Monks Build Delicate Sand Art For Dalai Lama's Trip To WestConn

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Tibetan monks from the Drepung Gomang Monastery create a sand exhibit to celebrate the visit of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama to Western Connecticut State University in Danbury. Photo Credit: Alfred Branch
The sand exhibit takes shape. Seven Tibetan monks create a work of art to celebrate the visit of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama to Western Connecticut State University in Danbury. Photo Credit: Alfred Branch
Tibetan monks, members of the Drepung Gomang Monastery, create an intricate sand exhibit at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury for the visit this week by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. Photo Credit: Alfred Branch

DANBURY, Conn. – To celebrate the visit of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama to Danbury this week, seven Tibetan monks are creating an intricate sand exhibit in the Western Connecticut State University's Westside Campus Center.

Over three painstaking days, the monks will toil for a total of 200 hours on the5-foot-by-5-foot creation, which incorporates various themes of compassion. The monks, members of the Drepung Gomang Monastery, began the project Monday morning and plan to complete it Wednesday evening.

The monks wear masks while working on the mandala to stop their breath from accidentally blowing the sand away, and they use metal chakpurs with various size openings to gently pour the colored sand into place.

They rub another metal tube on top of the chakpur to help pour the sand.

“The speed of the vibrations of the tubes determines how fast the sand comes out,” said Sue Simone, national coordinator of the monastery’s Sacred Art Tour, which follows the Dalai Lama and creates similar exhibits.

After the Dalai Lama gives his public talks Thursday and Friday at WestConn's Westside campus, the exhibit will be swept up and dispersed in a body of water at the school, signifying the spread of blessed healing intentions into the universe.

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