Tibetan Buddhist Monks Return to Crow Collection of Asian Art

Monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery constructing a mandala sand painting. (Image courtesy Crow Collection of Asian Art)

Dallas Art News
Posted Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Millions of grains of colored, crushed marble will be laid into place in this ancient spiritual art form to generate energies for global healing; family activities planned throughout week

Tibetan Buddhist monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery will return to the Crow Collection of Asian Art for a week-long artist residency to construct a magnificent Tantric Buddhist mandala sand painting. During the week, millions of grains of colored, crushed marble will be painstakingly laid into place in this ancient spiritual art form to generate energies for global healing. This year, 10 monks and one interpreter will construct the Akshobhya mandala, or The Unshakable Victor, symbolizing a wish for conflict resolution and peace.

In conjunction with the monks’ visit, activities will be planned including free family fun at AdventureAsia, meditation with the monks, mystical music at a special Silk Road Lounge event and more. Visitors also can tour the new free exhibition Tibet: The Land Closest to the Sky, Photographs by Marc Riboud.

About Mandala Sand Paintings

Formed of a traditional prescribed iconography that includes geometric shapes and a multitude of ancient spiritual symbols, the sand-painted mandala is used as a tool for re-consecrating the earth and its inhabitants. The lamas begin the work by drawing an outline of the mandala on the wooden platform, which requires the remainder of the day. The following days see the laying of the colored sands, which is effected by pouring the sand from traditional metal funnels called chak-pur. Each monk holds a chak-pur in one hand, while running a metal rod on its grated surface; the vibration causes the sands to flow like liquid.

Traditionally most sand mandalas are destroyed shortly after their completion, as a metaphor of the impermanence of life. The sands are swept up and placed in an urn. To fulfill the function of healing, half is distributed to the audience at the closing ceremony, while the remainder is carried to a nearby body of water and deposited. The waters then carry the healing blessing to the ocean, and from there it spreads throughout the world for planetary healing.


The opening ceremony for the weeklong ritual will be from 1 – 2 p.m. Saturday, October 2. This is a good time to attend as the event is visually and acoustically appealing, often attracting large crowds. Dismantling of the mandala sand painting will be from 1 – 3 p.m. Saturday, October 9.

From Monday through Friday, the monks will work on the mandala sand painting around five hours each day. NOTE: Because the monks’ schedules will vary day to day, please call Carrie Ford (512-663-6798) at the Crow Collection to confirm the best times to attend and to insure that a spokesperson is available.

Highlighted Events Below

(See detailed schedule at http://www.crowcollection.com/pdf/mysticalArtsTibet_schedule.pdf. Note: Some events require tickets and/or reservations.)

Saturday, October 2 – Opening Day
AdventureAsia: Family Days at the Crow
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Fun family activities inspired by the traditions of Tibet will include create-your-own sand paintings, prayer flags and Tibetan friendship scarves; face painting; community mandala; and more. Activities are free, but donations to the Drepung Loseling Monastery are greatly appreciated.

The Mystical Arts of Tibet Opening Ceremony
1 – 2 p.m.

The monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery will perform an ancient ritual and blessing of the space to prepare for the creation of the mandala sand painting. Seating is limited; $15 for Friends of the Crow Collection and students, $30 for public. Reservations are required; call 214-979-6435. Following the opening ceremony, the monks will partake in a special group blessing for children and then immediately begin drawing the line design for the mandala.

Thursday, October 7, from 7-9 p.m.
Silk Road Lounge: Sacred Music Sacred Dance

SPECIAL EVENT (NOTE TIME AND LOCATION: This month, Silk Road Lounge will be from 7 – 9 p.m. at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.)
See a rare special performance by the monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery. Seating is limited. Admission is $5 for students, $15 for Friends of the Crow Collection and $20 for the public. Reservations required. Visit crowcollection.org or call 214-979-6435.

Saturday, October 9, from 1-3 p.m.
Dismantling of mandala sand painting

In a ceremony representing the impermanence of all that exists, the monks will dismantle the sand mandala. Following the ceremony, the sand will be dispersed at Turtle Creek in Dallas. Admission is $15 for Friends of the Crow Collection and students, and $30 for the public. Limited seating; reservations required. Call 214-979-6435.


Crow Collection of Asian Art located at 2010 Flora St., Dallas 75201 (NOTE: This month’s Silk Road Lounge event will be from 7 – 9 p.m. at Booker T. Washington High School located at 2501 Flora St., Dallas 75201).


Validated parking for media is available for the Trammell Crow Center Garage (accessible from Harwood or Olive streets). Upon arrival, please check in at the front desk of the museum.



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