Students learn about Buddhism through sand mandalas

Students learn about Buddhism through sand mandalas


MICHAEL HECHT: We knew that in
addition to the Dalai Lama’s visit, there would be monks
coming by ahead of time doing a sand mandala, which
is a piece of artwork that exemplifies this concept
of non-permanence and non-attachment.
So we decided that one way to
introduce the students to some of these central
concepts in Buddhism would be to have then do a
sand mandala on their own. And so we coupled
this with the dinners that we have of my
house for the freshman. And so the students
worked on sand paintings of Forbes class
of 2018, which is something that’s central to
their experience, something that they might
become attached to, but something that is,
after all, impermanent.
I kind of viewed it as a beautiful project in a way.
That we’re all building this
sense of community together. That the bond that we created
through making this project isn’t shown through
the sand, but it’s shown through our efforts.

DUC NGUYEN: A Geshe, which is
high ranking Tibetan monk came to visit Forbes to give a
discussion about the Dalai Lama’s visit and also about
the tenets of Tibetan Buddhism and to also let him see the sand
paintings that the freshman did during the Zee Dinners.

DAVID HOYOS: He spoke a little
bit about the sand mandalas and their purpose which
really fascinated me. Because he explained
how these monks, they worked so hard,
day in and day out, building these sand mandalas.
And they get attached
to them but part of their responsibility is
to detach themselves from it. They have to have that
willpower to destroy the sand mandala they worked
so hard to make. That was kind of a
reminder that they must be detached the world.
And he was saying that this
ties into a Buddhist principle where pain or suffering,
the root of that is desire or it is attachment.
So if you can relinquish
all attachment you reduce a lot of suffering.

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