Tuesday, March 29, 2005
Monks create Mystical Art in Fireside Lounge
By Rebecca Wyatt, OU Web Writer
The campus community watched a work of art grow before their eyes last week as the Tibetan Buddhist monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery created a mandala sand painting in the Oakland Center Fireside Lounge March 22-24.
The monks performed the tedious task of laying millions of grains of colored sand onto a flat platform over a three-day period. Using metal funnels called chakpur, the monks used a stick to create a vibration and the colored sands flowed like liquid onto the platform.
Madalyn Miller, visual and performing arts chair of the Student Program Board, saw the monks and the mandala sand art at a national conference and knew it was something she wanted to bring to OU.
“It’s something different,” Miller said. “It’s something cultural Oakland hasn’t really done before.”
The monks performed an opening ceremony to make sure the area was suitable for the sand art. Through chanting, music and meditation, the monks prepared the area and called the forces of goodness.
Students, faculty and staff strolled by and saw the mandala at all phases. Once the mandala was completed, it was destroyed as all mandalas are, as a representation of the impermanence of life. The sands are swept into an urn and washed away in a body of running water.
To date, the monks have created the sand paintings in more than 100 museums, art centers and colleges in the United States and Europe.