From July 31st - August 5th, Golden Drum and The Sacred Arts Research Foundation (SARF) had the pleasure of hosting eight Tibetan monks from the Drepung Gomang Monastery to create a World Peace Sand Mandala.
Their visit was the vision of Taino elder and founder of Golden Drum and SARF, Maestro Manuel Rufino, as a way to honor the life, mission, and dedicated service of revered teacher, Sat Guru, Dr. Jose Manuel Estrada, whose birthday was July 28th.
Mandala is a Sanskrit word meaning “ world in harmony.” It is made by placing one grain of sand at time while contemplating world peace, compassion, wisdom, wellness, and long life.
Symbolizing impermanence, the monks offered an elaborate closing ceremony where the sand mandala that they had been constructing for five days was gracefully swept up, placed into a sacred vessel, then offered to the waters of the East River so that the blessings and healing energy can flow throughout the world.
The monks are Tibetan Buddhist refugees, many of whom fled Tibet on foot through the Himalayas to India. The Sacred Art Tour Group tours the United States for one-year, sharing their cultural heritage and keeping the Tibetan traditions alive despite the Communist Chinese government suppression for over 55 years. The tour is also an effort to raise funds to support the 2,300 monks living at the Drepung Gomang monastery in India. The community found that the SAT was a beautiful offering of artistic gifts including music, sand painting, cooking and ceremony. It was a very rare and up close look into the dedicated lives of Buddhist practitioners.
We are so grateful to the monks for visiting us and sharing their wisdom and traditions. We are very happy that so many wonderful people visited our space everyday to view the mandala and take part in the special workshops about Tibetan Buddhist culture. We are overjoyed to have experienced a week filled with creativity, harmony, compassion and peace.