TEQUESTA, Fla. (February 16, 2015) – A weeklong experience of Tibetan culture, art and tradition culminated with Sunday’s formal dissolution of a sacred sand mandala and blessing of the waterway by eight visiting Tibetan monks from the Drepung Gomang Monastery. The visit was part of the Dalai Lama-sanctioned Sacred Art Tour, and the monks shared their traditions with the more than 1,500 visitors to the Lighthouse ArtCenter.
The visit included an inside look at Tibetan culture with the monks creating traditional dinners at the ArtCenter, sharing their knowledge of sand art during family workshops, and beginning and ending eachday with meditative chant. Visitors to the ArtCenter were especially drawn to the intricate process of the sand mandala creation. Each part of the mandala holds a special meaning and Lighthouse ArtCenter’s Director of Education Cynthia Trone selected the overarching theme of Chenrezig, or Compassion, for the ArtCenter’s own mandala.
“I knew that as Tibetan Buddhist refugees who are living in exile in India they would bring us a global perspective on freedom and persecution,” said Trone during the closing ceremony. “I knew that the sacred sand mandala that they would create would surpass any masterpiece I have ever seen. What I didn’t know was how much love they would bring us.” Her feelings were expressed by many of the nearly 300 attendees at the closing ceremony.
Following opening chanting, the monks then began the formal dissolution ceremony, scraping the pieces of brightly colored sand into wrapped cloth given out to visitors, with a portion of the sand reserved for the blessing of the waterway. Following a procession to the foot of the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse, the monks performed a ritual blessing, including the spreading of the mandala sand into the waters itself.
“The Lighthouse ArtCenter has always been known as a special place,” says ArtCenter Executive DirectorKatie Deits. “It has been a gathering place for visitors and residents for more than 50 years, but this week has definitely been one of its greatest highlights,” Deits continues. “We want to thank the monksfor sharing their art and their lives with all of us here, and with those who have come from all over South Florida this week to witness the uplifting creation of the sand mandala.”
The sacred tour is supported 100% by a network of volunteers who invite these scholars and artisan Buddhist monks to share with our community the rare, ancient, culturally rich and diverse Tibetan art,customs and spiritual wisdom. The monks have embarked on the Sacred Art Tour to bring teachings that create the possibility of global peace, compassion and wisdom.
To learn more about the Drepung Gomang Monastery, please visit their website at www.drepunggomang.org.