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Like sand in a mandala ...

Monastic arts focus on healing


Tibetan monks work on a mandala. Just don't sneeze.
  • Tibetan monks work on a mandala. Just don't sneeze.

All things being relative, the Tibetan Buddhist monks from the Dreprung Loseling Monastery are rock stars.

Their unique "multiphonic" chanting, which consists of each chant leader simultaneously sounding three tones, has landed them spots on Hollywood movie soundtracks and stage appearances with artists such as Paul Simon and the Beastie Boys. They're currently on a tour backed by the Dalai Lama and booked by everyone's favorite Buddhist celebrity, Richard Gere.

While their skills have earned them fame, their monastic practices focus on ending suffering and bringing forth enlightenment; their art is equal parts worship and creative practice.

Over three days at the Fine Arts Center, the monks will create a ceremonial sand painting, or mandala. The creation of a mandala is a painstaking process, during which the highly trained monks manipulate fine grains of colored sand through slender tubes to create complicated and vibrantly colorful geometric patterns.

Both the creation of the mandala and the completion of its intricate designs call upon the practice of concentrated meditation. Their sacred chant and dance, performed in a holistic environment, heighten the attention necessary for meditation on this scale.

The ultimate goal? Oh, just peace, the end of suffering on Earth, and ultimate enlightenment. You know, the usual.

If you want to check out the mandala, you'd better do it quickly. As a reminder of the impermanence of human life, it's destroyed soon after it's completed.


The Mystic Arts of Tibet

Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, El Pomar Gallery,

30 W. Dale St.

Mandala creation: Sunday, April 9, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Monday, April 10, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Tuesday, April 11, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closing ceremony on Tuesday, April 11, 6 p.m.

Free (except for opening reception, $100-$125); call

634-5581 for more information.

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