I walked over to the Pacific Asia Museum this morning for a Blessing Ceremony by Tibetan Buddhist monks from the Drepung Loseling Phukhang Monastery. The ceremony initiated the start of the making of a sand mandala which the monks will be working on for the next 5 days. On Sunday afternoon, the monks will have a Dissolution Ceremony during which they will sweep away the mandala and distribute the sand to everyone present.

I loved hearing the monks chant and sing. I learned that the two instruments used during the ceremony are a bell and a dorje or vajra. The bell is traditionally held in the left hand and symbolizes the female and wisdom, while the dorje is held in the right and symbolizes the male and the “thunderbolt of enlightenment.” At the end of the ceremony, the monks used a wooden compass to draw a circle which was to be the base of the mandala. The colored sand was lined, waiting for the mandala to start taking shape.

More information: The mandala is a traditional Tibetan Buddhist art form that involves the careful placement of colored sand in a design that references the world in its divine form, a path for the mind to reach enlightenment, and balance. The intricate design is extremely labor-intensive, and up to four monks at a time will work for five days. Using a bronze funnel-like instrument called a chakpur and a bronze wand, the monks release a fine stream of sand by moving the wand across the grooves of the chakpur. The finished mandala will be about four feet across. (SOURCE)

 

xx GD