Help bring the monks of The Gaden Shartse Cultural Foundation to Sioux City to create a 5 day sand mandala.
Mandala means literally "that which extracts the essence." There are many different types of mandalas used by Tibetan Buddhists. They can be created in either two or three dimensions. The ones on the monks' tour will be two‑dimensional sand mandalas. These are without doubt the most creative, labor‑intensive, and concentration‑intensive of all mandalas created. The ones provided on the tour will require between 75 and 125 hours of effort, completed by several monks at a time. In the past, sand mandalas were made with the powdered results of the grinding of precious stones, such as turquoise, lapis lazuli, coral, powdered gold and silver, and many other cherished and priceless materials. Today, this is only done on very special and/or auspicious occasions. More commonly, the colors are made of powdered and dyed stone, sand, dust, flowers, and charcoal. The colors are chosen to match the color of one of the Buddhas of the five Buddha families. The sand is applied very precisely by the gentle tapping of a sand‑filled metal cone that has had its tip removed. The Master must be the first to initiate the mandala, and does so by being the first to pour the sand. The outline of the mandala is defined by the holding of a string that is dipped in chalk and then 'snapped' in the appropriate place. Upon completion of the mandala, the monks will purposely destroy the magnificent work of art. The Buddha's last words were "All things are impermanent, work out your salvation with diligence." In upholding the principle that life is transient, the monks sweep up the mandala and offer the sand to those in attendance.