Monday, April 26, 2010

Tibetan Sacred Sand Mandala: Part Three (Finale)

Friday night, I had the pleasure of taking Big B on a date. We went to dinner, and then to the closing ceremonies of the Tibetan monks' week-long residence in our community. We were excited to see the finished sand mandala that we'd visited every day the week before.
After dinner, we arrived at the performing arts hall just in time to watch the sunset over the Bay (very appropriate, as we had spent the car ride singing hip-hop versions of Down By the Bay).Before the closing ceremonies began, Big B had a few moments to work on the last of three children's mandalas.The lights dimmed and we went into the theater. I was thankful Noni joined us, because during the interludes between chants and dances, Big B was a squirmy wormy. But the dances kept his attention and he asked great questions. When the head lama (monk) asked the audience to put their energy into visualizing world peace during one of the dances, Big B asked, "How do I do that?"

He made it through to the end of the ceremony on the promise that we'd get to see the monks disperse the sand in the mandala they'd worked all week to create. We left the theater a couple of minutes early to get a spot up close, and I'm so glad we did. Big B stood immediately behind the monks as they encircled the mandala with their voices and instruments. This is their ornate drum.Finally, the mandala began to disappear. The crowd collectively gasped as the first grains were scraped away.
When the sands were piled in the center of the tekpu, the monks began putting teaspoonfuls into little bags for their spectators to carry with them. Big B patiently waited for his, then carried it like a treasure outside and to the waterfront, where we awaited the dispersal of the rest of the sand.The monks followed, chanting a final, climactic chant, blessing the sands' journey through the water to the rest of the world, bringing peace and healing energy.And just like that, it was over. I am so grateful to have shared this experience with my children. I am hopeful that the global perspective they are gaining in their childhood grows into a well of compassion as they get older. They have big hearts and thoughtful minds, and with each new special experience, I am among the lucky few that watch them grow. And grow. And grow.

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