2018 Great Compassion
“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.”
–His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
The 2018 Great Compassion Mandala Tour is designed by the monks of Ngari Institute of Buddhist Dialectics, in Saboo, Ladakh, India, to share the ancient beauty of Himalayan Buddhist culture with the American people and to spread a message of love and kindness, which is so needed in our world today.
These socially engaged monks have dedicated their lives to serving vulnerable children, veterans, and the elderly in their homeland. They offer US audiences a special opportunity to witness the sacred Himalayan Buddhist arts of sand mandala creation, monastic music, and ritual dance in action. Designed and performed with the single-pointed intention to clear away negativity and generate great compassion for all living beings, the tour allows the lamas to share a message of hope and healing with the communities they will visit and the ones that depend on their social work back home.
All funds generated by the mandala tour will benefit underserved children in the Ngari monks’ homeland—Ladakh, India, one of the last places in the world where Buddhism has been unrepressed since 270 BCE.
California: August-Sepember 2018
Colorado: September-October 2018
Wisconsin: October-November 2018
Details to be announced soon.
About the Tour
In addition to the sand mandala creation, monastic music, and ritual dance, the monks are also available for visits to lend support and reassurance to anyone who may find it useful. They have visited hospitals, nursing homes, treatment centers, and schools. The monks can also perform special ceremonies to bless new homes or businesses. To see images from the current tour in Germany, visit Ngari Institute’s Facebook page.
Sacred Music and
The Ladakhi monks are trained in the sacred, ritual dance tradition called chams. Audiences will delight in their elaborate costumes and colorful masks as they witness three key chams performances: the Black Hat Dance, the Skeleton Dance, and the Deer Dance. To complete the experience, audiences will enjoy hypnotic interludes of ritual chanting and instrumental accompaniments, including Tibetan horns, clarinets, bells, and drums.
About the Mandala Creation and Ritual Dissolution Offering
Ngari Institute maintains and promotes the culture and traditions of Tibetan Buddhism through art and education. Imparting knowledge through dance and song is a spiritual, intellectual, and cultural craft for the group’s members. Monks engage in the art of ceremonial dances and throat singing, sing mantras, and study the art and symbolism of making mandalas. Donations collected during trips abroad are spent on development of the institute as well as educational and development projects for people of the region. The Dalai Lama endorses and supports the goals and activities of the institute.
A sand mandala is a diagram of a celestial palace where a Buddhist deity lives. Every morning before commencing their work, the monks chant and say prayers in the mandala space. During the tour, the monks will create one of the following celestial palaces to be rendered in sand:
- Tara (Mother of All the Buddhas)
- Avalokitesvara (Bodhisattva of Compassion)
- Medicine Buddha (Buddha of Health and Healing)
Each afternoon, a senior monk will explain the work and the meaning of the mandala to visitors. It is auspicious to help the monks select a nearby natural place to spread the collected sand after the mandala is dissolved. You can view the process here, courtesy of The Wellcome Collection (done by Benjamin Gilbert and Thomas S.G. Farnetti).