A group of six Tibetan Buddhist nuns have spent the last week working on a sand mandala in Wellesley College's Houghton Chapel.
Sand mandalas are ancient, two-dimensional paintings created with vibrantly colored sand, representing the perfected environment of an enlightened being - at a deeper level, a mandala is a visual metaphor for the path to enlightenment. On Sunday, the mandala will be swept up and the sand returned to the earth. The sands from this mandala will be poured into Wellesley's Lake Waban.
According to Ji Hyang Padma, Buddhist advisor at Wellesley College, “The mandala is always dismantled at the end, and the sand returned to the waters, in recognition of the transitory nature of life.”
The nuns visit Wellesley from the Keydong Thuk-Che-Cho-Ling Nunnery in Kathmandu, Nepal. They are among the first Tibetan Buddhist women to learn the sacred art practice of the mandala, which was traditionally reserved only for monks. They create the mandala using five colors of sand, each representing different qualities of Buddhism. The sand comes directly from Kathmandu and is colored with vegetable dyes and precious minerals.
“To view the Mandala is considered a blessing. It conveys an experience of wholeness, bringing about healing and peace,” Padma said. “The entirety of the mandala represents sacred world as microcosm (within us) and macrocosm (around us) -- and our awareness that there is no separation: the spheres of inner life and outer life are originally one sacred world.”
Mandala events, including closing ceremonies, are open to the public. Visit today, Friday, October 26, until 6:00 PM, tomorrow, Saturday, October 27 between 9:00 AM and 6:00 PM or Sunday from 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM, when closing ceremonies begin.
Until 4:30 today, Friday, you can also tune into a live stream of the event at www.wellesley.edu/PublicAffairs/Live (please note, web address is case sensitive).