Tibetian Sand Art: A Painstaiking Beauty
Just so you know, Pocky made me post this.
What you see at the right is a special kind of Tibetan art called a sand mandala.
That's what the sand art is. It's nothing everlasting, the monks will work on it for several days and clean it up. They tend to give some sand as a gift to those who helped them in preparing for their creation, and usually, the extra sand will be spilled into local waterways, in an effort to spread the peace and love that went in to the creation. It is a very awe inspiring moment to see these monks working, and you are very fortunate if you ever get a chance to see them in the process.
I have a special interest in religion and its customs, and I recently had the chance to visit the Tibetan monks from the Drepung Loseling monastery as they were working on one of their mandalas. I even tried my hand at working on a small one they had set up for visitors. As the monks work in near silence, nearby monks will chant and throat sing as the mandala is created.
At the exhibit a few of the monks were selling crafts and instruments to benefit their monastery. That is when Kip encountered:
The Forbidden Cell Phone Charm
Funny story actually. I didn't have a lot of money, but I wanted to support the monks since they came all the way from Tibet to make their art for us locals. So I bought a $3 cell phone charm (see picture). The charm has some significance in the Tibetan culture, so when I asked the monk at the table about it, he politely took the charm and my cell and had it looped through.
Before this I had a Claddagh charm on it, but it had since broken off. So I happily used my new charm for a while. That's when I noticed my phone wouldn't take incoming calls anymore. I could call out, but I couldn't answer calls coming in. So I called Sprint to see if they could fix my phone. They offered to replace my broken old phone with a new RAZR, as long as I send them back my old one. Woo hoo!
So I removed the charm in anticipation of my new phone, and, wouldn't you know it, it works again and I'm getting calls! Coincidence? I put the charm back on a couple of hours ago, but I haven't gotten a call yet to see if it's working. So, will I have to give Sprint my charm too if it means my phone will still be broken enough for me to get a RAZR?
Well, the monks have since spilled the sand in the bay and gone home, so I can't ask them about the mystical properties of my charm, but I did get the opportunity to help sponsor a monk student through their first year of monastery. I am now working with my college so that we can help some of the monks with their tuition needed to become a full-fledged monk at Drepung Loseling.
All in all, the treat of seeing the Tibetan monks here is an experience I will not soon forget.