Ithaca College to Host Tibetan Buddhist Monks for Creation of Sand Mandala

By Dave Maley, October 20, 2022
Public invited to view and learn about this exciting project.

Ithaca College will host a series of public events during the first week of November as monks from the nearby Namgyal Monastery Institute of Buddhist Studies create a sand mandala in the lobby of the Campus Center. The intricately designed mandala (pronounced MAHN’-duh-luh), painstakingly constructed by hand using colored sand, represents Chenrezig, traditionally recognized by Tibetan Buddhists as the bodhisattva (highly advanced spiritual being) of compassion.

Members of the public are invited to view the monks as they work to create the mandala from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily from Wednesday, Nov. 2, through Sunday, Nov. 6. Each day at 3 p.m., the monks will pause their work for ritual chanting and then lead a meditation session.

On Monday, Nov. 7, the completed mandala will be on display from 9 a.m. until 2:30 p.m., when a dissolution ceremony will occur. Members of the public are invited to join the procession as the monks carry the sand from the Campus Center to the pond next to Muller Chapel. The sand will be poured into the pond to symbolize temporality, the releasing of the Chenrezig deity, and the spread of compassion throughout the world.

In addition to the creation of the mandala and the dissolution ceremony, the public is invited to take part in learning opportunities during the course of the week.

Tuesday, November 1
6:00 p.m., Clark Lounge, Campus Center

To kick off this mandala project, IC will hold a screening of “The Search” (2009), a Buddhist-themed Tibetan road movie by the pioneering director Pema Tseden. A brief discussion will follow led by Eric Steinschneider, assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion.

Thursday, November 3
6 p.m., Klingenstein Lounge, Campus Center

Venerable Tenzin Choesang, Professor and President of Namgyal Monastery Institute of Buddhist Studies, will discuss the history of the monastery, which is the official monastic seat of His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama in North America. Assistant professor of religion Eric Steinschneider will follow with a brief talk titled “Mandala and Meaning: Historical Perspectives.”

Please visit the Tibetan Buddhist Mandala Project website for the complete schedule of events and to learn more about mandalas:

Ithaca College will provide a livestream of the creation of the mandala for those who are unable to view it in person on campus. The livestream will be available between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. each day from Wednesday, November 2, through the dissolution ceremony at 2:30 p.m. on Monday, November 7. The livestream can be viewed here beginning November 2: