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Monks visit Randolph College

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Monks making a mandala at Randolph College

Monks making a mandala at Randolph College

Randolph College welcomed back a group of Buddhist monks from the Rashi Kyil Monastery in Derha Dun India.  The monks are touring the United States and will be on campus for 5 days. During that time they will be not only interacting with the students and facility but with those that want to stop by and visit.  While on campus they will be working on a Mandala (a spiritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism representing the universe).  Most mandalas are the form of a circle with a square.  Mandalas may be employed for focusing attention of aspirants and adepts as a spiritual teaching tool for establishing a sacred space and is an aid to meditation and trance induction.  The mandala is made by arranging colored grains of sand into a pattern.  This practice has been done since the sixth century.   Two years ago Randolph College hosted the monks on their tour of the United States.  They also created a mandala then so and you can watch a video of their 2011 visit if you can’t make it to Randolph College before they depart.

 

The mandala is expected to be completed tomorrow (September 11, 2014) early afternoon.  At 3:30pm they will hold a closing ceremony in which they will destroy the mandala and disperse its colorful sand into a nearby creek.  The public is invited to watch the monks finish the mandala as well as attend the closing ceremony.  The mandala is being made at the Houston Memorial Chapel on campus.  Don’t miss out on this rare opportunity to witness a historic form of religious art as well as interacting with the monks.

Work in progress by monks at Randolph College

Work in progress by monks at Randolph College

UPDATE:

Yesterday, September 11, 2013, Kathy and I attended the closing ceremony at Randolph College.  The mandala had been completed (photo below) and then the monks chanted and then gathered all the sand up and it was distributed to those in attendance.  After everyone got their sand, there was a procession to a stream that feeds into the James River and the sand was sent downstream.

photo by The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast

Completed mandala

Photo by The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast

Closing Ceremony at Randolph College

Randolph College in Lynchburg, Virginia is a small liberal arts school.  Formerly known as Randolph Macon Woman’s College, men were admitted four years ago and the name was changed.  This is one of the most beautiful schools I have ever seen.  Additionally, it has been ranked as one of the top schools in the country.  They often have speakers and events that the public is invited to attend such as this one.  If you are visiting the area or considering a college you want to keep this one in mind.  Check out their website at:  http://www.randolphcollege.edu/.