Buddhist monks create a sand mandala
Mediha Fejzagic DiMartino, Staff Writer
Created: 08/16/2011 04:17:48 PM PDT
POMONA – Deep-voiced chants resonated amidst the hustle of a busy city, announcing the arrival of visitors from far away.Through Sunday, the Land of Enlightened Wisdom Center is hosting Buddhist monks from Gaden Jangtse Tsawa Monastery – one of the three main Buddhist monastic universities of Tibet.
In hopes of generating world peace and compassion, the monks will spend the week creating the Avalokiteshavara Sand Mandala – a sand painting depicting “portraits of the celestial mansions of enlightened beings.”
During Tuesday’s opening ceremony, the monks performed ritual chanting and invocations, and then started filling the round pattern with fine sand grains of various colors.
Valorie Thomas of Pomona came to the center to celebrate the monks visit.
“I’ve seen a mandala before, but I never actually seen the process from the beginning,” Thomas said. “To me, a mandala represents the artistry, the philosophy and the impermanence. It’s sand and it will be gone.
“It reminds us that there are good things, beauty in our lives which we sometimes take for granted that it will be there forever. It’s a hard lesson but a very loving way to demonstrate it.”
The monks chose Avalokiteshavara, the compassionate Buddha, since the sixth month of the Tibetan lunar calendar corresponds to the month of August in the Western calendar, according to Dr. Geshe Dorji Wangchuk, one of the seven monks.
The public is invited to
watch the intricate process every day until Saturday, from 9 a.m to 5 p.m.At 10 a.m. Sunday, the monks will hold the concluding ceremony, dismantling the sand mandala and tossing the sand into Puddingstone Reservoir at Bonelli Regional Park in San Dimas, “to bless the local environment,” Wangchuk said.
Visitors are encouraged to follow the monks to the site.
During their year-long tour through the United States, monks are hoping to raise funds for Tsawa Khangtsen, a part of Gaden Monastery, which serves the Himalayan regions of Tibet, India’s Arunachal Pradesh, Bhutan, Ladakh and Nepal.
Tsawa Khangtsen houses more than 400 monks, while its prayer hall can only accommodate 200.
At daily, gatherings more than half of the monks have to remain outside, monastery officials said. The money raised by the monks will help the monastery complete their new prayer hall.
The monks will also be available to perform blessings, ritual ceremonies and special prayers at private homes, or places of business.
Land of Enlightened Wisdom is at 1317 N. Park Ave.