We've been spending quite a bit of time visiting the Tibetan Monks of the Drepung Loseling Monastery during their residency here in our community. They are almost finished creating the sacred sand mandala, intended to inflict purification and healing, in the foyer of our performing arts hall.
When we left them on the first day of this process, they were carefully measuring and drawing the white lines that would be the framework for their mandala. When we arrived yesterday afternoon, the second day, we were amazed at what we saw.
The center of the mandala shows the Eight Auspicious Symbols of Buddhism.
Big B continued his careful work on the children's mandala. He showed me proudly which pieces were his, remembering his work from the day before.After we left, we walked to a nearby playground. On the way, Big B surprised me by stopping, sitting, and assuming a meditative pose. He told me that meditating is how warriors learn new fighting moves. Hey, it's the journey, not the destination, right? This afternoon, little b and I picked Big B up from school, and the three of us knew right where we were going. Once again, I was absolutely blown away by the progress the monks had made, and by the intricate, tedious, spectacular detail of their craft.Big B put his finishing touch on the children's mandala, which was completed after several busloads of students came to visit the mandala today.As we were leaving, we saw two monks sitting on a bench near the ocean. They saw my boys walking toward them and opened their arms with such loving kindness on their faces, I can only describe their gesture as an embrace of the energy that lives in the hearts of children. Big B and little b reciprocated, and a moment of gratitude was exchanged by the four beings that I was absolutely honored and proud to witness. I didn't dare reach for my camera, but soaked up every breath, every word, and every smile.
On the way home, I surprised Big B with a mandala coloring book I'd made while he was at school. There are many free printable mandalas available (find some here, here and here).
And tonight, after a meeting that let out early, I just couldn't help myself...Noni and I went back to watch the end of the monks' workday. For the third time, I found myself simply awestruck.
When we left, they were drawing their final lines for tomorrow, the last day of the mandala creation. On Friday, they will hold their closing ceremonies.The little silver bowls are holding less sand by the hour. I feel like it is being poured directly into my heart, filling it with the brilliant, vibrant colors of gratitude.