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Tibetan Monks to Construct Sand Mandala at St. Norbert College Beginning April 9

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From St. Norbert College, March 29, 2018
by Mike Counter,, 920-403-3089

Tibetan Buddhist monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery will construct a mandala sand painting April 9-13 at St. Norbert College's Norman Miller Center for Peace, Justice and Public Understanding. The opening ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. on Monday, April 9, and the closing ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. on Friday, April 13. The opening and closing ceremonies are free and open to the public. All are welcome to view the mandala painting during its construction in person or online via a live-stream video at
Other events during the week of the mandala sand painting construction include:

"The Symbolism of the Sand Mandala" Lecture

On Tuesday, April 10, at 6 p.m. in the Fort Howard Theatre of the Bemis International Center, 299 Third St., De Pere, the monks will present a lecture exploring the mandala as a sacred cosmogram used as an object of contemplation, how it depicts the pure nature of the world we live in and how we can live most effectively.

"The Mystical Arts of Tibet" Sacred Music and Dance Performance

On Thursday, April 12, at 6 p.m. in Walter Theatre, Abbot Pennings Hall of Fine Arts, 315 Third St., De Pere, the Tibetan monks will give a sacred music and dance performance. Robed in elaborate costumes and playing traditional Tibetan instruments, the monks will perform ancient temple music and dance for world healing.

Mandala is a Sanskrit word meaning "sacred cosmogram." Mandalas can be created in various media, such as watercolor on canvas and wood carvings, or in the especially vivid medium of colored sand. Millions of grains of sand are painstakingly laid into place on a flat platform over a period of days or weeks to form the image of a mandala. The monks begin by drawing an outline of the mandala on the wooden platform, on which they lay the colored sand. Each monk holds a traditional metal funnel while running a metal rod on its grated surface and the vibration causes the sands to flow like liquid onto the platform.

Traditionally, most sand mandalas are destroyed shortly after their completion as a metaphor for the impermanence of life. The sand is swept up and placed in an urn. To fulfill the function of healing, half is distributed to the audience at the closing ceremony, while the remainder is carried to a nearby body of water where it is deposited so that the waters carry the healing blessing to the ocean and then out into the world for planetary healing. To date, the monks have created sand mandala paintings in more than 100 museums, art centers, colleges and universities across the United States and Europe. They were also featured in an episode of the Netflix original series "House of Cards."

For more information, contact Catherine Uedelhofen at 920-403-3919 or

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