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Tibetan Monks Return to SU March 11-15

Tibetan Monks Return to SU March 11-15

By SU Public Relations

SALISBURY, MD---For the eighth time, Tibetan monks from the famed Drepung Loseling Institute, with blessings from His Holiness the Dalai Lama, are in residence at SU Monday-Friday, March 11-15.

During their visit, the monks construct an elaborate sand mandala, a meditational tool, which they believe brings purification and healing. Completed in the Great Hall of Holloway Hall, the painstaking ritual involves millions of grains of colored sand laid out in a complex pattern. The public is invited to view the entire process and observe part of its ceremonies, as well as attend associated lectures and dinners.

Events include:

  • Opening ceremony and drawing of the lines – Monday, March 11, noon: The monks begin by consecrating the site of the mandala sand painting with approximately 30 minutes of chants, music and mantra recitation. Immediately following the opening ceremony, the monks start drawing the line design for the mandala. This is very exacting work that takes about three hours to complete. Construction begins immediately following drawing of the lines.
  • Mandala Construction – Monday, March 11, noon-7 p.m.; Tuesday-Thursday, March 12-14, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Friday, March 15, 10 a.m.-noon: Following the drawing of the lines, the monks lay on the colored sands, which is affected by pouring the sand from traditional metal funnels called “chak-purs.” 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. The finished mandala is approximately 5 feet by 5 feet.
  • Completed construction viewing, Friday, March 15, noon 
  • Mandala consecration, closing ceremony and dispersal ceremony, Friday, March 15, 2 p.m.: The monks dismantle the mandala, sweeping up the colored sands to symbolize the impermanence of all that exists. Half of the sand is distributed to the audience as blessings for personal health and healing. Immediately following the closing ceremony, the remaining sand is carried in a procession by the monks, accompanied by guests, to a flowing body of water at the Salisbury City Park, where it is ceremonially poured to disperse the healing energies.

Associated events:

  • Monday, March 11, 7 p.m. – “The Meaning of the Mandala” lecture: The mandala is a sacred cosmogram used as an object of contemplation. It depicts the pure nature of the world in which we live as well as how we can live most effectively. By creating a sand mandala, we bring the creative energy of that sacred dimension into our lives and attune ourselves to this natural perfection.
  • Tuesday, March 12, 4:30-7:30 p.m. – “A Taste of Tibet” dinner, Commons dining hall: A dinner in honor of the monks and their visit is served in the Commons. The menu includes Tibetan pork loin stir fry, vegetable dumplings, barley pilaf, curry root vegetables and more. Cost is $15.75 for adults, $8.45 for youth age 4-11 and free for children 3 and under.
  • Wednesday, March 13, 7 p.m. – “Meditation for Focus and Stress Relief” lecture: Meditation is an important technique for quieting the mind and establishing an inner basis of clarity and wellbeing. It allows us to relax from within the core of our spirit and better understand the processes that make up our lives. Some meditative techniques aim at strengthening inner qualities that are important life forces; others aim at eliminating inner negativities and habitual patterns.

Sponsored by the Office of Cultural Affairs, admission is free unless otherwise noted, and the public is invited. For more information call 410-548-3586.

Those planning to park on campus must register in advance for a free parking pass.

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