1. Monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery in Atlanta were on campus this week working on a mandala. This is from the opening ceremony in which they sanctify the space where the work will be done. There is a series of chants and a few moments of instrumentation.
2. After the opening ceremony, they sketch out the mandala's design based on instructions found in their scriptures. There is a lot of sacred geometry and symmetry.
3. Once the design is sketched in chalk, they begin to apply sand. A mandala is sacred sand art representing sacred space and unity of the universe. The monks who work on the mandala study for more than 15 years on the meaning and meditations behind the mandala and then another 2 or 3 years on the actual artistry of it.
4. There was a station for people coming through to practice using the chakpur, the instrument that funnels sand onto the table in a manageable way. I was able to do straight lines but couldn't get creative. The girl next to me made this.
5. An altar with a picture of the Dali Lama was set up in the room as well.
6. The four main colors used represent four elements: yellow=earth, red=fire, green=water, and white (with blue in it)=air. Orange represents heat/spirituality. The mandala begins in the center and works outward.
7. Here is the mandala near completion. Once it is finished, there is a closing ceremony, then the mandala is destroyed. The sand is poured into the closest moving water.