By OCinSite At-Large | November 02, 2010 12:18 PM
The monks worked side by side for five days barely saying a word.
Photos by Ted Reckas
For the past five days, five Buddhist monks from Drepung Loseling Phukhang Monastery monastery in Southern India prayed and worked on the creation of a mandala dedicated to compassion and peace. The perfectly symmetrical design was first drawn onto the table in chalk and then filled-in using colored sand. The mandala, titled “Buddha of Compassion,” was created by the monks based upon their memorization of sacred texts, and showed a palace surrounded by four gates, water and fire.
The monks begin work laying out the design upon which the mandala will be based in chalk.
Through the course of the event, people from all walks of life came to the Neighborhood Congregational Church in Laguna Beach where the sand painting was being created, to take pictures or simply sit in the pews to watch. “The goal is to spread peace as well as compassion, which comes from the monks’ patience and concentration as they visualize the finished mandala,” says Tenzin Sherab, the monks’ translator.
The meditative exercise of making a mandala is furthered by attention to detail.
The dissolution of the sacred artwork took place on Nov. 2 after the monks chanted and presented their hosts, including kayak guide Billy Fried—who took the monks for a kayak outing—with gifts. As the camera toting crowd pushed in and snapped away, the sand was given to those who wanted it in a ritual of smiles and bows. The remaining sand, which is all natural with no chemical dyes, was placed into the ocean.
Second graders from Frau Heather’s class at Anneliese’s School Manzanita Campus watch the monks at work.
At the closing ceremony, the monks chanted in front of a full congregation before dissolving the mandala.
By the final day, word had spread about the monks and their work.
As a monk wipes the mandala away, camera-toting spectators zoomed in.
After distributing the sand to all who asked for some, the monks made their way to the beach at Thalia Street, chanted, and placed the sand in the ocean.