Of all the traditional Tibetan tantric practices, the art of painting with colored sand is one of the most unique and exquisite. In Tibetan language, this art is called dul-tson-kyil-khor, which literally means “mandala of colored powders.”
Millions of grains of sand are painstakingly laid into place on a flat platform over a period of days or weeks before ultimately being dismantled in order to release and disseminate the deity’s blessings into the world to benefit all sentient beings.
Formed into traditionally prescribed Tibetan iconography that includes geometric shapes and a multitude of historical Buddhist spiritual symbols, the sand-painted mandala is used as a tool for consecrating, or blessing, the earth and its inhabitants, and provides for the practitioner a visual framework for establishing the enlightened mind of the Buddha. Learn more about mandalas.
Sponsoring an Exhibition
Acting as cultural ambassadors from the exiled personal monastery of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India, the monks of Namgyal Monastery Institute of Buddhist Studies have become especially well known for the creation of sand mandala exhibitions in museums and galleries throughout the world.
Namgyal monks creating a sand mandala in a Cleveland, Ohio, museum.
In keeping with His Holiness’s mission to preserve Tibetan culture and its rich history of traditional tantric arts and ritual practices, the resident Namgyal monks are available to create sand mandalas at museums, galleries, universities, cultural centers, and other institutions. Organizations interested in sponsoring a sand mandala exhibition should contact Namgyal Monastery.