I’m finally getting around to write about the mandala sand painting from last summer.
Six visiting monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery came to my little town to create a sand painting using millions of grains of sand. The event took place at our library in town over a 5 day period, from the end of July to the beginning of August.
There are 6 steps to the process (info for the 2 steps taken from the mandala sand painting poster displayed during the event).
Step 1: Opening Ceremony ~ The ceremony consisted of chants, music, and a mantra recitation for blessing the site to make it conducive for creating the mandala.
Step 2: Drawing of the Lines ~ During this step, the monks drew the line design for the mandala based on sacred geometry as presented in the ancient scriptures. It takes about 3 hours to complete the drawing. I missed steps 1 & 2.
Step 3: Mandala Construction ~ The monks poured millions of grains of sand from traditional metal funnels called chakpur to create the mandala. This step lasted 5 days.
Step 4: Mandala Completion ~ During the closing ceremony, the monks performed a consecration ceremony to request the continuous blessings of the invoked deities of the mandala.
Step 5: Dismantling of the Mandala ~ During the closing ceremony, the monks dismantled the mandala by sweeping up the colored sands to symbolize the impermanence of all that exists. They also distributed some of the sand in tiny bags as blessings for personal health and healing.
Step 6: Dispersal of the Sand ~ During this final step, the remaining sand was carried in a procession by the monks down to the Yampa River behind the library where it was ceremonially poured to disperse the healing energies of the mandala throughout the world. Steps 4-6 all took place during the final evening of the 5 day event.