Skip to Content

College of Arts & Sciences
Department of Religious Studies

Tibetan Mandala Sand Painting

Monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery will create a sand mandala in Columbia Nov. 2-6, with dispersal on Nov. 7 at 808 Lady St., Columbia, SC 29201



Mandalas are beautifully rendered images which portray, iconicly, the spiritual truths of the Buddha realms. In the creation of mandalas, colors and images are arranged in elaborate patterns as complex visual symbolic references. Each color and image is associated with a particular aspect of eternal truth, on which the mind needs to concentrate its focus in order to achieve a transformation in a particular area of the mind. They are thus visual maps of the spiritual dimension of life.

The creation of the sand mandala at the Atrium Gallery of Vista Studios, 808 Lady Street Columbia, SC, began with opening ceremonies on Monday, Nov. 2 and will continue until Friday, Nov. 6 when the mandala will be ceremonially dismantled and the sands dispersed in the river. The creation and dispersal of the mandala are open to the public.

There is a morning viewing session from 10 am  – 1 pm  and an afternoon session from  3 pm – 5 pm. For 30  minutes at the beginning of the morning session an 30 minutes at the end of the afternoon session the monks will perform the Medicine Buddhist Practice with chanting, horns and ritual dancing.

The public is welcome and invited to attend.

Creation of the mandala is a form of meditation on the spiritual dimension of life, to draw the every racing mind away from the innumerable interests, activities, worries, and desires which keep it always restless. One medium traditionally used by Tibetan monks for the creation of mandalas, is sand painting. Brightly colored sands, powders, and even, in the past, the dust of crushed gems, are meticulously placed according to precise patterns established by Buddhist scripture,

The creation of the colored sand mandala is itself an act of prayer; an activity which focuses the mind on the spiritual, which brings the mind into the realm of the spiritual. The mandala is therefore a sacred object, a bridge between the spiritual world and the material world, over which the human mind can cross.