Updated 10/29/18 at 10:45 a.m. to correct where the proceeds will go. Originally, the article said the proceeds will go to Sera Jey Monastery in South India. The proceeds will go to Geshe Sangpo's monastic students in India.
In the Buddhist religion, sand mandalas represent peace and creation. This week, the Elon University community will once again be able to experience a sand mandala for themselves.
A Tibetan monk will be constructing a sand mandala to inspire peace and well-being in the Numen Lumen Pavilion for the fourth year on Elon's campus. The monk began constructing the mandala at 9 a.m. on Oct. 24 following the opening ceremony. After the mandala is finished, the sand will be scattered on campus in a closing ceremony on Friday, Oct. 26. The tradition is meant to inspire peace and tranquility in the Elon community.
Elise Strevel, outreach coordinator for the Kadampa Center for Tibetan buddhism, said a mandala’s creation is more than just an artistic process, but also a spiritual one.
“It starts with, traditionally, a block of marble. Because we as human beings tend to think about things as being permanent and unchanging,” Strevel said. “Taking the marble, and breaking it down into its component parts, and breaking and breaking till it’s down to sand shows us that nothing is as it appears to be, everything is made of parts, and that anything that is created can be changed.”
She hopes Elon students will experience the mandala’s positive energy, then carry that energy into their community.
“We’re hoping that when people come and experience the positive energy that [the monk] is intending to generate here at the center, that people feel that peaceful energy and that it can stimulate them in their hearts,” Strevel said.
A merchandise table is also available in Numen Lumen, featuring authentic Buddhist and Tibetan goods. All of the proceeds will benefit Geshe Sangpo's monastic students in India.
The sand mandala creation will continue throughout the week. A closing ceremony will be held at 3 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 26 in Numen Lumen Pavilion.