Touch the mind

MONKING ABOUT: Tenpa Gyatso, Phunsok Shakya, Geshe Nwawang Gedun, Dakpa and Phunsok Lhundrup will be in Lismore all next week.
MONKING ABOUT: Tenpa Gyatso, Phunsok Shakya, Geshe Nwawang Gedun, Dakpa and Phunsok Lhundrup will be in Lismore all next week.

MILLIONS of grains of coloured sand will be gently poured through tiny funnels into complex patterns to create a healing mandala with a deeply spiritual significance this week. The sacred Medicine Buddha sand mandala will be created at The Yoga Space in Lismore by a group of visiting Tibetan monks and the whole community is invited to come along and experience the healing atmosphere. The monks will begin creating the mandala on Sunday, December 2 and will work on it each day from 9am until 4.30pm until Saturday, December 8.

The monks' local sponsor, Annie McGhee, said anyone suffering emotionally, physically or spiritually would particularly benefit from spending time in the presence of the monks and the healing mandala.

"Each morning, the monks will chant prayers and meditate as they prepare themselves spiritually to commence working on the mandala," Annie said. "People can come and sit with them... It's a deeply spiritual and inspiring atmosphere to be in and children are very welcome."

When they are finished, the monks will pray for peace, then ceremonially destroy the mandala and sweep up the sand grains into a case, then carry them in procession to the river where they will be dispersed.

"Destroying the mandala symbolises the impermanence of everything and reminds us that life is an ever-changing cycle," Annie said. "Letting the sand flow into the rivers signifies the connection of this area with the rest of the earth."

The dispersal will take place on Saturday, December 8 from 3.30 until 4.30pm and the local community is invited to join the monks as they wind their way through the streets of Lismore to the river behind the Lismore Regional Art gallery.

Four of the Tibetan Yerpa monks are visiting Australia for the first time under the patronage of the Australian Tibetan Buddhist Centre and high lama Geshe Ngawang Gedun (Geshe-La) who will give two talks during the week.

"The mandala is a sacred form of art used by Tibetan monks and artists and is translated as 'circle of harmony'," Geshe-La said. "All of the patterns in the mandala have symbolism and meaning. The Medicine Buddha is the Buddha of healing. He heals not only the physical sickness but also mental sickness like anger, pride and jealousy."

The mandala will be created in The Yoga Space at 131 Keen Street, Lismore. While admission is free, donations are welcome and there will be a Tibetan market stall each day.

For more information about Geshe-La's talks, contact Annie McGhee on 0435 064 593 or look for The Yoga Space on Facebook.

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