Friday, April 11, 2008

The Mandala

Artwork Unlike Theravadan Buddhist traditions, monks at Tibetan Buddhist monasteries are actively involved in the creation of artwork, using formulaic methods. Inspiration is the goal of the artwork - assisting the viewer with meditation and in attaining spiritual realisation - and thus the creation becomes far more important than the creator: as a result, most Tibetan art is anonymous. Assisting with meditation are mandala murals and mandala tankas - the mandala is a mystic cirlce design or cosmogram. A unique Tibetan monastic art-form is the creation of sand mandalas - circular sand paitings made by monks from coloured sand over a period of several weeks. Elaborate ceremonies take place at the monastery during and after completion of the sand mandala: it is then destroyed, to indicate the impermanence of all things. Ceremonies Monasteries in Tibet used to stage an annual ceremony called Cham, with masked dances and accompanying long-horn music performed by the monks. In these rituals, the monks wore masks representing demons, spirits and mythical animals. Cham dance is still occasionally seen within Tibet, but authorities are highly suspicious of any large gathering of Tibetans, so the chances of witnessing one are rare. Because of their close link with Tibetan Buddhism, many of the Tibetan arts are proscribed or no longer practiced within Tibet itself. That means you have to go to the exile community for the real culture. Saving Tibetan Culture The ancient Tibetan culture has developed along very different lines from others in high Asia. Saving this unique culture essentially comes down to the issue of religious freedom, because Tibet's cultural identity is tied in with its religion, and the Chinese do not respect that religion. Ultimately it's a question of human rights. What human rights to the Tibetans want? The basic ones: the right to freedom of speech, freedom of thought, and freedom to follow Tibetan Buddhist beliefs. The right to a proper education, the right to use the Tibetan language. The rights of the child. Even the most fundamental human rights are denied to Tibetans. These include the rights to clean water, sufficient food, a home, health care, proper education, employment, protection from violence, equality of opportunity, and a say in their future. The Dalai Lama puts it this way: 'The Chinese are entitled to their happiness, but not at the expense of another nation or people'. I didn't make this mandala-movie nor wrote the above text, I just wanted to share this with you. Hope there will come a day, the Tibetan people can live, create and express themselves in freedom, like all human beings are entitled to in this world. Ik heb zowel dit mandala filmpje als de tekst hierboven niet gemaakt. Ik wil hem alleen met jullie delen. Ik hoop dat er een dag komt dat het Tibetaanse volk in vrijheid kan leven, uiten en creëren, zoals ieder mens dat zou moeten kunnen op deze wereld. Words and artwork by Lily Exploring the Mandala Tibetan Mandalas


  1. Thanks Marianne for this lovely post. The mandala video was lovely. Interesting how many had blue. I was surprised they were all made by the same man, however on afterthought I see how his style flowed through from one to the next.

    The text about Tibetians is also lovely. So sad isn't it? There is a video out about the making of a Tibetan sand mandala but can't recall the name of the video.

    Thanks for your comments about Mom. I'm sure she'll be glad to be home. Sorry your mom is still in rehab. Do you think she'll be able to return home at some point.

    Be well, Suki

  2. ek het nie geweet dat jou ma ook so siek is. hoe oud is sy en woon sy met jou? is jy getroud en het jy kinders? ek wil jou beter ken.liefs en goeie wense vir jou ma.
    goeie more koekie en droppie! kan jy meer fotos (met daardie nuwe kamera) van daardie twee 'cutie pies' op jou blog sit vir ons te sien?

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