Tuesday, January 23, 2001

Monks show art at NKU

Creating sand painting today

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Seven Tibetan Buddhist monks are teaching the religious art of mandala sand painting by demonstration today and Wednesday.

        They are building a mandala, a sand art work, in the lobby of Northern Kentucky University's University Center. Wednesday evening, they will cast the completed work into NKU's lake in a rite designed to bestow peace and prosperity to our region.

        Mandalas are created over a period of days from millions of grains of colored sand. The sand is laid in an intricate pattern .

        The monks do not believe that art itself holds the highest value, but the process of creation and sharing it. That is why observation and dismantling are important parts of the tradition, said Cheryl Nunez, NKU's director of affirmative action and multi cultural affairs.

        According to tradition, mandala purify negative karma, bringing positive energy to those who view it.

        Four of the monks have been living at the Dagom Gaden Tensung Ling Monastery in Bloomington, Ind.

        The other three are on a world peace tour to generate awareness of Tibetan culture. They are from the Gaden Shartse Monastery, one of the largest monasteries in Tibet. It was rebuilt in South India by lamas and monks who escaped to India with the Dalai Lama in 1959.

        Proceeds from the tour will be used for education, housing and other necessities for new students of the monastery, who increasingly are coming from Tibet. This year the monastery and affiliated Shartse College will teach 1,500 students.

        NKU is one of several regional universities that the monks are visiting.

        Ms. Nunez said NKU instructors from a variety of disciplines have scheduled classes with the monks, who will speak about the tradition as it pertains to literature, language, philosophy, geography, history, social justice and the arts.

        For more information, see www.nku.edu or call NKU at (859) 572-6565.


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