Volume 31, Issue 8
October 13, 2005
nt it matters to you, it matters to The Pendulum/
Tibetan monks meditate with mandala
Three of the Tibetan
monks visiting Elon
work on a mandala in
Belk Library as part ol
their spiritual journey
while they visit.
■Mgry Austin Slate
A strange, ethereal sound echoed in Belk
Library early Monday morning. Four Tibetan
fiuddhist monks had begun a chanting ritual,
of their opening ceremony for the creation
a symbolic sand mandala. The ceremony
foarked the beginning of the Shiwa Tour, a
'''eek-long visit by the monks.
Today at 9:50 a.m. they will begin the
^Reconstruction process, which results in a clos-
ceremony that ends at Lake Maiy Nell.
The deconstruction of the mandala represents
Buddhist belief in the transience of life and
spirit of impermanence.
No sand will be given to visitors becau^ the
meaning of the mandala can be found in the
process rather than the physical remnants.
Instead, the monks wiU fling the sand mto the
lake, symbolizing its return to nature.
A mandala is a traditional Tibetan sand
painting of geometric shapes made fiom
cmshed maible. Each grain is blessed mdivid-
uallv creating a “vast store of spmtual eneip',
Tmia Cen^- for Rebgious
and Spiritual Life. .
The art of mandala painting can be traced
back to the sixth century B.C., when it ongi-
nated in India. In the centurie^mce then, the
ttadition has been passed on from generation
The creation process is a form of meditation
and requires extreme concentration as the
monks pour the colored grains through a fim-
nel to create a fine stream of sand.
The second floor lounge was filled with stu
dents and professors, who watched silently on
Monday as the three monks, dressed in tradi
tional red and yellow garb, vocalized prayers
in their native language.
The chanting switched fiom unison to har
mony to solo voice as the monks followed an
intricate prayer pattern designed to bless their
visit at Elon.
“The chanting seemed really simple, but
when they explained it, there were a lot more
layers,” freshman Jenna Hill said.
Many students present at the opening cere
mony expressed an interest in returning to se*
the progress of the mandala.
“I’m going to come back during the weel
and during deconstruction,” said sophomon
Nikki Allem. “I want to look at it fiom the ceil
ing,” she said, pointing at the view from th>^
thiid floor. “I hear that’s the best way to see it’
The monks will be working on the mandal.
from 9 a.m. to noon and 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. or
the second floor lounge of Belk. Students cat
talk to the monks, who speak limited English
or simply watch their progress.
Contact Mary Austin Slate at
email@example.com or 278-7247.
Need a better
Find out which
cafeteria foods are
Looking for a hot
Check out the ‘Hot L
See p. 18
Find out about the
Draddy trophy nominee.
See p. 21