Tibetan Buddhist Monks Begin Ritual for World Peace

unitycville.org, Sep 02, 2013

Charlottesville, Virginia (USA) -- A group of Tibetan Buddhist monks from northern India is beginning a six-day ritual for world peace in a Charlottesville church. The sand mandala kicks off a week of events on Tibetan life and culture.

Charlottesville is a stop on the Tashi Kyil refugee monastery's national tour to educate people on Tibetan teachings. The monks started the ritualized art form in front of an audience of all ages Sunday. An opening ceremony welcomed guests at Unity of Charlottesville with meditation. 

"Tibetan Buddhists they symbolically put that state of ultimate, highest state of being, enlightened state of being into such art form and to refresh followers," Piedmont Virginia Community College instructor Tenzing Thosam said.

The seven Tashi Kyil monks from northern India started working on a peace mandala Sunday - using Tibetan tools to funnel colored sand into an intricate design.

"We believe this is a guideline and refresh their understanding and re-enhance their appreciation about world peace," Thosam said.

Mandala is the Sanskrit word for the place where enlightened Buddhist beings live.  At the heart of the wooden board is a symbol for great compassion.

"Great compassion in Tibetan Buddhism - that's the start of everything, all the good deeds and the happiness and the harmony, everything," Thosam said.

The monks want to teach the community about values such as appreciation, kindness, and tolerance through their artwork at the Charlottesville church.

"This is with the support of the Dalai Lama and many other places such as ourselves to be able to support these ancient traditions and to keep them from dying out and to share wisdom that they have with us," Reverend Don Lansky said.

It's a tradition that serves as a reminder to strive for world peace, one grain of sand at a time.

"We hope that each individual can be inspired by the art, by our energies, our motivation, our dedication," Thosam said.

The monks will also be participating in lectures and prayers throughout the week. If you are interested in checking out the sand mandala or other events, please visit: