Sacred Art of Tibet to be Showcased at U-Mary

Bismarck, ND - Tibetan Buddhist monk Venerable Ngawang Chojor will visit the University of Mary campus Tuesday, Sept. 21, through Friday, Sept. 24. During this time he will create a sand mandala in Chick's Place. Students, faculty and media are free to sit, watch and visit, take photos, and ask questions.

There also will be a convocation, "The Challenges of Tibetan Culture Survival," presented by Karma Tensum, director of the Tibetan Children's Education Foundation. The convocation will be held in Heskett Hall on the U-Mary campus, at 11 a.m., Sept. 23.

Admission to both the construction of the sand mandala and the convocation is free and the public is welcome.

The purpose of the visit is to educate the U-Mary community.

Mandala is a Sanskrit word meaning "circle." A mandala is a sacred art and mandalas constructed from sand are unique to Tibetan Buddhism and are believed to effect purification and healing. Typically, a great teaching chooses the specific design of the mandala to be created. Monks then begin construction of the sand mandala by consecrating the site with sacred chants and music. Next, they make detailed drawing from memory. Over a number of days, they will fill in the design with millions of grains of colored sand. At its completion, the mandala is consecrated. Buddhism stresses the impermanent nature of existence, so once the mandala is completed, the monks will destroy the mandala by sweeping up the colored grains of sand and dispersing them.

The monk's visit focuses on the University of Mary core concept of spirituality and ethics, with emphasis on the ability to assess the value and role of spirituality and religion in human societies and describe the relationship between the Benedictine values and the values of other religious traditions. In addition, the visit explores the core concept of global stewardship with emphasis on developing a greater ability to analyze the impact of contemporary, historical and cultural perspectives.