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Lighthouse ArtCenter Features” The Sacred Art of Sand Mandala” by the Tibetan Monks of Drepung Gomang Monastery

The Lighthouse ArtCenter is bringing The Sacred Art of Sand Mandalas by The Tibetan Monks of Drepung Gomang Monastery to Southeast Florida.  The Rickie Report shares the history, meaning and significance of mandalas in this article.  The public will have many opportunities to share in this experience.  Here are the details and some photos.  We urge you to make the time to attend some or all of these events.  Bring children!  What a wonderful way to share in this rich experience.



The Tibetan Monks


Drepung Gomang Monastery


February 9 – 15th

373 Tequesta Drive    Tequesta, FL  33469



Sacred Arts Tour

Sacred Arts Tour


The monks of Drepung Gomang are sharing the compassion and wisdom of Tibetan Buddhism, to demonstrate the artistic accomplishments of the people of Tibet, and to generate funds to insure the survival of the Tibetan culture. Drepung Gomang Monastery uses all donations and proceeds from the sale of Tibetan crafts and jewelry to house, feed, and educate everyone wishing to study at this monastic center of higher learning, including orphans and refugees fleeing Chinese-occupied Tibet. The monastery is working to establish a Food Foundation Fund, which will help the monastery provide a continuous food supply to the student monks in years to come. Please remember and embrace that they are refugees from Tibet. After this year-long tour, they cannot return to their own country…they have a monastery in India that they will return to.


LACTibetan Monks REV


 Stop by, Participate and Experience


Colored Sands

Colored Sands


The monks will be at the Museum working on the compassion sand mandala, Tuesday through Sunday, arriving at about 9:45 a.m. every day.  They will begin chanting at 10, and work on the mandala until 3:30, when they chant again. The public is invited to join them during their chanting time.


Monday February 9:  Opening Ceremony is from 7 to 9 p.m.


At the Opening Ceremony, the monks will chant powerful prayers for peace, prosperity, and healing in traditional overtones—the chant master intoning a full chord of three notes. Their chants will be accompanied by delicate hand gestures, cymbals, drums, horns, and flutes.


Tuesday February 10:  Culinary Evening is from 5:30-9 pm.  

Wednesday:  SOLD OUT Culinary Evening 

Thursday February 12: The monks will be going to Port Salerno to bless the Fish House in the evening

Saturday February 14: Family Sand Painting Workshop is from 1 to 2:30 p.m. in the Museum

Sunday February 15:   Closing Ceremony begins at 2:00 p.m.  at the Museum.

At the Dissolution Ceremony, the mandala will be deconstructed and the sands will be dispersed in the Indian River after a short journey by car to the Jupiter Lighthouse. Mandalas are destroyed at the end of the ritual as a symbol of the impermanence of all phenomena, and to spread the healing energy of the Mandala to all of creation.

At about 3:30, the monks will have a formal procession out to their van, and we will all gather with them at the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse at the Coast Guard Beach as the monks bless the waterway.

Drawing The Lines

Drawing The Lines



What is a Mandala? 

The Mandala, Tibetan sand painting, is an ancient art form of Tibetan Buddhism. The mandala is a Sanskrit word meaning cosmogram or “world in harmony.” Mandalas are drawings in three-dimensional forms of sand. In Tibetan, this art is called dul-tson-kyilkhor which means “mandala of colored powders.”


Sand painting is an ancient Tibetan art form. The sand mandala is carefully constructed from dyed sand particles to represent the particular esoteric, textual traditions of Buddhism. It is a transient art form, thought to have originated in India and been transferred in the middle ages to Tibet. The sand mandala is constructed as vehicle to generate compassion, realize the impermanence of reality, and a social/cosmic healing of the environment.



Chanting and Preparation

Chanting and Preparation


In Tibetan Buddhism, a mandala is an imaginary palace that is contemplated during meditation. Each object in the palace has significance, representing some aspect of wisdom or reminding the meditator of some guiding principle. Various scriptural texts dictate the shapes, forms, and colors of the mandala. There are many different mandalas, each with different lessons to teach and blessings to confer. Most mandalas contain a host of deities, symbolic archetypes of the landscape of the mind.


Among the Tibetan arts, painting with colored sand ranks as one of the most unique and exquisite. Millions of grains of colored sand are painstakingly laid into place on a flat platform over a period of several days, forming an intricate diagram of the enlightened mind and the ideal world.  In ancient times, powdered precious and semi-precious gems were also used. When finished, to symbolize the impermanence of all that exists, the colored sands are swept up and poured into a nearby river or stream where the waters carry the healing energies throughout the world.

Using the colored sands

Using the colored sands


More About Mandalas


In general, all mandalas have outer, inner, and secret meaning. On the outer level they represent the world in its divine form; on the inner level, they represent a map by which the ordinary human mind is transformed into the enlightened mind; and on the secret level, they predict the primordially perfect balance of the subtle energies of the body and the clear light dimension of the mind. The creation of a sand painting is said to affect purification and healing on these three levels.



Creating the mandala

Creating the mandala


Every tantric system has its own mandala, and thus each one symbolizes an existential and spiritual approach. For example, that of Lord Avalokiteshvara symbolizes compassion as a central focus of the spiritual experience; that of Lord Manjushri takes wisdom as the central focus; and that of Vajrapani emphasizes the need for courage and strength in the quest for sacred knowledge. Medicine Buddha mandalas are created to generate powers of healing.


The creation of a sand mandala begins with an opening ceremony. Monks consecrate the site and call forth the forces of goodness through chanting mantras accompanied by flutes, drums and cymbals. The construction of the mandala begins with the drawing of the design on the base, or tek-pu. The artists measure out and draw the architectural lines using a straight-edged ruler, compass and ink pen.


Finishing the mandala

Finishing the mandala


The mandala is a formal geometric pattern showing the floor plan of a sacred mansion. Once the diagram is drawn, in the following days you see millions of grains of colored sand painstakingly laid into place. The sand, colored with vegetable dyes or opaque tempera, is poured onto the mandala platform with a narrow metal funnel called a “chakpur” which is scraped by another metal rod to cause sufficient vibration for the grains of sand to trickle out of its end. The two “chakpurs” are said to symbolize the union of wisdom and compassion. The mandalas are created whenever a need for healing of the environment and living beings is felt.


The monks consider our present age to be one of great need in this respect, and therefore are creating these mandalas where requested throughout their world tours. When finished, to symbolize the impermanence of all that exists, the colored sands are swept up and poured into a nearby river or stream where the waters carry healing energies throughout the world.


Culinary Evening

Culinary Evening with the Monks



For more information

For information about Drepung Gomang Monastery and their North American tour is available on their website: and

For a Description of the ceremonies and setting up the site where the Mandala will be created:


Please visit the Lighthouse ArtCenter’s website for more in depth information about upcoming exhibits and classes.


For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact The Rickie Report at:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher

The Rickie Report

P.O.Box 33423

Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420


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