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Tibetan Monks to Construct Mandala Sand Painting During Residency at FSU

Tibetan Monks to Construct Mandala Sand Painting During Residency at FSU

As part of their five-day residency at Frostburg State University, Tibetan Buddhist monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery will construct a mandala sand painting from Sunday, March 5, to Thursday, March 9, in FSU’s Lewis J. Ort Library.

The process of sand painting is one of Buddhism’s most exquisite artistic traditions. Millions of grains of sand are painstakingly laid on a flat platform over a period of days to form the image of a mandala. Over the years, the monks have created sand paintings in more than 100 museums, art centers and universities throughout the United States and Europe.

The process is said to effect purification and healing on three levels. The outer level represents the world in its divine form, the inner level represents a map by which the ordinary human mind is transformed into enlightenment and the secret level depicts the balance of the subtle energies of the body and the clear light dimension of the mind.

An opening ceremony will take place on March 5 at 3 p.m. when the lamas consecrate the site and call forth the forces of goodness through chanting, music and mantra recitation. The lamas then begin the process by drawing an outline of the mandala on the wooden platform. Over the following days, they lay colored sands through traditional metal funnels called chakpurs.

A closing ceremony will be held on March 9 at noon. Traditionally, sand mandalas are destroyed shortly after completion. This is done as a metaphor for the impermanence of life. First, the sands are swept up and placed in an urn. To fulfill the function of healing, half is distributed to the audience while the remainder is carried to a nearby body of water to be scattered. The water then carries the healing blessing to the ocean; from there it spreads throughout the world for planetary healing.

A lecture, “Symbolism of the Sand Mandala,” detailing the significance of sand paintings, will be held March 5 at 5 p.m. in the Atkinson Room (232) of FSU’s Lane University Center. In this hour-long lecture, the monks’ spiritual director Geshe Lobsang Tenzin Negi will discuss how the mandala is used as an object of contemplation.

Community members may observe the monks construct the mandala. Observation hours are Sunday from 3 to 7 p.m., Monday through Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon.

For more information, contact the CES box office at 301-687-3137 or visit CES’ webpage at

The engagement of the Mystical Arts of Tibet is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts and is sponsored by the Peter and Iris Halmos Family Foundation. CES is supported by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive. An agency of the Department of Business and Economic Development, MSAC provides financial support and technical assistance to nonprofit organizations, units of government, colleges and universities for arts activities. The CES 60th Anniversary season is supported in part by the city of Frostburg and the FSU Foundation.

Situated in the mountains of Allegany County, Frostburg State University is one of the 12 institutions of the University System of Maryland. FSU is a comprehensive, residential regional university and serves as an educational and cultural center for Western Maryland. For more information, visit or Follow FSU on Twitter @frostburgstate.

FSU is committed to making all of its programs, services and activities accessible to persons with disabilities. To request accommodations through the ADA Compliance Office, call 301-687-4102 or use a Voice Relay Operator at 1-800-735-2258.


For further information on this release, contact:

Office of News and Media Services
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD  21532-2303

Telephone: 301-687-3171
Fax: 301-687-7589