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Kanwal Prakash “KP” Singh



Indianapolis, Indiana USA, May 19, 2009
Kanwal Prakash Singh

It was a joy to watch the Tibetan Buddhist Monks from the Drepung Gomang Monastery in South India on another visit to Indianapolis to create the sacred Mandala of Healing in the Sanctuary of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church. The creation of this beautiful Mandala was one of their presentations during their several appearances and “Music and Sacred Dance Pageants” at St. Luke’s Church, community events, and at IUPUI Indianapolis.

The Monks, as always, brought their message and personal testimony of peace, compassion, non-violent conflict resolution to each event during their visit, including the creation of a Sand Mandala of Healing, and cultural performances featuring traditional Tibetan dancing, Buddhist chanting, and music. The Monks’ presentations, while introducing us to Tibetan Buddhist spirituality and culture, also provide us a testimony of goodwill towards all living beings and echo affirmation of spiritual lessons and wisdom in other faith traditions.

The traditional sacred Mandalas are a visual spiritual invitation to meditation, reflection, and greater understanding; they are visual tapestries for learning, spiritual lessons and awakening, and take us on pilgrimages of spirit to peace, healing, and enlightened state of being.

During the long and patient creation of the Sand Mandala of Healing over three days, we witnessed matchless devotion, inner joy, and humility; a sense of dedication and surrender to a higher Power as they laboriously filled the various elements of a carefully thought-out Mandala design with colored sands. The Mandala created in the spacious Sanctuary of the beautiful St. Luke’s reflected grace, beauty, and an invitation to reflect on the mystery of life and its impermanent nature. The beautiful Mandala, dedicated with prayers and chants, was dismantled at the end and the sacred “ashes” were carried in a processional for immersion in a creek near the Church amidst farewell prayers, music and chants.

In their chants and in their silence, the Monks are teaching us about the power of spirit, reflection, meditation, and respect for all Creation. They personify deep devotion and dispassion about the temporal attractions and attachments; radiate pure joy and a deep sense of compassion for all living beings; and create a sacred space by their presence, music, dance, and chants.

The Sand Mandalas are spiritual mosaics, beautiful works of art made from grains of colored sand. Each element of the Mandala design: flowers, birds, images of Deities, geometrical shapes, script, and motifs from Nature, our Universe, and imagination, and their inspired placement in vibrant natural colors into a carefully interwoven magnificent artwork, is rich with symbolism and spiritual message. It evokes many emotions, reveals much about our fascination with life, matters of spirit, and wonders and gateways to the worlds that we have not seen nor fully understand.

The Mandala is meditation and prayer personified and visualized. There is something universal and unifying in its spiritual message and visual representations. The experience of Mandala creation, formal dedication, and dismantling leaves us in awe, blessed, and deeply reflective about matters of faith, life and afterlife, and our place and response to this mystery.

The Tibetan Buddhist Monks’ nationwide tour is sponsored by Friends of Drepung Gomang Monastery and the Indianapolis visit was sponsored by ITIM and co-sponsored by St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, IUPUI, Unitarian Universalist Church of Indianapolis, Indianapolis Peace Institute, and NUVO Newsweekly.




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Kanwal Prakash “KP” Singh
Indianapolis, Indiana USA