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Spokane

SCC welcomes students back with peaceful ceremony led by Tibetan Buddhist monks

Wed., Sept. 13, 2017, 3:17 p.m.

Tibetan Buddhist Monks create a mandala sandpainting in the Lair at Spokane Community College  in March 2003. The painting, made of of million of grains of colored sand, is a circular icon used by Buddhist when they meditate. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Tibetan Buddhist Monks create a mandala sandpainting in the Lair at Spokane Community College in March 2003. The painting, made of of million of grains of colored sand, is a circular icon used by Buddhist when they meditate. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Spokane Community College will begin the school year by bringing focus to world peace with the help of Tibetan Buddhist monks.

Buddhist monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery in Atlanta will gather at noon Tuesday for SCC’s Welcome Week opening ceremony to consecrate the Lair Student Center before beginning the precise creation of a mandala sand painting.

The theme of the presentation is “peace” in honor of International Day of Peace which is Sept. 21. Also that day, the monks will offer a chant for peace at 10:30 a.m. and then will give a lecture on “A Buddhist Approach to Working with Emotions” at 11:30 a.m.

Eleven monks will work in small groups to create the Akshobhya mandala, which means “unshakable victor for conflict resolution and peace,” according to an SCC news release. The sand painting will continue Wednesday and Sept. 21 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. It will be completed from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Sept. 22.

A closing ceremony at 11:30 a.m. Sept. 22 will include a walk with the monks to the Spokane River for a ritual where they pour the sand in the river.

“Painting with colored sand ranks as one of the most unique and exquisite. Millions of grains of sand are painstakingly laid into place on a flat platform over a period of days or weeks to form the image of a mandala. To date the monks have created mandala sand paintings in more than 100 museums, art centers, colleges and universities in the United States and Europe,” the release said.

Meaning cosmogram in Sanskrit, the mandala can be created in various media including watercolor on canvas and wood carvings.

“However, the most spectacular and enduringly popular are those made from colored sand,” the release added.