Buddhist Monks Create a Map Toward Enlightenment

April 6, 2009

Author: Kevin Bryce

Source: The University News


Last week, Kansas City got a dose of global religion.

Buddhist monks from the Drepung Gomang Monastery in India visited Kansas City, and the culminating event was the weeklong creation of an ancient Buddhist artistic ritual.

A crowd of more than a hundred gathered at Kansas City Public Library - Central Branch to witness the closing ceremony for the Buddhist ritual of the sand mandala.

The mandala is an ancient art form constructed only of colored sand. The image is extremely intricate, using millions of grains of sand, and took hours for the monks to create.

According to Buddhist tradition, the mandala forms a three-dimensional representation of the world in its divine form, which also serves as a map toward enlightenment.

Last Saturday, the monks performed a ceremonial chant to honor the creation, and then symbolically destroyed the mandala by brushing it into a small pile of colored sand.