Monday, October 21, 2013

Tibetan Monks Sand Painting in Bermondsey

Kagyu Samye Dzong London is a Tibetan Buddhist Centre based in the grand surrounds of the former Bermondsey Public Library in Spa Road SE1. Later this week it will host a visit by monks from the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery  in India, including the creation of a Sand Mandala, a dance performance and interactive workshops open to all.

The monks creating a mandala in Salisbury earlier this month
The events run from 25th to 30th October (full programme here) and will culminate in a ceremony at Tower Bridge:

'Of all the artistic traditions of Tantric Buddhism, that of painting with coloured sand is one of the most exquisite.  The mandala essentially is a representation of the celestial mansion or abode of a principal deity or deities, surrounded by their retinues, and representing the path and fruition of the particular cycle of practices.  To make a sand mandala, millions of grains of sand are painstakingly laid into place in an intricate design over a period of several days using hollow tubes called chagpurs.  The material used is ground marble dust – but in ancient times powdered precious and semi-precious stones were also used. The monks will be creating a Medicine Buddha Mandala.

A total of eight monks will be making the mandala over a period of five days. The exhibition begins with a short dedication prayer, and on completion, the mandala is dismantled in a moving ceremony during which the sand is swept into the centre of the table, symbolizing the impermanence of all things.  A small amount of sand will be poured into the Thames after a small procession from the centre to Tower Bridge, and people attending the ceremony can take away with them small bags of sand as a memory of the event.

Wed 30th Oct: 10am - 12pm - Completion and Closing Prayers at 10am and the Pouring Ceremony at Tower Bridge at 12 noon'.

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