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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

Tibetan Buddhist monks to construct mandala sand painting Oct. 21-24

October 16, 2009
October 14th, 2009

Lincoln, Neb., Oct 14, 2009 -- Once again,
Tibetan Buddhist monks from Drepung Loseling
Monastery will construct a mandala sand painting
at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Lentz Center for Asian Culture.

The construction will begin with an opening
ceremony at 11 a.m. Oct. 21 and continue through
Oct. 24. The monks will work 11 a.m.-4 p.m. daily
and conduct a closing ceremony at 2 p.m. Oct. 24.
The event is free and open to the public at the
Lentz Center, 1155 Q St., lower level of the Hewit Place Building.

Of all the artistic traditions of Tantric
Buddhism, painting with crushed marble, called
sand painting, is one of the most entrancing.
Tiny grains of marble are placed on a flat
surface to form the mandala. A mandala is a
cosmic diagram that shows the deities'
relationships to one another. Mandalas are also
painted, sculpted and created in architectural
form. They are all oriented to the four
directions. Mandalas can be dedicated to many
different deities. This particular mandala will
be dedicated to Manjusri, the Bodhisattva of
Wisdom. A Bodhisattva is one who has attained
enlightenment but stays behind to help others.
Manjusri is a favorite of students and scholars
and usually carries a book and a sword to cut
through ignorance. Mandalas are used by Buddhist
practitioners to help rid themselves of negative emotions.

The lamas begin the opening ceremony with the
consecration of the site and a call for the
forces of goodness. This is done by means of
chanting, music and mantra recitation. Then the
lamas begin the exhibit by drawing an outline of
the mandala on the wooden platform. On the
following days they lay the color. Each monk
holds a traditional metal funnel called a
chak-pur while running a metal rod on its grated
surface. The vibration causes the sands to flow like liquid.

Traditionally, most sand mandalas are destroyed
shortly after their completion. This is done as a
metaphor for the impermanence of life. The sands
are swept up and placed in an urn. To fulfill the
function of healing, half is distributed to the
audience at the closing ceremony, while the
remainder is carried to a nearby body of water,
where it is deposited. The waters then carry the
healing blessing to the ocean and from there it
spreads throughout the world for planetary healing.

The monks have created Mandala sand paintings in
more than 100 U.S. museums, and interest and
attendance records continue to increase. The
mandala at the Lentz Center is co-sponsored by the University Honors Program.
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