Creating the sand mandala are (from left) Dhondup Tsering, Geshe Tenzin Demchok, Thiley Dorjee and Ngawang Tashi.
Creating the sand mandala are (from left) Dhondup Tsering, Geshe Tenzin Demchok, Thiley Dorjee and Ngawang Tashi.

Sand mandala starts with a journey

The sand has come all the way from the Himalayas and the Tibetan monks have travelled from a monastery in South India.

Their journey has brought  them to Byron Bay where they are creating two sand mandalas – a sacred geometric pattern that guides individuals along the path to enlightenment.

The four monks and a translator, from the Dapka Khangtsa Drepung Loselling monastery, are in town at the invitation of the World Maitreya Karuna Foundation of Australia which is based in Byron Bay.

The foundation was set up by head monk Geshe Tenzin Demchok to support the monastery.

Foundation secretary Simon Menlove said the foundation was hoping to buy some land in the Byron Bay hinterland to build a Tibetan monastery.

“We are hoping that the land may be donated and then Tibetan monks from South India will come to Byron Bay to continue their spiritual journey and to conduct meditation courses,” he said.

“It would be great for the local community.”

The sand mandalas are being created upstairs in the Byron Bay Community Centre.

The intricate and delicate mandalas, the design of which is first drawn up in chalk, are made up of layer upon layer of pure fine sand which is dyed and then poured into a ‘zombu’ or copper cone.

The cone has a fine hole in the bottom and the monks then tap on the cone, releasing the fine sand.

Simon said that each mandala, which takes seven to nine days to complete, represented a different energy, and the two mandalas being created represented world peace and protection and good luck.

A closing ceremony will be held on Saturday (Jan 30) starting at the community centre at 3pm.

The ceremony will include prayers, chanting and the destruction of the sand mandalas.

“The mandalas will be swept up by the monks and the sand put into containers,” Simon said.

“We will then walk to Main Beach where the sand will be released into the water.”

For more information on the mandalas or the foundation, go to www.wmkfaustralia.org or call Simon on 0410640646.

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