Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Dalai Lama in SoCal: the sand mandala

, Sarah Parvini (; CC Liu, Wisdom Quarterly
Dalai Lama
The 14th Dalai Lama, left, with Tibetan monk Ven. Sherab Chopel, the principal artist who created the mandala, view it together during a private event in Irvine. The sand mandala was created to commemorate the Dalai Lama's 80th birthday (Francine Orr/
Tibetan monks construct another mandala on another occasion (hairyprincess).
Dalai Lama marks 80th birthday with compassion-themed Anaheim summit
Dalai Lama's anjali mudra
(L.A. Now) Creating a mandala is as painstaking as it is beautiful. Grain by grain, two Tibetan monks meticulously placed colored sand during the last two weeks on the campus of UC Irvine, forming a brightly hued pattern that's said to attract "loving-kindness."
This particular mandala depicts the celestial home of Avalokiteshvara, the [Bodhisattva] of compassion. It was created to commemorate the 80th birthday of the 14th Dalai Lama, whom Tibetan Buddhists revere as a living embodiment of Avalokiteshvara [transformed or embodied as the Goddess Kwan Yin].

The site at UC Irvine was chosen because it will become the new home of the Center for Living Peace, a nonprofit that sponsored the Dalai Lama's visit this week to Orange County.
The monks' diligent work -- from 9:00 am to midnight, for 10 days -- climaxed Tuesday morning, when the Dalai Lama blessed it. He studied the mandala with the principal artist, a Tibetan monk named Ven. Sherab Chopel.
In time, the mandala will be destroyed. Monks will sweep the sand and return it to the [Pacific] ocean [to send loving-kindness and blessings in all directions].

Borobudur mandala floorplan for 9th century Buddhist temple, world's largest (David1010)
Hevajra mandala, Nepal (Wonderlane)
Unlike so many art forms, it's an exercise in impermanence and the ephemeral. The mandala shows four arms, which organizers said symbolize the qualities required for enlightenment: joy, equanimity, loving-kindness, and compassion.
Perhaps there's a fifth quality [such as a sense of humor].
During the private gathering, the Dalai Lama paused and without provocation, looked directly at Los Angeles Times photojournalist Francine Orr, saying, "Compassion without wisdom is nothing." More
Times staff writer Sarah Parvini contributed to this report.

Kalachakra Sera mandala, initiation (Kosi Gramatikoff)

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