Wednesday, January 14, 2009


An Evening With Dzongkar Choede Lamas

Last evening we attended a get-together with the five Tibetan Buddhist monks from the Dzongkar Choede Monastery of Mysore, India who are creating a sand mandala at the Queen Ka'ahumanu Center from Jan 13-18th.

This 7-foot-by-7-foot medicine Buddha sand mandala is laid out in ancient Buddhist texts, and you can watch the creation of it online here. If you miss it, you can also watch the archives of the creation by the monks here.

And if you've never heard of sand mandalas and their purpose before, you can read about them here. Here's a snippet from this site: "Mandala, a Sanskrit word for "circle,” is a sacred diagram for the passing on of ancient knowledge in Buddhist text. The creation of sand mandala symbolizes the transience of life and the ideal of non-attachment to the material world. The meditative processes of sand mandala share the symbolisms of ancient teachings and allow participators to allude new meanings. All in all, this collaborative art embraces the unity of creations shared by those whom participate."

Sponsored by Lama Dhondup Gyaltsen of the Tashi Pendey Foundation, the Tibetan Cultural Fair is a yearly event.

The Buddha shown in the photo above (taken by me at last evening's gathering) is over 700 years old, and everyone present last evening had the honor of being blessed by this Buddha when the Buddha was placed briefly on our heads. We were also blessed by ancient relics, some as old as 1300 years old. The lama holding the Buddha is Lama Jampa Sopa, a sand mandala Master.

Dzongkar Choede is a monastic community of 280 monks located near Mysore India.

Once the sand mandala is finished, it will be destroyed, and the millions of grains of dyed sand will be released into the ocean. It's believed that all who see the mandala are blessed. **Since I posted this information this morning, I have since learned that no longer are the grains dispersed into the ocean upon completion of the mandala. Instead, the grains are handed out to the public to be taken home for blessings.***

As well as watching the monks create the sand mandala, the public can view Tibetan arts, crafts, carpets and thangkas from Tibet. The funds raised from this event will help support Tibetans living in exile.

If you'd like to view more photos, click here for more at my Flickr website.

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Quite interesting, most of the information here is entirely new to me.
It must be sureal to be around items from so far in out past!
I had never heard of it before, but then again, this is very exotic for us Swedes :-)

Hope you're having an excellent hilarious happy beginning of 2009 and managed to avoid the flu that the rest of us seemed to have got...
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