Tibetan Monks’ visit to UND part of Interfaith Week Celebration on campus

The University of North Dakota University Program Council (UPC) is excited to announce that the Tibetan Buddhist monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery will construct a Mandala sand painting at the North Dakota Museum of Art from Tuesday, March 22, to Friday, March 25, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The opening ceremony for the monks’ visit will be on Tuesday, March 22, at 11:30 a.m., and the closing ceremony will be on Friday, March 25, at noon. The Tibetan Monks Mandala sand painting will be held in conjunction with Interfaith Week on the UND campus.

The monks’ colored sand painting, rooted in the artistic traditions of Tantric Buddhism, is one of the most unique and exquisite forms of art. Millions of grains of sand are laid into place on a flat platform over a period of days or weeks to form the image of a mandala. 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 creation of a sand painting is said to affect purification and healing. The mandala sand painting begins with an opening ceremony that can include chanting, music and mantra recitation.

Throughout the week, the monks will lay the colored sands to form the mandala. Traditionally, most sand mandalas are destroyed shortly after their completion. This is done as a metaphor for the impermanence of life.  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 spreads throughout the world for planetary healing.

Interfaith Week

In conjunction with the Tibetan Monks Mandala Project, Interfaith Week will be held at UND on March 21-27.  Interfaith Week is an opportunity to acquaint the community with a number of religious traditions that meet on campus.

Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) will hold interfaith training opportunities on Wednesday, March 23 and Thursday, March 24.  In addition to the IFYC interfaith training, this week will feature presentations on Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Native American spirituality.  The events will be held at a variety of locations on campus.  The week’s events are open to the public.

For a more complete schedule, please go to:  www.christus-rex.org. Or, contact christusrex@und.edu or matthew.finley@und.edu for more information.

The events of Interfaith Week are sponsored by the Campus Ministry Association, Muslim Student Association, and the University Program Council and funded through Student Organization Funding Agency, United Campus Ministries, and the Wellness Center.

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