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Tibetan Buddhist Sand Mandala at St. Lawrence University

This time-lapse movie (Quicktime 1:45) made by Christopher Watts of St. Lawrence University's Music Department shows the Venerable Tenzin Yignyen constructing a Tibetan Buddhist sand mandala at the Richard F. Brush Art Gallery at St. Lawrence University, January 21-23, 2005. The work is a Chenrezig mandala, based on the Tibetan Buddhist deity of compassion. Also known in Sanskrit as Avalokiteshvara, Chenrezig is the manifestation of the infinite compassion of all Buddhas. His Holiness the Dalai Lama is understood to be the living incarnation of this deity.


Tibetan Buddhist altar beside the mandala with icon photo of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Laying out the pattern.

Ven. Tenzin Yignyen constructing a Kalachakra Mind Mandala at St. Lawrence University in 1999.

The Venerable Tenzin Yignyen returned for a dismantling ceremony, February 18, 2005. View audio slideshow of the Dismantling Ceremony

Interview with Rev. Tenzin Yignyen:

SLU Hosts Tibetan Sand Mandala

Martha Foley talks with a Buddhist monk who is at St. Lawrence University to make a Tibetan sand mandala. The intricate sand paintings represent the cosmos and are used as meditation tools. This weekend, the Venerable Tenzin Yignyen will construct a Buddhist sand mandala at the Brush Art Gallery at St. Lawrence. He'll also present a "Teaching and Meditation on Compassion" in the gallery on Saturday night at 7:30.  Go to full article

About Sand Mandalas

A sand mandala is a complex, symbolic representation of the cosmos and is used as a tool in meditation and visualization in order to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings. According to Sidney Piburn and Tenzin Yignyen, "each mandala is a sacred mansion, the home of a particular deity who represents and embodies enlightened qualities such as wisdom or compassion. Both the deity, who resides at the center of the mandala, and the mandala itself are recognized as pure expressions of a Buddha's fully enlightened mind."

About Venerable Tenzin Yignyen

Tenzin Yignyen was born in Phari, Tibet, in 1953. He is an ordained Tibetan Buddhist monk who received a Master of Sutra and Tantra Studies in 1985 from the Namgyal Monastery of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India. After two years in Mongolia in 1993-94, Tenzin taught Tibetan Buddhism, sacred and ritual arts, and language at the Namgyal branch monastery in Ithaca, New York. He has since created sand mandalas in museums and educational institutions throughout the United States, including the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, the Rochester Memorial Art Gallery and the Asia Society in New York City. Tenzin is currently a visiting professor of Tibetan Buddhist art and philosophy at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York.