is important that we explain about the religious culture of Tibet because the culture is being destroyed. It is being wiped out. ”

The Tashi Lhunpo Monastery was founded in 1447 by the first Dalai Lama in Shigatse, the second largest city in Tibet.

By 1959, there were 5,000 monks there and another 2,000 affiliated to it outside Tibet. However, the Chinese occupation and Cultural Revolution of 1966 wrecked the great monasteries and in 1972, under the patronage of the present Dalai Lama, the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery was re-established in the Southern Indian state of Karnataka.

Today some 250 monks live in the monastery, preserving their Tibetan culture and monastic tradition in exile. They visit Britain every two years.

“We have found the schools and students very interested in our culture,” said Lobsang, who was also taking part in a concert with his monks in the cathedral on Tuesday night.

“People who have seen us before, come back to hear us every two years.”

Tibetan Buddhism is undoubtedly one of the more colourful styles of the religion.

Unlike some schools of Buddhism in which all that is needed is a comfortable stool upon which to meditate, the Tibetan culture is rich in hues and deities.

A good example of this is the sand mandala that the monks are creating all week in the chapter house of the cathedral.

Over a period of five or six days, the monks painstakingly pick up coloured sand in a metal cylinder and then gently tap the cylinder, dropping the sand in a particular place on the table.

The sand is made from marble, which is then dyed by the monks, though traditionally lapis-lazuli would be used to make blue sand and rubies would be used to make the red and so on.

The mandala is a geometric pattern or design enclosed in a circle, which represents the celestial mansion of one or more of the deities. Each element of the design is highly symbolic.

The mandala being made in the chapter house this week, is known as the Mitrukpa mandala. At the heart of it is the Mitrukpa Buddha, represented by a thunderbolt, which is placed on the lotus throne, attended by the sun and moon.

“The different deities are represented by symbols because there is not enough space to draw the whole figure,” said Lobsang.

“We make the mandalas as a form of prayer. They are for visualisation. When you receive the initiation of a certain mandala, the priest, or lama, is letting you visual certain deities.”

The idea is that through being able to visual the deities, the monks develop their qualities.

The two monks making the mandala in the chapter house were referring to a coloured picture to show them were to paint the sand, but Lobsang – who has the equivalent of a PhD in Tibetan Buddhism – knows the intricate pattern by heart.

Before a monk begins practising using the technique for placing the sand, he has to first learn the meaning of the symbols.

White for example, is always placed at the East side of a mandala, so he will study the East and its significance before he can put down the white sand.

“Once the mandala has been completed the head monk calls on the deities and asks them to enter the mandala,” said Lobsang.

When the deities are present, the monks ask for their help in achieving their wishes and prayers.

“Then there is a closing ceremony when the deities are asked to take their leave and the mandala is destroyed to symbolise the impermanence of everything in the world. Everything, beautiful or ugly comes to an end,” he said.

Lobsang said he was particularly delighted to be making the mandala in the cathedral.

“We are very pleased to be in such an old and big and beautiful cathedral. We have been coming to England every two years and we have seen a lot of cathedrals from the outside but this is the first time we’ve made a mandala inside.”

Doubtless when the deities are asked to arrive, they will feel just as at home there.

l The monks will be making the mandala in the chapter house until Saturday.

l For further details of the Lichfield Festival go to www.LichfieldFestival.org

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