Tibetan Monks to Create Sand Mandala at AHC Oct. 15-18

Opening ceremony is 10 a.m. Oct. 15. (NOTE: There will NOT be a caravan from AHC to the Santa Maria Levee Trail on Friday, Oct. 18. The monks' visit will end at 3 p.m. at the gallery.)

OCTOBER 9, 2013 -- The Official Mandala Group of Tibetan Monks from the Drepung Gomang Monastery in South India will visit Allan Hancock College Oct. 15-18 to create a sacred sand mandala.  In the direct lineage of His Holiness, The Dalai Lama, this special group of monks is visiting the Central Coast as part their 2013 Art Tour to the USA.  Over a four-day period, they will create a five-foot-diameter mandala in the Ann Foxworthy Gallery, located in Bldg. L-South in the heart of the college’s Santa Maria campus.  The public is invited to view this rare and unusual demonstration of sacred Tibetan art.  Tibetan crafts will also be on display.

Tibetan MonksThe opening ceremony of chants, music and mantra recitation will be held at 10 a.m., Tuesday, Oct. 15, followed by the monks beginning to create the large, colorful sand mandala.  Using traditional metal funnels, called chak-pur, the artists will painstakingly pour millions of grains of sand into place on a flat platform, forming an intricate diagram of the enlightened mind and the ideal world.  

The finished mandala, approximately five feet in diameter, will be completed on Friday, Oct. 18.  A closing ceremony will begin at 2 p.m., when the painting will be consecrated and then dismantled.  This symbolizes the impermanence of all that exists.  Some of the colored sands will be distributed to the audience in small bags as blessings for personal health and healing. The remainder will be swept up and ceremonially poured into a moving body of water to symbolically spread the healing energies of the mandala throughout the world.  (Pictured below right: A Compassion Mandala.)

Visitors may view the daily construction of the mandala during the hours listed below.  Natural-light photography is permitted.Compassion Mandala

  • Tuesday

Oct. 15

10 a.m.-5 p.m.

  • Wednesday

Oct. 16

10 a.m.-5 p.m.

  • Thursday

Oct. 17

10 a.m.-4 p.m.

  • Friday

Oct. 18

10 a.m.-3 p.m.

The event is free, but there is a $2 daily fee to park on the Santa Maria campus.

For information about the monastery and the monks, visit their website at http://drepunggomang.org.  For information about the group’s Central Coast tour, visit www.gomang.org/2013_gomang.html or call hosts Anet and Charley Carlin at (805) 466-4653.

The monks will present additional evening programs Oct. 15-18 in Santa Maria and the Five Cities area.  The programs include dance, song, chant and a fascinating example of the debate monks use to train their thinking.

A $20 donation is suggested for these events to help the monks support the almost 2,000 Tibetan refugees who live at the monastery and need food, clothes, medicine and education.  The evening performances are:

  • Tuesday, Oct. 15, 7 p.m. – A Cultural Pageant/Buddhist Teaching will be presented at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 2800 Harris Grade Road, in Lompoc.  Call (805) 733-4400 for more information.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 16, 7 p.m. – A Cultural Pageant/Buddhist Teaching will be presented at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 402 South Lincoln Street, in Santa Maria.  Call (805) 922-3575 for information.
  • Thursday, Oct. 17, 7 p.m. – A Full Cultural Pageant featuring dance, music and beautiful Tibetan costumes will be held in the Arroyo Grande area at Hiawatha Lodge, 3065 Temple Street, in the Town of Halcyon.  Call (805) 466-4653 for information.  Seating is limited.

The monks can also be scheduled for special personal, event or program blessings (pujas).  Call Anet Carlin at (805) 466-4653 for information and scheduling.

Location and parking information

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Last Modified May 2, 2014