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Compassion Week to Feature Sand Mandala’s Creation

April 22, 2019 — Six Tibetan Buddhist monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery in India will create a sand mandala during their April 22–26 stay at NMH. 

Their visit is the centerpiece of NMH’s Compassion Week. It also features a panel discussion with representatives from several spiritual traditions, and a “Day of Care” keynote talk by Dr. Wilfredo Giordano-Perez ’04 titled “Walking the Camino: How I learned to Embrace Simplicity, Allow for Balance and Time for Reflection.” NMH students can participate in projects aimed at caring for themselves and others. 

As when Tibetan Buddhist monks came to campus a decade ago, this visit is part of NMH’s comprehensive world religions curriculum. In addition to forming important connections with our humanities courses, the wider NMH community will have the opportunity to talk about worldviews, spirituality, and relevant global issues. 

Starting on April 22, the monks will create an intricate mandala dedicated to the bodhisattva of compassion. Millions of grains of sand will be painstakingly laid in place, one by one, on a flat platform, using a traditional funnel and rod to distribute the sand. The finished mandala represents the world in its divine form, and the monks believe creating it generates energies for global healing.

NMH students may interact with the monks individually and during class visits to Grandin Auditorium, where the mandala will take shape. 

On April 23, a 6:30 pm panel discussion on compassion will feature faculty and invited guests from faith traditions including Judaism, Islam, Christianity, and Buddhism.

On April 26 at 1:50 pm, the monks will dismantle the mandala during a closing ceremony, and deposit the sand in Shadow Lake. This act is a metaphor for the impermanence of life, and is believed to disperse the mandala’s healing energies throughout the world.

The monks’ visit to NMH is sponsored by The Ed and Ginny Brooks Speaker Series and the CDQ Charitable Trust.