Mystical Arts of Tibet
Iowa State has many multicultural activities and opportunities to get involved. Onalie Ariyabandhu, international ambassador from Sri Lanka, shows us one of them. It is a Tibetan Buddhist tradition, the creation of the “Sand Mandala”:
“The Student Union Board of ISU organizes fascinating multicultural events on campus. Among the many events I volunteered, I really enjoyed volunteering the “sand art” done by a group of Tibetan Monks. The monks followed a ceremony before starting the “Sand Mandala” and also after completing it. The very colorful and beautiful sand art had many complicated designs on it. It was impressive to know that every little detail on the art had great religious significance. The construction of the Sand Mandala took four days. After it was completed, the monks conducted a closing ceremony by chanting prayers and playing many different musical instruments from Tibet. Finally the monks ceremonially destroyed the sand art. It was an amazing experience which many students, staff and faculty greatly appreciated.”
Pause! They destroy the Sand Mandalas? Yes, they do, because it is part of the ceremony. The monks release the materials into the nature, (specifically a place with moving water) so they are never used more than once to keep the symbolism. Also, what do the Sand Mandalas mean to the Tibetan Buddhists? More than a work of art, the mandalas represent inner peace and a reminder that all living beings want happiness. What a beautiful way to show it!
Here are some of the pictures that Onalie took: