Tibetan Monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery in Atlanta are currently creating a sand mandala at the Schmidt Gallery at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) in Boca Raton. Their work which started Sunday will culminate Saturday 3/3/12 with a closing dismantling ceremony. The public is welcome to watch the monks while they create the mandala Monday through Friday and for the Saturday ceremony.
I have had the opportunity to see the creation of sand mandalas by Buddhist monks visiting Tallahassee, FL and I was in Washington DC last July while one was being created to mark the visit of the Dalai Lama. The monks work in a silent gallery as they apply pink, orange, green, yellow, purple, blue, white, and teal colored sands, a few grains at a time. The sands are applied using a long tool called a chakpur that functions like a straw and a funnel, placing the grains of sand on a table to create the intricate design. This mandala is being dedicated to peace and compassion. The Schmidt Gallery at FAU has set up a second sand painting table in the gallery for onlookers to try to use the tools.
The patients I use Mandala art therapy with are always intrigued by the Monks' sand mandala painting process, noting their patience and skill. When I describe the ceremonious dismantling or destroying of the mandala, my groups are always shocked and sometimes angry. I'll ask the group if they have any idea on why the Monks would destroy their work rather than try to preserve it somehow. Sometimes I'll have a patient that will say something like, "well nothing lasts forever". From there we discuss idea of change, impermanence, and non-attachment. Associations with addiction recovery and mental health recovery are made.
The monks at the Schmidt Gallery at FAU will be destroying the sand mandala on Saturday afternoon.Half of the sand will be poured into a body of water on campus, which is the typical practice. The other half will be distributed to the audience of Saturday's closing ceremony. The monks may suggest that the sand be taken and sprinkled near the entrance of the onlooker's home, to bring peace and compassion to all that pass.
Reference: Ariel Barkhurst (Sun-Sentinel.com) retrieved: 2/27/12.
VIEWING THE MANDALA:
The public is invited to watch the monks work from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Schmidt Gallery on FAU's Boca Raton campus, 777 Glades Road.
On Monday at 4 p.m., Nathan Katz of Florida International University will present a lecture titled "What is a Mandala? What is Peace?" in the House Chambers of the Student Union on the FAU campus.
On Wednesday at 4 p.m., there will be a screening of the film "Sand Painting: The Sacred Art of Tibet" followed by discussion in the University Theater.
The closing ceremony and destruction of the Mandala is on Saturday at 1 p.m. in the Schmidt Gallery.
The Mandala Exchange is an interactive blogspot where mandala projects, resources, ideas, and knowledge can be shared. The Exchange was formed to be able to continue the mandala work presented at the 2011 AATA conference, "Communicating Through Mandalas: Exploring Traditional and Online Media with Fellow Therapists". The presenters and moderators of this site, wanted the cycle of the mandala to continue and expand through a virtual community of practitioners, artists and explorers.
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Saturday, February 11, 2012
In coping ahead from a stressful week-long exam I was graciously excused from posting last month. So, back in January, a story was shared with me. I want to share it with you. Take it in good humor as a reminder to why we do this.
Since this is my first post of the year let me tell a fabulous Holiday story. I gave a very-short rendition of the events that transpired last year that brought the “mothers” of this blog together: the independent struggles and creative endeavors, the amazing art and re-connections. I showed selected samples of each of our works and closed the presentation with a blurb about this blog and our hopes for the future of continued self-care.
At the start of the new semester I was approached by a colleague, K. She presented me with several sheets of coffee-cup sized mandalas in black & white. She proceeded to tell me how she had a friend who after some time at the hospital was becoming depressed. She gifted her a mandala coloring book, one of those they sell anywhere (find them online or at your local book store). A couple of days later her friend reported having colored ALL the mandalas and needing another mandala-fix. They did not cure her, but they provided a much sought-after and necessary outlet.
And so it goes… 2012 has started with the sharing of mandalas by the Mandala Maker Amy and K. The readers of this blog have also been challenged to start your own odyssey and let it take its own course. Here’s a secret, let the creative moment be your guide. Be liberated.
CHALLENGE: Practice a non-judgmental stance with your own work allow it to take you where it may.
In the midst of work, school, and home-life I have been holding-onto a blank mandala card. It was mailed to me by the Mandala Maker (Amy) with the request to return it once complete. Has it already been a month? Or more? I no longer find that I have time to leisurely dedicate myself to the simple pleasures of creative expression. Not in the ways I was used to. But, such is life – ever changing. Yes, I have carried it with me for weeks and have been working for 5minute intervals. The spark that fueled the initial strokes is gone. Having burnt itself out (as it should have after a creative undertaking). Since the image has adapted and taken-on new life, new symbols. I have grown at peace with once crippling negative space. It has become the much needed silence after a stormy day.
Here is my first mandala of 2012: After the Rain.
|*Bad photo the paper is white through here it looks ivory.|