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Tibetan Monks return to create sand mandala in Paso Robles 

Colored sand is gently tapped out of metal funnels onto the mat. Photo from 2015 by Skye Pratt.

Sacred Arts Tour set for Aug. 7 through Sept. 8

– A group of Tibetan Monks from the Drepung Gomang Monastery Sacred Arts Tour 2017 are arriving in Paso Robles August 22-26. They will be creating large and elaborate Sand Mandala Paintings; performing Cultural Pageants that will include song, dance and elaborate costumes; demonstrating fascinating debates that the monks use to sharpen their critical thinking skills; and exhibiting their Tibetan Crafts.

The center piece at each of the five locations is the multi day construction of a Sand Mandala with elaborate opening and closing ceremonies that will draw a crowd. Dates of the Mandalas are listed below (typically visitors are welcome 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily).

Details of events: location and community hosts are listed below:

August 7-13 Sacred Chenrezig Compassion Mandala, Santa Barbara Alhecama Theatre
Announcing Santa Barbara Peace Week 2017
Contact Name Number: Joseph Bottoms (805) 729-0622
Highlights: Opening/Closing Ceremonies, daily peace walks, crafts workshops, art gatherings, cultural performance, lectures, film, and sale of fair trade Tibetan goods.

August 15-18 Green Tara Mandala, Kind David’s Masonic Lodge, San Luis Obispo
Contact, David Georgi, (805) 458-5575
Highlights: Opening/Closing Ceremonies, cultural performance, lectures, and sale of fair trade Tibetan goods.

August 22-26 Medicine Buddha Mandala, EarthTones Gifts & Gallery Paso Robles
Contact, Mary Uebersax (805) 238-4413
Highlights: Opening/Closing Ceremonies, daily meditation walks, lectures, PRAA arts and crafts workshop, Spice of Life lunch with the monks, Evening Tea Puja at Wilwand Teas, and sale of fair trade Tibetan goods.

August 28-31 World Peace Mandala, Cuesta College, Performing Arts Center, SLO;
Contact, Bree Valle, (805) 710-2502
Highlights: Opening/Closing Ceremony, Mandala viewing, guest lecturers, and sale of fair trade Tibetan Goods.

September 4-8 Medicine Buddha Mandala, Foxworthy Gallery Hancock College Sta. Maria;
Contact, Marti Fast, (866) 342-5245 Ext. 3465
Highlights: Opening/Closing Ceremony, Mandala viewing, guest lecturers, and sale of fair trade Tibetan Goods.

Sand paintings are an ancient art form of Tibetan Buddhism. Mandala is a Sanskrit word meaning cosmogram or “world in harmony.” Drawn in three-dimensional forms of sand this art is called dul-tson-kyil-khor signifying “mandala of colored powders” in Tibetan. The mandala is an imaginary palace contemplated during meditation. Each object in the design has significance, representing some aspect of wisdom or guiding principle. Various scriptural texts dictate the shapes, forms, and colors of the mandala. There are many different mandalas, each with different lessons to teach and blessings to confer. Most contain a host of deities, symbolic archetypes of the landscape of the mind.

The entire U.S. Tour is led by Geshe Lobsang Yowten. Having taken his vows in 1988 he will be overseeing all the ceremonies and prayer chants and Buddhist rituals. He will also be coordinating with local cultural, educational and interfaith centers to provide Buddhist teachings and talks and participate in discussions, blessings, and meditations.

Each type of Mandala has a special and traditional wish and meditations based on traditional beliefs. Patience is involved as the intricate designs are laid out with pieces of colored sand. At the end, the sand and design are swept away. With hundreds of visitors viewing and serenely sharing in the construction and destruction, the wishes extend to the entire community and world.

The cultural and educational events are part of the Sacred Arts Tour with Drepung Gomang Center for Engaging Compassion a 501(c)3 tax exempt charity committed to preserving the Tibetan Culture, Traditions and Religion.

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