Universe in Sand

As the forces of sorrow sweep across the world,we need the benediction of the Buddha of Compassion,” says Tibetan monk Geshe Lobsang Gualtsan...

Written by EXPRESS FEATURES SERVICE | Published: February 23, 2009 3:38:24 am

As the forces of sorrow sweep across the world,we need the benediction of the Buddha of Compassion,” says Tibetan monk Geshe Lobsang Gualtsan,as his brothers from the remote Likir Monastry in Ladakh start the ritual drawing of a sand mandala at the Siri Fort auditorium.

Five monks from the monastery,which dates back to the 15th century and is currently headed by Nari Rinpoche,brother of the Dalai Lama,are in Delhi to participate in the ongoing International Festival of the Sacred Arts. “The sand mandala,an emblematic representation of the universe,can take many forms. The one we have chosen for Delhi is dedicated to the

Buddha of Compassion,” says Gualtsan.

The monks belong to the Dalai Lama’s Gelukpa sect,which has a long tradition of making mandalas. They will work on the mandala continuously for the next few days — with short breaks — pouring coloured sand into patterns that are replete with symbolism,astrology and philosophy. “The final act,on February 25,will be the destruction of the mandala,a sobering reminder of the transience of the universe,” says Wangchuk Fargo,one of the Tibetan organisers of the festival.

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