RICHMOND, Va. — The meticulous construction of a sand mandala by Tibetan monks concludes with a ceremony on Sunday, August 14. The colorful grains of sand will be swept up and find their way into the James River, charged with meditation and positive blessings for the world to receive.
Tibetan Monks of the Drepung Loseling Monastery have been working on a highly-detailed sand mandala at the Virginia Holocaust Museum, since August 10.
Local tattoo artist Amy Black, a practicing Buddhist who recently met His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, arranged to bring the monks here.
“Their kind, positive spirits, and energy are unsurpassed and I have always loved their sand mandalas, they inspire me and bring such happiness and awe,” Black said, and added, “bringing a group like this to Richmond has been a big dream of mine for a while and I am ecstatic to see this dream finally coming true.
Starting at 6 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday, the monks will lead a 20-minute evening meditation.
“I think in today’s hectic environment everyone will enjoy the peaceful, creative and spiritual atmosphere the monks bring,” Black said. “The rare opportunity to meditate with these experienced people will be a treat.”
She explained that the mandala is made with powerful positive intentions and compassion and the culmination of the event the mandala is gathered together and spread into the world. This traditionally includes releasing it into a local waterway to let the prayers and good intentions release into nature for everyone.
Schedule of events for the Mystic Arts of Tibet Tour:
August 10: Opening ceremony at noon. Chanting and laying out the mandala. Then creation of the mandala will happen until 6 p.m., with public mediation and chanting at 6 p.m.
August 11: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., making the sand mandala. Public meditation and chanting at 6 p.m. At 7 p.m. there will be a public lecture on meditation.
August 12: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., making the sand mandala. Public meditation and chanting at 6 p.m.
August 13: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., making the sand mandala. Public meditation and chanting at 6 p.m. At 2 p.m. there will be a public lecture on “Symbolism of the Mandala.”
August 14: 10 a.m.to noon, viewing the mandala. Closing ceremony begins at 1 p.m. There will be chanting and dissolution of the entire mandala. Small packets of the sand will be handed out to the audience (it is not guaranteed all attendees will get sand, but they we will do their best).
Then the remaining sand will be deposited into the James River at the Canal Walk, at 3 p.m. at the Turning Basin. All the positive blessings of the event are sent out to the world in this ceremony.
The museum is located at 2000 E. Cary Street. There will be Buddhist items for sale and a public sand mandala for community participation.