in november 2012 we had a series of concerts with the tibetan monks of gyuto celebrating the release of our cd 'kailash' / during their stay, the monks created a beautiful sand mandala at the l'aura gallery in brussels / videast filipa cardoso filmed the entire creation process and you can now watch her film here
One of the richest visual objects in Tibetan Buddhism is the mandala.
A mandala is a symbolic picture of the universe, it represents an imaginary palace that is contemplated during meditation. Each object in the palace has significance, representing an aspect of wisdom or reminding the meditator of a guiding principle. The mandala's purpose is to help transform ordinary minds into enlightened ones and to assist with healing. According
to Buddhist scripture, mandalas constructed from sand transmit positive
energies to the environment and to the people who view them. They are believed to effect purification and healing.
The Sand Mandala is a Tibetan Buddhist tradition involving the creation and destruction of mandalas made from colored sand. A sand mandala is ritualisticallydestroyed once it has been completed and its accompanying ceremonies and viewing are finished to symbolize the Buddhist doctrinal belief in the transitory nature of material life. From all the artistic traditions of Tantric
Buddhism, it ranks as one of the most unique and exquisite. In Tibetan this art
is called dul-tson-kyil-khor, which literally means "mandala of colored powders." Millions of grains of sand are painstakingly laid into place on a flat platform over a period of days or weeks.
The Sand Mandala is regarded within Tibetan Buddhism as sacred and, until 40 years ago, was rarely seen outside the monasteries. Architectural in structure, their complex and richly coloured designs have remained unchanged for over 500 years, the skills and secret meanings passed faithfully down through the generations from teacher to student. The monks make these exquisite mandalas from memory, approaching the task within the framework of ancient ceremonial Tantric ritual, and bringing to theprocess extraordinary patience and concentration.
The sacred mandala contains deities, with the principal deity in the centre of the pattern. The deities who reside in the palace embody philosophical views and serve as role models. It is, in essence, a visualization tool, a symbol of a perfect world in which we are all perfect beings practicing the pure loving kindness and compassion that is innate in all living beings.
Constructing a sand mandala
there are many different designs of mandala, each with different lessons to teach. The process begins with an opening ceremony, during which the lamas consecrate the site and call forth the forces of goodness. The monks chant and dance in resplendent dress, and begin the work by drawing an outline of the mandala on the wooden platform, which requires the remainder of the day. The following days see the laying of the colored sands, which is effected by pouring the sand from traditional metal funnels called chak-pur. 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.Once the mandala is complete the monks ask for the deities' healing blessings during a ceremony. As the monks chant, it is dismantled, first by the removal of each of the deities represented in
the mandala and then with a 'dorje', the head lama cuts through the main lines,
thus cutting the energy of the mandala. The destruction of the mandala serves
as a reminder of the impermanence of life. The coloured sand is swept up into
an urn and dispersed into flowing water - a way of extending the healing powers
to the whole world, and a lesson about the impermanence of life.
The mandala construction process as it happened in Brussels,
14-18 november 2012
1) Opening Ceremony :14 november, from 10.00am
The monks begin by consecrating the site
of the mandala sand painting with chants, music, and mantra recitation.
2) Drawing of the Lines : 14 november, from 10.00.am
Immediately after 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.
3) Mandala Construction : 15-16-17 october, 10.00am-5.00pm
Throughout its creation, the monks pour
millions of grains of sand from traditional metal funnels called chakpur.
4) Mandala Completion : 18 october, from 10.00am
The monks conclude their creation of the
mandala with a consecration ceremony.
5) Dismantling the Mandala : 18 october, from 10.00am
During the closing ceremony, the monks
dismantle the mandala, sweeping up the colored sands to symbolize the
impermanence of all that exists. When requested, half of the sand is
distributed to the audience as blessings for personal health and healing.
6) Dispersal of the Sand : 18 october, from 10.00am
The remaining sand is carried in a
procession by the monks, accompanied by guests, to a flower garden, where it is ceremonially poured to disperse the healing energies of the mandala .
sources : www.bbc.co.uk/ www.wikipedia.com/ www.mysticalartsoftibet.org/ www.gyuto.va.com / www.gyutomonastery.com