Tibetan monks to create sand mandala at WFU

By Pam Barrett
November 7, 2005

Four Buddhist monks will visit Wake Forest University Nov. 15-17 and create a sand mandala in the third floor atrium of Benson University Center. The visit is part of the Shiwa Tour of Peace and Healing, a cultural tour highlighting the practices and methods of Tibetan monks.

Monks work on a sand mandala.

The monks, who are from the Sera Jey Monastery in southern India, are experts in chanting, traditional arts and Buddhist philosophy. They will perform an opening ceremony of consecration, chanting, music and mantra recitation at 10 a.m. Nov. 15. They will then work on the mandala between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily for three days. The event will conclude with a closing ceremony at 3 p.m. Nov. 17 in which the mandala will be carefully destroyed, a traditional practice that underscores the impermanent nature of all things. The public is welcome to attend both ceremonies and observe the creation of the mandala. Admission is free.

Shiwa monks are committed to bringing peace to their own minds and to the world through compassionate and wise thoughts, speech and actions.

A mandala is a symbolic, circular graphic representation of a Buddist deity's realm of existence and serves as a focus for meditative practice. Sand, traditionally made from crushed precious colored stones is used to create the intricate design. During the process, each grain of sand is charged with the blessings of the ritual process. The purpose of the Shiwa Tour is to raise funds for several building projects, including a new dormitory at the Sera Jey Monastery and a city center for Kadampa Center, a Tibetan Buddhist center for study and practice in Raleigh.

The program is sponsored by Wake Forest's religion department and the Pro Humanitate Center, a project of the Lilly Endowment.

For more information, call 336-758-4191.