MANDALA OF HEALING
Indianapolis, Indiana USA, May 19, 2009
Kanwal Prakash Singh
It was a joy to watch the Tibetan Buddhist Monks from the Drepung
Gomang Monastery in South India on another visit to Indianapolis
to create the sacred Mandala of Healing in the Sanctuary of St.
Luke’s United Methodist Church. The creation of this beautiful
Mandala was one of their presentations during their several appearances
and “Music and Sacred Dance Pageants” at St. Luke’s
Church, community events, and at IUPUI Indianapolis.
The Monks, as always, brought their message and personal testimony
of peace, compassion, non-violent conflict resolution to each event
during their visit, including the creation of a Sand Mandala of
Healing, and cultural performances featuring traditional Tibetan
dancing, Buddhist chanting, and music. The Monks’ presentations,
while introducing us to Tibetan Buddhist spirituality and culture,
also provide us a testimony of goodwill towards all living beings
and echo affirmation of spiritual lessons and wisdom in other faith
The traditional sacred Mandalas are a visual spiritual invitation
to meditation, reflection, and greater understanding; they are visual
tapestries for learning, spiritual lessons and awakening, and take
us on pilgrimages of spirit to peace, healing, and enlightened state
During the long and patient creation of the Sand Mandala of Healing
over three days, we witnessed matchless devotion, inner joy, and
humility; a sense of dedication and surrender to a higher Power
as they laboriously filled the various elements of a carefully thought-out
Mandala design with colored sands. The Mandala created in the spacious
Sanctuary of the beautiful St. Luke’s reflected grace, beauty,
and an invitation to reflect on the mystery of life and its impermanent
nature. The beautiful Mandala, dedicated with prayers and chants,
was dismantled at the end and the sacred “ashes” were
carried in a processional for immersion in a creek near the Church
amidst farewell prayers, music and chants.
In their chants and in their silence, the Monks are teaching us
about the power of spirit, reflection, meditation, and respect for
all Creation. They personify deep devotion and dispassion about
the temporal attractions and attachments; radiate pure joy and a
deep sense of compassion for all living beings; and create a sacred
space by their presence, music, dance, and chants.
The Sand Mandalas are spiritual mosaics, beautiful works of art
made from grains of colored sand. Each element of the Mandala design:
flowers, birds, images of Deities, geometrical shapes, script, and
motifs from Nature, our Universe, and imagination, and their inspired
placement in vibrant natural colors into a carefully interwoven
magnificent artwork, is rich with symbolism and spiritual message.
It evokes many emotions, reveals much about our fascination with
life, matters of spirit, and wonders and gateways to the worlds
that we have not seen nor fully understand.
The Mandala is meditation and prayer personified and visualized.
There is something universal and unifying in its spiritual message
and visual representations. The experience of Mandala creation,
formal dedication, and dismantling leaves us in awe, blessed, and
deeply reflective about matters of faith, life and afterlife, and
our place and response to this mystery.
The Tibetan Buddhist Monks’ nationwide tour is sponsored
by Friends of Drepung Gomang Monastery and the Indianapolis visit
was sponsored by ITIM and co-sponsored by St. Luke’s United
Methodist Church, IUPUI, Unitarian Universalist Church of Indianapolis,
Indianapolis Peace Institute, and NUVO Newsweekly.