Tibetan Monks Visit Spartanburg

Wofford College, Converse College, and Chapman Cultural Center will bring Tibetan Buddhist monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery in Atlanta, GA to construct a mandala sand painting from September 30 – October 4, 2013 at the Chapman Cultural Center in Spartanburg. The demonstration is free to public viewing daily, and several lectures and public events will also take place during the time when the mandala is under construction. SC Humanitiessupported this project through a Major Grant in February 2013.

The mandala will be constructed in the Tantric Buddhist tradition, using a metal funnel called a chakpur to create large circular designs with colored sand. At noon on Monday, Sept. 30, there will be an opening ceremony where the monks consecrate the site. To construct the mandala, millions of grains of sand will be painstakingly laid into place over 25-30 hours. Deconstruction of the mandala begins noon Friday and is followed by a walk to a nearby source of natural running water. Some sand will be distributed among the audience, while the rest will be ceremoniously poured into the flowing water which symbolizes the impermanence of life and the return to cosmic awareness.

Several interesting lectures about Buddhism and Tibet will be offered during the project period, including “On Having No Self: The Case for Compassion in Buddhism” and “Imagining Tibet.” Additionally, a two-hour stage performance on Sacred Music, Sacred Dance will be presented by the monks of the Drepung Loseling Monastery.

The full schedule of events during the monks’ visit to Spartanburg is below:

Monday, September 30

12-8 p.m.—Public viewing of monks working on mandala

Noon-1 pm—Opening ceremony

6:30-7:30 p.m.—Opening lecture by Dr. David S. Efurd, Assistant Professor of Religion, Wofford College: “A Cosmos Visualized:  The Mt. Meru System in Buddhist Art and Practice”

Tuesday, October 1

10 a.m.-7 p.m.—Public viewing of monks working on mandala

Noon – 1 p.m. – Lecture by Dr. Jeremy E. Henkel, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Wofford College: "On Having No Self: The Case for Compassion in Buddhism"

6:30 – 7:30 p.m. – Lecture by Ruth Beals, Owings Associate Professor of Interior Design and Coordinator of Interior Design, Converse College: "China's Comfortable Housing – Culturally Uncomfortable for Tibetans"

Wednesday, October 2

10 a.m.–7 p.m.—Public viewing of monks working on mandala

Noon-1 p.m.—Lecture by Associate Professor of Religion and Co-Director of the Women's Studies Program, Converse College: “Introduction to Buddhism”

2-3 p.m.—Lecture by Dr. Trina Janiec Jones, Associate Professor of Religion, Wofford College: “Imagining Tibet”

6:30-7:30 p.m.—Lecture by Buddhist monk from Depung Loseling Monastery: “Symbolism of the Sand Mandala”

Thursday, October 3

10 a.m.-3 p.m.—Public viewing of monks working on mandala

7–9 p.m.—Sacred Music, Sacred Dance performance; tickets are $10 for students and $20 for others 

Friday, October 4

9 a.m.–Noon—Public viewing of Monks working on mandala

Noon–2 p.m.—Deconstruction ceremony

For more information about the event, visit www.ChapmanCulturalCenter.org or call (864) 542-ARTS. Visit the Mystical Arts of Tibet webpage at www.MysticalArtsOfTibet.org or Drepung Loseling Monastery in Atlanta at www.Drepung.org for more information on the tours, the center or Tibetan Buddhism.

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