Tibetan Monk Makes Sand Mandala At Univ Of Montana

October 23, 2009

Author: Carmen George

Source: The Buddhist Channel


Thin lines of colored sand trickled from the end of a silver instrument resembling a narrow funnel held by Tibetan Buddhist monk Venerable Ngawang Chojor.

Outside the bustle of the UC Market Thursday, Chojor worked silently on a “compassion” mandala, an ancient circular art design made from colored sand, with a small gathering of students huddled around him.

“It quiets you for a while,” said Valerie Hellermann, program manager of Helena’s non-profit Tibetan Children’s Education Foundation which brought Chojor to UM. “There are certain powers in symbols. He’s making this in the process of meditation and prayer for the compassion of human beings and I think I feel that energy.”

The mandala symbolizes universal qualities like harmony and balance, traditionally created by Tibetan Buddhists as a kind of meditation and healing. Chojor has been working on UM’s mandala since Wednesday and will offer a blessing to the campus upon it’s destruction at 4 p.m. Friday in the UC South Atrium. Traditionally, most of these sand paintings are destroyed shortly after completion to represent the impermanence of life. The sand is then returned to the natural world so the ideas the mandala represents can spread throughout the world.