Tibetan Buddhist Monks Construction of the Sand Mandala Created by: Melissa Nogiewich (REL 140-01)
November 02, 2009 (10 am -11 am) The monks began the ceremony by sitting on chair cushions placed on the floor. They chanted montra (sounds like om amitabha hri). This was the beginning of worshiping the Dalai Lama. They worshiped to him in asking him to protect them. You can see the picture of the 14th Dalai Lama in the background of this picture.
The Tibetan monks began to outline the Sand Mandala on a blue mat. They first drew a precise line down the middle of the mat by using rulers. The monks then used a protractor to make a circle around the center point.
To the right, one will see the sand and the dyes that the monks will use in order to construct the Mandala. It was neat how it was arranged in an orderly fashion and how there were many colors. I have never seen anything like it. In this picture, one can see the circle that was drawn around the center. The monk on the bottom was counting (not in English) the sections they needed to include and how to divide it up. That was what I believed he was doing anyways.
The picture above shows the monks drawing crosses through the circle. In the picture on the left one can see the box they drew connecting everything. It looked as if they were pondering as to what the next step would be.
Here the monks are drawing inner circles and boxes. It is interesting to think about how they are constructing the Mandala with all modern tools (rulers, pencils, protractors) and how in the past these objects did not exist. The Tibetan monk here was selling Tibetan objects. All the proceeds would go to the monasteries for food, books, and medicine. These sold items include: scarves, clothing, bowels, jewelry, and etc.
Within 15 minutes you can see the progression of the outlining of circles and squares. The monks worked patiently and precisely getting the accurate measurements. Working, the monks sat on chair cushions as seen in this picture. As well, one can observe how the monks had their feet covered throughout the entire process.
Tibetan monks worked well together. They each did a part and helped each other along the way, it seemed. Beginning to outline the pencil outlines with permanent black marker. Drawing in the picture that they would be filling in later with sand.
Two more images of the outline of the Sand Mandala. One can see that even with the permanent marker, the monks made sure to make exact markings with the use of rules, meter sticks, and protractors.
November 05, 2009 (5 pm- 6 pm)Cultural Presentation and Yak Dance Translator who presented the history of Tibet and gave explanations as to what the monks would be showing the audience. Disclaimer: Pictures are a little blurry due to the lighting in Leedy with my camera. As well as the constant high level of movement of the monks. As well all the videos are my mine. I posted them onto YouTube for easier accessibility.
Left: The monks gathered around the picture of the Dalai Lama which can be seen in the background. They played instruments and bowed. In these pictures it depicts the offering of the mandal prayer. Buddhist monks praised and worshiped the Dalai Lama. Instruments included a drum, cymbals, and instruments that looked like a cross between a clarinet and a trumpet. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLVNDgwlZuw
Protection chant of the deity. This was a prayer to enhance the positive side of a person and to help remove the obstacles. A chant to the deity of Buddhism. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwjB73FH2XU
Tibetan debates take place from 9 -11 in the morning and 7-11 at night. This is were monks get a chance to question a belief or object while taking a stance and defending it on whether they believe it is a color or a form. These debates can last for hours. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kca8bLaok00
Debating while swinging the traditional headpiece around. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jemTmDmmdOg
Yak Dance: Two of the monks come out to the side of the stage and played the cymbals and drum. Here another monk comes out dressed in a costume. He dances around asking the audience if we had seen his yak. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLRlq9RmGXk
The yak appears from back stage. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bv6CRMg_LK0 The Tibetan monk asks the yak if he wishes to return to his home in Tibet since he, the yak, has not been there in a long time.
Comforting and talking to his yak. The monk tells the yak he did a good job after he picks up a white scarf off the floor with its horns. The yak and the Tibetan monk both dance around the stage. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHXhFDl72yc
November 06, 2009 (3 pm – 4 pm) Final hour of the construction of the Sand Mandala
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SuCK3aZlhHc Looking closely at their work.
Working on the border.
The monks worked crossed legged, in Indian style, as they bent forward putting all the great detail onto the creation.
Look at all the great details. It is shocking how this is all sand which is poured out of little tubes.
The Tibetan monks wore masks to prevent breathing in the fine sand as they worked quickly and effortlessly it seemed.
Students were checking out the cultural table as the monks were working diligently to finish the Mandala.
These pictures show the colored sand that the monks used. They sat again on the chair cushions. They also used the blue pillow to steady their arm and to prevent the sand from going everywhere.
The monks leaned back to see what else they had to complete.
The monks were working fast but carefully finishing up the boarder of the Mandala.
Getting close to being done. In the bottom picture the monk was putting the finishing touches onto the creation.
Some of the observers that were present for the last hour of construction and the closing ceremony.
The finished creation of the Sand Mandala after a week worth of work.
Closing Ceremony of the Sand Mandala The finished product before the Mandala was swept up to be dispersed into the water.
Dr. Sayers and another professor at Lebanon Valley College are presented with gifts of gratitude from the Tibetan Buddhist monks. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDgX_-BNikQ The monks worship and respect the Mandala as a tradition. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HguAtFXhHNw
The Tibetan Buddhist monk on the left was in the middle of bowing, showing respect to the Dalai Lama. This was the start of the closing ceremony in order to help spread the good (dharma) to the community. The purpose of life is to find inner peace. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uUvWf-5ZK0c http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ohe9MkDZyB4