Tibetan monks with sand mandala
By Roanoke College News

Can't miss: Tibetan Monk residency on campus - sand mandala creation and more

Roanoke College is hosting Tibetan Buddhist monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery in southern India for a residency from Sept. 23-Sept. 27.

The monks will be on campus as part of their Mystical Arts of Tibet tour, which will include the creation of a sand mandala in the atrium of the Colket Center, a lecture on meditation, sacred music and more opportunities for students and the public. His Holiness the Dali Lama endorses this tour as a means to promote global peace and healing by sharing Tibetan sacred performing and visual arts.

From all the artistic traditions of Tantric Buddhism, the creation of a sand mandala with colored sand ranks as one of the most unique and exquisite. Millions of grains of sand are painstakingly laid into place on a flat platform over a period of days or weeks to form the image of a mandala. To date, the monks have created mandala sand paintings in more than 100 museums, art centers, and colleges and universities in the United States and Europe.

The Mystical Arts of Tibet tours have taken monks around the world for more than 25 years. Each tour lasts for about 10 months. The Monastery selects a group of monks to execute the activities of each tour, and the monks return to Drepung Loseling Monastery to continue their vocation at its conclusion.

Their weeklong residency at Roanoke College offers a rare opportunity to witness one of the world’s most ancient sacred traditions presented by a group of monk artists for whom these traditions are a way of life. Week highlights include:

Monday, September 23 – 1 p.m. Opening Ceremony for the Sand Mandala, Atrium of the Colket Center

Tuesday, September 24 – 3 p.m. “Symbolism of the Sand Mandala,” Wortmann Ballroom, Colket Center

Thursday, September 26  – 3 p.m. “Meditation for Focus and Stress Relief,” Pickle Conference Room, Colket Center

Friday, September 27 – 1 p.m. Closing Ceremony for the Sand Mandala, Atrium of the Colket Center

Hours to observe the monks creating a sand mandala in the atrium of Colket: Monday after opening ceremony until 6 p.m., Tuesday – Thursday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., and Friday, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Support for the Roanoke College residency of the Drepung Loseling Monastery monks comes from the Copenhaver Scholar-in-Residency Program, the Jordan Endowment, the Department of Religion and Philosophy, and Peace and Justice Studies.