Tibetan Buddhist monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery return for a residency at Bud Werner Library, where they will create a Mandala Sand Painting from Tuesday, Aug. 9 through Sunday, Aug. 14 in Library Hall. Steamboat Springs residents and visitors will have first-hand experience with a rare and beautiful art form that travels here from the high Himalayas as the monks lay down millions of grains of colorful sand to form an intricate mandala image.
About the 2022 Mandala Sand Painting
Mandala Sand Painting is an ancient art form designed to purify and heal the environment and its inhabitants. From all the artistic traditions of Tantric Buddhism, painting with colored sand ranks as one of the most unique and exquisite. For 2022, the monks will create an Akshobya mandala. Akshobya is the unshakable victor of conflict resolution and peace. This mandala is created to transform negativity into insight stability. This is one of the mandala sand paintings that were made in the wake of 9/11.
The Mandala Sand Painting begins with an opening ceremony for the community, during which the monks bless the site and call forth the forces of goodness with chanting, music and mantra recitation. They then draw an outline of the mandala on their wooden platform using chalk, compass and string. The monks spend the following days skillfully placing colored grains of sand using a traditional metal funnel called a chakpur while running a metal rod along its ribbed surface. The vibration causes the sands to flow like liquid onto the platform.
The mandala ends with a tradition that illustrates the impermanence of life: The monks destroy their Mandala Sand Paintings shortly after completion. The colorful sands are swept up and placed in an urn during a closing ceremony – after which the monks will lead the community outside along the riverbank and the sands will be sent ceremoniously down the Yampa River to carry a healing blessing to the ocean and the rest of the world.
Mandala on the Yampa enrichment
In addition to the mandala, the monks will perform Sacred Music and Chants for Peace and Healing at Strings Music Festival, host a community blessing puja at Perry-Mansfield, lead a community guided meditation at the Yampa River Botanic Park, and offer two free talks during their time in Steamboat. A Community Sand Painting designed by local artist Jill Bergman will provide everyone an opportunity try their hands at this delicate art as well.
All of the Mandala on the Yampa events are listed below. Download the one-page printable PDF of the Schedule:
Documenting the 2022 Mandala on the Yampa
In addition to all the events posted below, this page will serve as the entryway to our 2022 Mandala on the Yampa Blog (individual entries will appear at the bottom of this page), where the library will post photos of the mandala's progression, stories from the residency and information for a deeper dive.