in February of 2007:
Slide Presentation with narrative of dissolution ceremony
here. Produced by Lindsay Levkoff. Thank you!
Drupon Thinley Ningpo Rinpoche created a Sand Mandala at the Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida as part of their Tibetan Exhibit during Feb 2007. The Director of the Museum opened the Exhibit to member on February 1, 2007. Drupon Thinley Ningpo and Lama Konchok Gyaltsen Rinpoche greeted over 350 museum visitors. They then worked on the creation of the Chenrizig Mandala for the next 2 weeks. The information given to almost 1000 visitors during that time about the Mandala is shown below.
On February 14, 2007 at 3 PM was the closing ceremony.
After prayers and chanting with over 150 people in attendance, Drupon began the destruction of the Mandala. Flashes from cameras went off as he made the first swipe. Audible moans and sighs could be heard as the destruction of the Mandala began. Drupon methodically did one swipe in the East, West, North and South directions.
He then invited a small white haired boy named Bradley out of the crown to come up to the Mandala. He showed him how to smear the sand toward the middle. Then he helped another child to do the same. Then another and another. Then some older teens. Thens adults began to join in. Soon the entire crowd of people lined up to contribute one swipe toward the center of the beautiful sand mandala as Drupon included everyone in the process while chanting Om Mani Padme Hung.
The audience's dismay at the loss of the Mandala slowly transformed to an experience of inclusionary oneness as everyone became a part of the ceremony. It became a celebration of a great appreciation of the beauty of this ancient tradition. Strangers became closer and those who had not experience with Buddhist traditions or practices learned how much more precious the shared experience was than the sand itself.
After distributing a little bit of sand to all the audience, Drupon led everyone to Lake Alice, a nearby lake on the campus of the University of Florida, and dedicated the rest of the sand to the Lake, the earth and all beings.
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Sand Mandala of Chenrezig -
The Buddha of Compassion
What is a Mandala?
Mandala is an ancient Sanskrit word, which loosely translated means "mansion". The Mandala can be described as being the residence of the respective deities and their retinues. Avalokiteshvara (Sanskrit), or Chenrezig, as he is known in the Tibetan language, is the Buddhist deity (a Buddha) who personifies the virtue of compassion. Chenrezig is represented with either 4 or 1,000 arms, to symbolize his vast ability to help alleviate the suffering of beings. The sand mandala of Chenrezig originated from the tantric teachings of Lord Buddha Shakyamuni, the founder of the Buddhist religion (c. 500 BCE). Although depicted on a flat surface, the mandala is actually three-dimensional, being a “divine mansion” at the center of which resides Chenrezig, surrounded by the deities of his entourage.
What Does it represent?
The mandala shows a method of bringing peace and harmony in our world, through genuine practices of the mind of Great Compassion, the Wisdom of Emptiness, and the meditations of Mandala with their respective deities. We can generate the respective qualities as mentioned and thereby bring about a positive change in this world of ours. For a practitioner who meditates on the Tantra of Chenrezig, one would familiarize oneself with every detail of the mandala and the deities within it, engaging in repeated exercises based upon visualizing the pure beings and pure environment which symbolized one’s own being and environment in purified, sublime form. Such exercises, carried out within the basic Buddhist framework of developing wisdom and compassion, bring about a profound transformation of the psyche. Just to glimpse the mandala, however, will create a positive impression on the mind-stream of the observer, who for a moment is in touch with the profound potential for perfect Enlightenment, which exists within the mind of all beings.
Each aspect of the constructed mandala has deep meaning. The four outer walls of the mansion are in five transparent layers, colored as white, yellow, red, green, and blue, representing faith, effort, memory, meditation, and wisdom. The four doorways, one in the center of each of the four walls, represent the Four Immeasurable Thoughts: love, compassion, joy, and equanimity. The lotus flower in the center of the mandala represent the lotus family, one of the Buddha families that corresponds to the five psychophysical components of a human being, and which purify specific impure states of mind. The Lotus family purifies passion into discriminating awareness. The white thousand-armed Chenrezig is represented in the center of the mandala by the seed syllable Hri. This syllable is the sound emanation of Chenrezig. In the four directions are seated his retinue seated on white full moon disks. The deities arise from the unity of the wisdom of emptiness and great bliss of the principle deity Chenrezig. Seated on the western red petal is the purified aspect of hatred in the form of a red deity (Amitabha), on the south yellow petal is the purified aspect of misery in the form of a yellow deity (Rathasambhava) and likewise, the purified part of ignorance are represented by the eastern white deity (Akshobhya) at the northern gate is the green deity (Amogasiddhi) who purifies jealousy. The central deity Chenrezig, who is inseparable from the Buddha Vairocana. represents the freedom from attachment. The four colors in the four directions are the emanated light rays of the four deities. The lotus itself symbolizes the mind of renunciation. To protect the mandala from negative energies and conditions, it is surrounded by a Vajra fence, which also symbolizes the continuous teaching of the Vajrayana (tantric teaching) by Chenrezig. The entire mandala sits upon a thousand-petaled lotus.
Jan 30, 31 Feb 1, 10, 12,13, and 14
10 AM to 1 PM and 2 PM to 5 PM
Closing ceremony 3 PM Feb 14
The monks will complete some portion of the mandala each day and at the end of the ceremony, the mandala will be ritually dismantled (destroyed). The powder and sand of the mandala will be thrown into a clean river or a sea to remind us about the impermanence of our world. Some of the sand will be given out to individuals as a blessing.