Mandala magic returns to Ulladulla

A Tibetan monk prepares a sand mandala

A Tibetan monk prepares a sand mandala while working in the Ulladulla Civic Centre during a previous visit to the region in 2009. Milton Ulladulla Times/Stuart Carless

Milton Ulladulla Times

ON THE WEB, 25 June 2013

Patience and painstaking precision will come together to create a thing of beauty in Ulladulla later this week.

A group of Tibetan monks from a monastery in southern India is arriving in Ulladulla [a coastal town in New South Wales, Australia] tomorrow to begin work on a sand mandala, using coloured grains of sand each individually placed in position over four day to create a picture of significance to their Buddhist teachings.

Residents are encouraged to attend each day to watch the mandala’s progress at the Dunn Lewis Centre.

Made to strict traditional guidelines, the design the mandala is a reminder of the cycle of life and death, while generating positive energy to benefit all living beings.

After it is completed, the mandala will simply be swept away in a matter of seconds in a dissolution ceremony to symbolise the finite nature of all things.

After the mandala is swept away the monks will parade through Ulladulla to the harbour on Sunday to return some of the sand to the natural environment, while small proportions will also be distributed to the public.

Each of the monks taking part escaped Tibet by taking about a month to walk over the Himalayas, into Nepal and then on to India to reach the monastery.

Most monks still have family in Tibet and rely on donations to support the many refugees they assist.

Geshe Sonam Thargye, director of Nying Jey Projects for Tibetan Communities (Australia) invited the monks to Australia to share some of the most distinctive aspects of Tibetan culture, to promote peace and cross-cultural relationships and to repay the kindness of Australians who help to keep the monastery going through donations.

The monks have completed their 15-year geshe degrees — equivalent to a PhD in Buddhist philosophy and for most of them, the trip to Australia was their first plane flight.

This is the fifth time Ulladulla has hosted groups of visiting Tibetan monks — more than many far larger regional centres.

Along the preparing the sand mandala, the monks will offer a number of enlightening experiences including a public talk of the four noble truths, along with chanting meditations each morning and guided meditations on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

Geshe Sonam Thargye, who invited His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Australia this year, will be conducting one of the guided meditation sessions at 10.15am on the weekend and will be giving a public talk on Saturday evening at the Manjushri Buddhist Centre in Milton at 7:30 pm.

“The aim of this visit is not to convert people to Buddhism” said Manjushri Buddhist Centre president Ben Adcock.

“It is an amazing chance for people to experience Tibetan Buddhist culture and come away feeling better within themselves.
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“There are some really good messages in the talk, teachings and meditations and we are encouraging everyone to come along, meet the monks and enjoy some of the experiences they offer.”

There will be a stall offering handicrafts made mainly by Tibetan refugees who use the money raised to support themselves, their families in Tibet and to sponsor the work of the monks.

Information on opportunities to sponsor monks or their students also will be available at the stall.

Copyright © 2013 Fairfax Media Published in Milton Ulladulla Times Posted in Features » Tags: , , ,