Pacific Asia Museum hosts Tibetan Buddhist monks

Pacific Asia Museum announces the residency of the Gaden Jangtse Buddhist monks from September 7-11, 2011. During the course of their five-day stay, the monks will create a sand mandala in Pacific Asia Museum’s Focus Gallery, and a butter sculpture (floral form) in the Courtyard from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. On Wednesday, September 7, all visitors may come to Pacific Asia Museum free of charge for a 10 a.m. Opening Blessing and a mandala lecture by Geshe Tenzin Sherab. Additional programming will occur on Friday and Sunday (full schedule below).

The sand mandala is an ancient art form that is unique to Tibetan Buddhism. The artwork is made by placing fine sand, which is ground and dyed by hand, into an intricate design of the world in its divine form. It is intended to serve as a map by which the ordinary human mind is transformed into the enlightened mind.

The creation of the mandala begins with the Opening Ceremony and the chanting of Buddhist prayers. The construction of the mandala then continues over the next five days. The monks work all day, placing the sand grain by grain into the delicate pattern, as they create these incredibly rare and sacred works of art.
Upon completion of the mandala, the monks will hold a Dissolution Ceremony as the mandala is blessed a final time and the grains of sand are swept into a pile– erasing the once-beautiful work of art. Some of the sand is given to those who are present, as a small blessing for their home or gardens. The remainder is taken to the ocean where it is poured into the moving water, which according to Tibetan Buddhist belief blesses all the beings living there, carrying prayers and blessings throughout the world.

Gaden Monastery

Gaden Monastery is one of the three main Buddhist monastic universities of Tibet. Founded by Je Tsongkhapa Lobsang Dakpa in 1409, Gaden Monastery has two parts: Gaden Jangtse and Gaden Shartse. Within Gaden Jangtse, there are twelve houses (khangtsen), one of which is Tsawa Khangtsen. Today it is one of the largest khangtsens, serving the Himalayan regions of Tibet, Arunachal Pradesh (India), Bhutan, Ladakh and Nepal.

Schedule of Events

10 a.m. opening blessing in Focus gallery
11 a.m. Mandala lecture by Geshe Tenzin Sherab in Focus gallery

Friday, September 9
2 p.m. Mandala lecture by Tenzin Thokme in gallery

Sunday, September 11
2 p.m. Sweeping away ceremony at Mandala (Executive Director Charles Mason confirmed to attend)
4-5:30 p.m. Performance in Auditorium. The monks will perform ritual dances such as the Dakini Dance, Black hat Dance, and Skeleton Dance, and conduct traditional Tibetan chanting. Free with admission, donations accepted.

About Pacific Asia Museum

Pacific Asia Museum is one of only four institutions in the United States dedicated exclusively to the arts and culture of Asia and the Pacific Islands. The museum’s mission is to further cultural understanding through the arts. Since 1971, Pacific Asia Museum has served a broad audience of students, families, adults and scholars though its education and outreach programs.

Pacific Asia Museum is located at 46 North Los Robles Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101. Museum opens Wednesday through Sunday 10 am to 6 pm. Admission is $9 general, $7 students/seniors, and free for children ages 11 and younger. Admission is free every 4th Friday of the month.

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