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The Sacred Art of Sand Mandala: An ancient Tibetan tradition comes to Sedona

Updated: Jan 9

Experience a unique and ancient form of Tibetan art in Sedona this March! Monks from the Gaden Shartse Monastery in South India will be visiting Sedona to perform their U.S. Sacred Arts of Tibet Tour, including a demonstration of their creation of a sand mandala. This centuries-old practice, still held sacred by Tibetan Buddhists, is an intricate and colorful art form made up of millions of grains of sand arranged in intricate designs. The monks will explain the spiritual significance of the mandala, and why it is destroyed shortly after it is completed.

Introducing the monks of Gaden Shartse Monastery

Gaden Shartse Monastery, located in south India, is one of the oldest and most respected Buddhist monasteries in the world. Established in 1409 by the great Tibetan master Tsong Khapa, Gaden Shartse is known for its authentic teachings, sacred practice of meditation, and beautiful artwork. This March, monks from Gaden Shartse are embarking on their Sacred Arts of Tibet Tour in the United States, and will be making a stop in Sedona.

The monks bring with them centuries of knowledge and wisdom and the ability to create beautiful works of art. These include thangkas, scroll paintings that are used in ritual ceremonies and prayers, as well as sand mandalas, intricate geometric designs made from millions of grains of colored sand.

The monks have devoted their lives to study and contemplation and are happy to share their teachings with those who are interested. It is an honor to host such revered teachers and an incredible opportunity to experience the power and beauty of Tibetan culture through these special practices.

What is a sand mandala?

A sand mandala is an intricate and ancient Tibetan tradition that has been practiced for centuries. It is an artistic representation of the universe, which the monks from Gaden Shartse Monastery create by placing millions of grains of colored sand on a flat platform in a specific pattern. The mandala is created to evoke compassion, healing, and transformation in viewers.

The mandala is symbolic of the journey to enlightenment, with each pattern representing different aspects of Buddhist philosophy. According to tradition, when the sand mandala is completed it is destroyed, symbolizing the impermanence of all things and the ultimate truth that we are all connected.