Bard News & Events

Press Release


Emily M. Darrow

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—From Friday, April 23, through Monday, April 26, the Venerable Tenzin Yignen, a Tibetan monk from the Dalai Lama’s personal monastery and an instructor of Asian languages and culture at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, will construct a sand mandala of the Buddha of Compassion at Bard in the Village Dorm A Sacred Space. Community members are invited to observe the creation of the mandala throughout the day on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

On Saturday and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 p.m., Tenzin Yignen will give two free informal talks during a break from constructing the mandala. During those days there also will be an opportunity for community members to try the sacred art of sand mandala painting. On Monday morning at 9:00 a.m., there will be a ritual dismantling of the mandala followed by a procession to the river.

"Mandala is an ancient Buddhist art form used for meditation, as taught by the Buddha Shakyamuni 2500 years ago," says the Ven. Tenzin Yignen. "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." 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.

"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 religious and artistic practices of Buddhist monks to be brought into the awareness of our community. My religion class, Buddha Imagined, will be in regular attendance, but my hope is other members of the Bard and general community will participate."

The Venerable Tenzin Yignen is a very 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 at Hobart and William Smith Colleges since September 1998.

Mellon Grant Funds, the Freeman Foundation, and the Asian Studies and Religion Programs at Bard are the event’s sponsors. For further information, call Kristin Scheible at 845-758-7384 or e-mail

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This event was last updated on 04-26-2004