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Monk Artists Create Mandala in Oxford Library

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This week, Oxford College was visited by Tibetan and Indian monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery in Atlanta. After an opening ceremony on Monday, February 20th, the seven monk artists began constructing a sand mandala on the first floor of the Oxford College library. The appearance continued throughout the week with a live stream available through a web video link.

            Throughout the week, many people stopped to observe the progress that the monks had made on the construction of the mandala. People crowded around to watch the meticulous work of the monks as they continuously gathered sand from one table to add to the mandala located in the center of their workplace. Many stood and observed from second floor of the
library for a better view of the construction. Everyone was fascinated by the intricacy of their work, the unique tools they used to design the piece, and the amount of time they put into the mandala’s completion. While several of the monks worked on the mandala at the same time, another monk sat by a long table set up as a small gift shop for people to purchase souvenirs, such as beautifully made jewelry and scrolls written in Sanskrit.

Yesterday evening in the Williams Hall, two of the monks gave a lecture about their constructing the mandala and what each part of the intricate painting symbolized, titled “Symbolism of the Sand Mandala in Buddhism”. His Eminence Gonsa Rinpoche spoke first, followed by a translation from Geshe Nyima Tsering. The event was packed with students and faculty eager to learn more about the history and meaning behind the mandala.

Today, Friday, February 20th around noon, there was a closing ceremony and ritual destruction of the mandala, which represented the Buddhist doctrine of impermanence.

This event was an eye-opening experience for the faculty and students of Oxford College and a unique way to learn about new cultural aspects that we are not directly exposed to first-hand.

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The student news site of Oxford College of Emory University
Monk Artists Create Mandala in Oxford Library