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Tibetan Monk Creates Sand Mandala at Bard This Weekend

Emily Darrow
April 20-23, the Venerable Tenzin Yignyen, a Tibetan monk and professor of Tibetan Buddhist Studies, constructs a sand mandala of the Buddha of Compassion at Bard.
TIBETAN MONK CREATES SAND MANDALA OF THE BUDDHA OF COMPASSION AT BARD COLLEGE, APRIL 20–23 ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—From Friday, April 20, through Monday, April 23, the Venerable Tenzin Yignyen, a Tibetan monk from the Dalai Lama’s personal monastery and professor of Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, constructs a sand mandala of the Buddha of Compassion at Bard on the second floor of the Stevenson Library. Community members are invited to observe the creation of the mandala on Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; and Monday, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. as well as see the ritual dismantling of the mandala at 12 noon on Monday, April 23. Although taking days to create the intricate patterns of colored sand that form the sacred design, the mandala is swept away in moments during the final ceremony, illustrating the nature of impermanence in all things. The ritual dismantling of the sand mandala occurs at 12 noon on Monday; all are invited to attend. During this ceremony, the sand mandala is swept up and then taken in a procession to the waterfall on Bard campus, to be sent off toward the Hudson River and Atlantic Ocean. “Mandala is an ancient Buddhist art form used for meditation, as taught by the Buddha Shakyamuni 2,500 years ago,” says the Ven. Tenzin Yignyen. “It is said that the seed of enlightenment in each person’s mind is nourished by the dynamic process of visualizing and contemplating a mandala. The mandala is also a visual form of Buddha’s enlightened compassion and wisdom.” “Tenzin has a wonderful teaching style with students,” says Kristin Scheible, assistant professor of religion at Bard and coordinator of the program. “The event is envisioned as a way for the religious and artistic practices of Buddhist monks to be brought to the awareness of our community.” The Venerable Tenzin Yignyen is a high-ranking monk belonging to Namgyal Monastery, the Dalai Lama’s personal monastery, where about 60 monks are in residence. He was born in the Tibetan village of Phari, and fled with his family to Bhutan after the 1959 Chinese invasion of Tibet. Monastery trained, he earned master of sutra and tantra. He has taught and constructed mandalas at many places, including Los Angeles’s Natural History Museum, Windstar Foundation, Cleveland Museum of Art, Rochester’s Memorial Art Gallery, The Asia Society, Trinity College, St. Lawrence College, and Cornell University. He has taught at Hobart and William Smith Colleges since 1998. The Asian Studies and Religion Programs at Bard sponsor this event. For further information, call Kristin Scheible at or e-mail # # # (04.16.2007)

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This event was last updated on 04-23-2007