Paso Robles News|Saturday, October 21, 2017
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Buddhist monks bid farewell, continue on US tour 

The sand mandala, taken just before the closing ceremony. Photo by Skye Ravy.

The sand mandala, taken just before the closing ceremony. Photo by Skye Ravy.

The Drepung Gomang Monks visited Paso Robles on a United States tour to help spread the traditions of Tibetan Buddhism.

EarthTones Gifts, Gallery & Center for Healing in Paso Robles hosted the monks for a four-day creation of a sand mandala for compassion. EarthTones was just one of the local businesses, schools and private parties who hosted special events during their tour.

The mandala, Tibetan sand painting, is an ancient art form of Tibetan Buddhism. “Mandala” is a Sanskrit word meaning cosmogram or “world in harmony.” The sand mandala is carefully constructed from dyed sand particles as a vehicle to, “generate compassion, to realize the impermanence of reality, and to create a social and cosmic healing of the environment,” said Earthtone’s owner Mary Uebersax.

The monks lay the finishing touches on the mandala.

The monks lay the finishing touches on the mandala. Photo by Skye Ravy.

As the monks carefully created the mandala, they chanted prayers for peace, prosperity and healing. At the closing ceremony on Friday, the mandala was deconstructed and the sands dispersed as a symbol of the impermanence of all phenomena.

During the North County Tour the monks also shared a traditional meal on Thursday at Spice of Life in Paso Robles, and on Tuesday, presented a discussion on meditation at The Dharma Yoga Center of Paso Robles. On Friday they also participated in a cultural pageant in collaboration with local high schools at the Templeton Performing Arts Center.

Colored sand is gently tapped out of metal funnels onto the mat. Photo by Skye Ravy.

Colored sand is gently tapped out of metal funnels onto the mat. Photo by Skye Ravy.

“The Monks of Drepung Gomang are presently on tour in the United States to share the compassion and wisdom of Tibetan Buddhism, to demonstrate the artistic accomplishments of the people of Tibet, and to generate funds to ensure the survival of Tibetan culture,” said Uebersax. The monks bid farewell to Paso Robles on Friday and continued the journey across the US.

Mayor Steve Martin poses with one of the Visiting Monks. Photo Courtesy of Steve Martin.

Mayor Steve Martin poses with one of the visiting monks. Photo Courtesy of Steve Martin.

The donations collected during their tour will help build a food foundation fund which will help the monastery to provide a continuous food supply to the student monks in years to come.

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