Peace, kindness, and compassion are tenants we hold in high esteem on the Eastern Shore. Beyond the Eastern Shore, peace, kindness and compassion are also heavily rooted in the foundation of Tibetan Buddhist culture. Join ShoreBread this week as we help Salisbury University welcome 11 Tibetan monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery from September 18 through September 22. The visit, which comes with the blessings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, aims to promote the well-being of nature and mankind around the world, as well as, locally on the Eastern Shore.
While we may be used to making castles out of sand along our local beaches, Tibetan monks are accustomed to manipulating sand in a slightly different way – making sand paintings through a form of meditation called mandala. While the monks are in residence they will construct their own mandala in an effort to bring purification and healing to themselves and to our community. When creating the mandala, monks pour colorful sand onto a flat board. They work with patience and precision to craft an intricate picture filled with Buddhist symbols and pictures. The entire process takes five days to complete and the results are equal parts inspiring and stunning. Once completed, the entire masterpiece is destroyed – symbolizing impermanence. One might even say it’s a more involved depiction of the notion that we are all just “dust in the wind.”
The opening ceremonies will be held Wednesday, September 18 at noon, with construction of the mandala continuing throughout the duration of the week. The monks can be seen hard at work Wednesday through Friday from 10am to 5pm, as well as Saturday, September 21 from noon until 2pm. The Dispersal Ceremony will occur Sunday, September 22 at 2pm at the Salisbury City Park.
Construction of the mandala can be viewed online via live streaming here.
Beyond the construction of the mandala, several other events will be held to celebrate the monks’ visit to SU. “The Buddha: The Story of Siddhartha,” directed by Emmy Award winner David Grubin and narrated by Richard Gere, will kick-off SU’s “Revolutionary” fall film series Monday, September 16 at 7pm.
Events will continue Tuesday, September 17 with a scheduled speaker at 7pm in Perdue Hall’s Bennett Family Auditorium. William Edelglass, co-editor of the Journal of Environmental Philosophy and Buddhist Philosophy: Essential Readings, will speak on “Global Climate Change, Social Justice and Buddhist Ethics.”
Wednesday, September 18th, Edelglass returns with a discussion titled “Sand Mandalas and the Buddhist Path: An Introduction to the Amitayus Mandala, the Buddha of Boundless Life” at 3pm in the Holloway Hall Social Room.
The Salisbury University International Dinner Series will also coincide with the week’s events, as University Dining Services presents “A Taste of Tibet: Dining on the Roof of the World” from 4:30 to 7:30 pm, Wednesday, September 18 in the Commons. Cost for the dinner is $11.53, $7 for children ages 5 and under.
Admissions to the rest of the weeks’ events are free and the public is invited and encouraged to attend. For more information, call 410-543-6271 or visit the Salisbury University website at www.salisbury.edu.