Buddhist in Graz

At 3PM today at the She Drup Ling Buddhist Center on Griesgasse, the Tibetan Kalachakrka for World Peace organization hosted the closing ceremony of their 10-day-long sand mandala ritual. For the last week or so three monks from the Dalai Lama’s monasterey in Dharmsala, India have been constructing a colorful sand mandala. This afternoon they dumped it in the river.

My wife and I viewed the mandala in a small room on the second floor of the center. It was hot and crowded with visitors and in a corner three monks sat chanting prayers and doing overtone or throat singing.

Throat singing is, mainly, a Central Asian practice of creating two or more tones at the same time from deep in the throat. Sounds like a swampful of bullfrogs on heavy doses of valium. Eerie, beautiful and strangely moving.

The mandala was gorgeous. From the Kalachakra website:

The mandala is a bird’s eye representation of the palace in which the
Buddha Kalachakra resides with his consort and retinue.
The palace at the heart of the mandala has three floors,
symbolized by the three parts of the mandala.

Very fine, colored sand is poured freehand into intricate designs in a 3 x 3 meter pattern. So perfectly composed and insanely colorful, it looks like it was airbrushed by a graphic artist. But it wasn’t. It was made by three humble monks using a centuries-old technique. And it looked absolutely modern.

Buddhism seems all about impermanence. All things must pass. And pass the mandala did, as the monks brought it to the Mur and ceremoniously let go of their beautiful work into the cold, roiling waters of the river.


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