Hours of meditation and visualization are necessary in preparation for the sand mandala. Tibetan artist Lobsang Samten sits quietly repeating a special meditation ritual before beginning his work, left. The chakpo, below, is a long ribbed device that Samten uses to direct the grains of sand to his desired pattern.
Samten and USM President Richard Pattenaude clasp hands during the opening night of the Wheel of Life Mandala last month in the art gallery on the Gorham campus, above left. The closing ceremonies will include a dharma talk and sand dispersal ceremony conducted by Geshe Lobzang and Tsetan on Saturday, March 9 at 1 p.m.
Careful movement and complete steadiness is what it takes to create these amazingly intricate tools of meditation, middle left. The mandala, below left, takes about two weeks to complete.
The Wheel of Life sand mandala is a complicated concept to describe. But Samten attempts to unravel its mysteries to listeners, below.