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Tibetan Buddhist monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery in Atlanta will construct a sand mandala at the McClung Museum beginning at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, September 22, and concluding at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, September 25.

The construction of sand mandalas is a tradition of Tantric Buddhism. To create one, millions of grains of colored sand are painstakingly laid into place on a flat platform over a period of days or weeks. To date, the monks have created mandala sand paintings in more than 100 museums, art centers, and colleges and universities in the United States and Europe.

The mandala sand painting begins with an opening ceremony, during which the monks consecrate the site and call forth the forces of goodness. This is done by means of chanting, music and mantra recitation. This ceremony will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on September 22 and is open to the public.

Traditionally most sand mandalas are destroyed shortly after their completion. This is done 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. The waters then carry the healing blessing to the ocean, and from there it spreads throughout the world for planetary healing. The closing ceremony will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on September 25.

The public is also invited to participate in the creation of a community sand mandala at the museum. This activity will take place from at 1:00 p.m. on September 22 to 11:00 a.m. on September 25.Those wishing to participate may visit the museum between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Wednesday, September 23, through Thursday, September 24. School groups or other groups wishing to participate should call 865-974-2144 for a reservation.

This special event is presented in part by Three Rivers Market. For more information, visit the museum’s event page.

This event is planned in conjunction with the museum’s fall exhibition, Embodying Enlightenment: Buddhist Art of the Himalayas, which runs through January 3, 2016.

Additional parking information is available online.


Cat Shteynberg (865-974-6921,

Debbie Woodiel (865-974-2144,