To Inspire, Transform & Heal

Linda Wiggen Kraft
Creativity for the Soul

Tibetan Monks Mandala, Non Ending

Tibetan sand mandala for peace, dove, religion symbols and umbrella

Last Weekend was the ending and non ending of the Sand Mandala for Peace created by the eight Tibetan Monks from Drepung Gomang Monastery in downtown St. Louis.   The Mandala took five days to complete. The intricate and beautiful circular shape was build grain of sand upon grain of sand.  It was swept up in the dissolution ceremony and taken to the closest body of flowing water, the Mississippi river. This ending ceremony signifies the impermanence of life.

Tibetan Monks sweet sand into jar for dissolution of mandala, St. Louis, photo by Linda Wiggen Kraft
Tibetan Monks sweep sand from mandala into jar, to be put into Mississippi River

At the mandala dissolution ceremony  the intricate design was swept up and the sand put into a jar. The sweeping began with the Monks ceremoniously circling the mandala and at first putting a finger into the sand and making a straight line from the outside to the inside.  Later brushes are  used to sweep up the sand.

A procession lead by the Monks walked over a mile through downtown St. Louis to the Mississippi river.   At the river’s  shore, a closing ceremony brought the energy of the mandala to the river to be spread throughout the world.

Tibetan Monks walk through downtown St. Louis on way to Mississippi river, photo by Linda Wiggen Kraft
Tibetan Monks in downtown St. Louis, on way to Mississippi river

One of the Monks found a large stone in the water that he could stand on.  As the water flowed around him and the sand from the mandala was poured into the flowering river the blessings of peace flowed downstream.

Across the river midwestern grain elevators hold grain that will carry the blessings of this sand mandala of peace and take them to the far reaches of the world.

Tibetan Monk pours sand from mandala into Mississippi River, St. Louis, photo by Linda Wiggen Kraft
Tibetan Monk pours sand from Mandala into Mississippi SAND MANDALA OF PEACE

The design  was blessed by and encouraged by  the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the Drepung Gomang Monks.  Unlike many traditional sand mandalas created in Tibetan Buddhism, this one was specifically designed to bring peace. The center of the mandala shows a white dove on the earth with a flower and olive branches.  The next ring shows the symbols of many of the worlds religions.  Surrounding this is a circle of many different colors of people holding hands embracing the religious wisdom of the spiritual traditions of others.

completed sand mandala for peace by Tibetan Monks in St. Louis
Completed Sand Mandala for Peace, before dissolution ceremony

The circle of images  surrounding the people of many colors shows the four seasons and four elements.   On the bottom is a mountain scene in fall. Going clockwise, next is the element of fire, mountains in summer with flowers blooming, the element air is shown in a scene with prayer flags blowing in the wind, winter shows snow on the mountains, the earth element is shown with a yak pulling a plow through the soil, spring blooming trees cover the mountains, and to complete the circle the element of water shows a sea with sailboats and a sunset.  Surrounding the circle of elements and seasons are the eight auspicious symbols of Buddhism.  And the final outer ring shows rays of energy coming in from the sun and the energy of the mandala going into the world.

May the rays of peace flow outward into the world from all hearts, just as the rays of peace of this sand mandala have blessed St. Louis and beyond.

Tibetan sand mandala Conch Shell Auspicious Symbol, photo by Linda Wiggen Kraft
Conch Shell Auspicious Symbol and Air Element
Tibetan sand mandala Victory Banner Auspicious Symbol, Summer Season, photo by Linda Wiggen Kraft
Victory Banner Auspicious Symbol and Summer Season
Tibetan sand mandala detail Treasure Vase Auspicious symbol photo by Linda Wiggen Kraft
Treasure Vase Auspicious Symbol and Water Element
Tibetan sand mandala detail Endless Knot Auspicious Symbol photo by Linda Wiggen Kraft
Endless Knot Auspicious Symbols and Fire Element
Tibetan sand mandala Parasol Auspicious Symbol, Fall Season photo by Linda Wiggen Kraft
Parasol Auspicious Symbol and Fall Season
Tibetan sand mandala golden fish auspicious symbol and winter mountain scene, photo by Linda Wiggen Kraft
 Golden Fish Auspicious Symbol and Winter Season
Tibetan sand mandala details wheel of dharma, photo Linda Wiggen Kraft
Wheel of Dharma Auspicious Symbol and Spring Season
Tibetan sand mandala detail showing lotus auspicious symbol and earth element, photo by Linda Wiggen Kraft
Lotus flower Auspicious Symbol and Earth Element
Tibetan Monks on shore of Mississippi River in St. Louis after putting sand from mandala into river, photo by Linda Wiggen Kraft
Tibetan Monks sitting on shore of Mississippi after sand from mandala was poured into river

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